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Stop Believing These Common Social Media Myths

Marketing professionals can agree on one thing–we live in an industry that’s constantly changing. Whether we’re on a PR team at a Fortune 500 company or manage media buying for a small business, there’s always a new tool or best practice we can implement to better communicate and measure our content.

Our industry moves rapidly. Google tweaks its algorithm constantly. Ad blockers are on the rise until they’re not. Twitter revises its character limit. Mobile messaging apps are taking over, or are they? Instagram turns into Snapchat. The list goes on and on and on.

As members of an evolving industry, we stay consistent by viewing certain standards as industry-wide truths. This makes us more comfortable with the constant change happening all around us–especially if the methodology we’re following was endorsed by an expert. However, when it comes to marketing, there is no such thing as a hard and fast rule. There’s no foolproof blueprint for success.

Our ability to swiftly pivot and readjust our focus is what made us marketers to begin with. Often times obeying the rules and following the standards is counterintuitive to hitting it out of the park. That’s why I’ve decided to bust some common social media myths that need to be put to rest.

1. Social Used to Be Free

The decline of organic reach has prompted social marketing expert after social marketing expert to state that, “social isn’t free.” While it’s  left advertisers lamenting for the “good old days.” After all, there was a time in the not-so-distant past when social media really was free. False. Social media was never free.

Brands who rely on the intern to connect with their consumers at scale and manage their social presence have always been missing the mark. Social is a powerful PR and marketing tool. Brands who were winning during organic reach’s heyday–and who continue to see success, have always been investing budget, resources and time into their social marketing efforts. Creating awesome social content costs money. It requires a strategist and team, not an unpaid intern.

2. Social Metrics Don’t Matter

If you think that social media metrics don’t matter, you’re wrong. Anyone who thinks audience demographics and other social metrics like reach, impressions or engagement don’t impact the bottom line is gravely misinformed.

Think that content geared toward a generic audience is best? You’re wrong. In fact, 74% of consumers are frustrated with brands who serve them content that doesn’t meet their interests. Do you believe ignoring your customers on social is OK? Seeing as 1 in 3 people will go to a competitor if your brand ignores them on social, you might want to reconsider.

Collecting and analyzing your social footprint has only gotten easier as third-party tools and native enhancements have been introduced. These insights paired with Google Analytics and digital marketing tools like Kenshoo or Marin provides a holistic, comprehensive picture of who a brand’s audience is and how they’re interacting with that brand’s product or services.

Social metrics are available and accessible. The onus is on your brand’s senior leadership to make sure these metrics matter to members of your broader organization.

3. Social Doesn’t Drive Sales

When it comes to social media, it’s about influencing your consumer’s purchasing decisions. Actually, 75% of people have purchased something because they saw it on social. So if you’re still asking, “does social drive sales?” The answer is “of course it does.” It may take some work but you can even attribute social to sales.

Once someone opts into following your brand on social, they’re already interested in your product or aligned with your brand in some way. However, before you spend money on paid social posts, you need to take time listening to your audience. It’s smart to determine what type of content they want to see, hear and read.

Your consumer insights, product, PR, marketing and sales team should be involved in this process. To start you need to collect and analyze data such as your consumer’s search history, purchase habits and other digital actions. Than you can start to target your social media advertising to be more effective. Listening first and advertising second will help drive your budget decisions later. These insights can even help you decide which organic posts might be worth boosting.

For example, our agency does lot of community management work for the Shell Houston Open, a PGA TOUR event in Houston. Through our community management efforts and our paid media measurement and optimization, we grew our fan base by 23% in 2016 and increased ticket sales revenue by 25% YOY.

4. My Customers Aren’t on Social

This is true. There are small slivers of consumers who aren’t on social, but chances are these aren’t all of your customers. There are 1.25 billion monthly active users on Facebook, 500 million on Instagram, 450 million on LinkedIn and 313 million on Twitter. Between all of these people, there’s someone you can market to and engage with.

If you don’t think your target audience isn’t on social, chances are you haven’t done enough work to find them. Regardless if you’re a B2B or a B2C company you need to understand what social networks your audience is most active on and target those channels. As you continue to do your research, you’ll likely find a new demographic on social that you didn’t even know was interacting with your product or services.

5. Your Brand Has to Be on Every Social Platform

Plain and simple: no you don’t. You have to be active on the social platforms that make sense for your brand. It’s important to be present where your consumers are engaging. By no means do you have to be on every network. In fact, you shouldn’t be on every social media site. Doing so will only drain your time, budget and resources. Additionally, managing social media accounts on every network can lead to a haphazard and inconsistent strategy.

For businesses with products that aren’t visually appealing or interactive, ignore YouTube. Does your audience know what Periscope is? If not, don’t waste your time. If your audience is more receptive to long-form editorial content, try LinkedIn or Medium. When you focus your efforts at being present where your target demographic is already active, your customers will find you.

