Though it’s important to look at our direct competitors for insights into trends and opportunities in our market space – in terms of our social media marketing spend its also important to consider the wider picture as to how best to compete for our customer’s attention. Today, people are consuming information from many sources all at once as well as blurring lines between spending time consuming work and life information. The way to cut across this is to make informed decisions around the where, when and what we are saying during our social engagement campaigns with customers.
The way to do this is to cycle through the process of trying things, take measurements considering a defined success criteria, improve based on insights and try again. It’s also appropriate to abandon a campaign that hasn’t shown enough return on investment over time.
Let’s first focus on What
In a session at MESH Marketing event last November, Jay Baer demonstrated the concept of competing for attention by showing a Facebook News Feed. It was a mix of posts about what your friends are doing, direct messages from loved one, posts from pages you Like and promoted posts. You could demonstrate the same example by viewing a person’s Twitter feed. The Tweets that people click rather than scroll past are the tweets that inform.
Jay’s answer is that Marketers need to provide people with something relevant and useful to them. (I recommend reading his book Youtility, to delve more deeply into his points about marketing providing customers utility.)
The important thing is to be relevant and useful. Determining what this is for your customer may also require engaging with them through interviews, surveys, and putting out questions on social networks.
What about When?
For the past 3 years, Accenture has conducted a Video-Over-Internet Consumer Survey analyzing trends and providing insights into consumer online consumption of Video. To pull out a tidbit from the 2013 survey, one increasing trend is that people who watch TV broadcasting on a traditional TV set also simultaneously use a secondary device. And the fastest growing device is the tablet. The behavior on devices is a mix of unrelated activity (leading), searching for related content and social engagement.
While the report is intended to provide insights for broadcasters, for me it also highlights the importance of when to engage for the modern marketer. Can we capitalize on this secondary use of the tablet in prime time? How many Pizza joints will be tweeting this # Superbowl Sunday?
Unfortunately, running ads on social networks and search specifying a specific time period is usually a premium service. Though we could look at engagement time-of-day reports to inform our non-paid for social campaigns.
Don’t forget Where
Where is the easy part. (Even though grammar-check wants to turn this into a question).
This is where looking at your direct competitors does help. If they are using a channel more than another, then that channel is obviously working for them and should be considered by you.
Though leave yourself free to explore different ideas to find a niche that works for you. The answer to where will be unique to your business. Start with a broad spectrum of the popular social network. Track the channels that are working for you and focus your energies there.