This sentiment is especially in conversations I’m currently having with one of our agency’s B2B clients. They sell heavy construction equipment direct to local dealers. When they came to us, they had a Facebook Page, an Instagram account and even a Pinterest page. Our client had all three of these social accounts for each of the three brands the business sells. That’s 12 pages to manage!

We conducted a customer voice study for the company and learned that what the sales team wanted most from the company was a regular stream of information they could pass on to their customers explaining various differentiators of each piece of equipment and the different brands the equipment belonged to. Our customer voice study also reveled that the sales team was primarily active on LinkedIn and Facebook. We ended up streamlining the company’s social communication to only those two networks and turned the pages into an information hub for their very active base of loyalists.

6. Content & Social Are Separate

Once you determine which social channels your consumers are on, it’s time to create content that keeps them wanting (and sharing more). Producing engaging, high-quality content is crucial for your brand’s success on any social network. Jay Baer has been preaching for years that content is the fuel and social is the fire. Content and social are interchangeable. You can’t have one without the other.

Capture your social audience by creating native content that takes a stance, fits with the network you’re publishing on and speaks directly to your audience’s pain points and interests. General Electric is a powerful example of a company who recognizes that content and social are connected.

The brand creates unique content for all its channels. Even without a global brand’s behemoth budget, you can still create great content tailored to each social network.

Which social media myths are you tired of hearing and reading about? And what is your brand doing to prove the naysayers wrong? Let me know on Twitter at @MagsMac.

This post Stop Believing These Common Social Media Myths originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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About Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

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Social Media Secrets: 5 Under-the-Radar LinkedIn Features for Marketers

Under-the-Radar LinkedIn Features for Marketers

Under-the-Radar LinkedIn Features for Marketers

It's plain to see that B2B marketers, at large, see the value in social media. The latest B2B benchmarking research from CMI and MarketingProfs found that nearly two out of three respondents (61%) increased their usage of social media for content marketing purposes in the previous year. Another new report shows that social content is atop the list of focal areas for B2B marketers in the coming year.

It’s also fair to say, based on various data points and conversations with folks in the biz, that most of us feel we could be doing better with social. The size of the audiences on these platforms make them essential to any digital strategy, but breaking through suppressive algorithms and showing clear ROI is a perpetual challenge for brands.

One pivotal key to excelling with social media marketing is understanding all the tools you have at your disposal. Each platform offers a number of capabilities that seem to be underutilized by marketers who either don’t know they exist, or don’t fully recognize their potential impact.

With this in mind, we’re setting out to highlight some of the most useful yet overlooked features for driving results on social media platforms. Today we're focusing on the channel most pertinent to B2B marketers: LinkedIn*, with its member base of more than half a billion professionals.

Take Notice of These 5 Marketing Tools & Features on LinkedIn

Whether your goal is building brand awareness, generating leads, or boosting conversions, these five fundamental functionalities can provide a big assist if you aren't taking advantage of them already.

#1: Robust (and Now Simplified) Audience Targeting

LinkedIn recently overhauled its Campaign Manager tool (the interface through which marketers build, manage, and measure ads) around an objective-based advertising framework. The basic purpose of this initiative was to make it easier for users to align every element of their campaigns with the overarching objective. One of the slickest improvements to come out of this is the audience setup experience, which is now simpler and more intuitive.

From a B2B marketing perspective, the depth of available professional targeting parameters is by far LinkedIn’s biggest relative advantage compared to other social platforms. Nowhere else can you accurately filter audiences based on facets such as Job Title and Job Seniority. This provides unparalleled ability to reach decision makers and purchase influencers directly.

The revamped interface makes it quicker and more straightforward to select a qualified audience in line with your campaign goals.

[embed]https://youtu.be/AAx60JxxWFg[/embed]

#2: Revamped LinkedIn Analytics

The latest Social Media Marketing Industry Report via Social Media Examiner found more than half of respondents (54%) either uncertain or disagreeing that they are “able to measure the return on investment (ROI) for my organic social media activities.”

This is another area of Campaign Manager that LinkedIn recently spruced up. Given that advertising on this platform tends to be more expensive than other social networks, it’s especially important to ensure you’re getting return on that spend. The new reporting experience makes it easier to see results at a glance, and make optimization tweaks on the fly.

The underlying appeal of LinkedIn’s targeting facets also applies to its reporting mechanism; you can get an aggregated look at who is viewing and engaging with your content (i.e., which companies, which job titles, which experience levels). These insights can help you align your LinkedIn strategy and even your content marketing strategy more generally.

#3: Content Suggestions

Can’t figure out what to share on social media? That’s a common enough challenge. The Content Suggestions tab, found on the top nav bar within LinkedIn Page admin center, offers ample inspiration. It serves up a list of third-party articles your defined audience is engaging with — essentially a readily available stream of targeted, trending content.

Not only does this make it easy for marketers and social media managers to find share-worthy content that’s more likely to resonate with their followings, but it can also fuel employee advocacy efforts.

#4: Website Retargeting

Retargeting is a popular digital marketing tactic, which involves serving ads to people who’ve already encountered your brand. The element of familiarity, plus a concrete demonstration of past interest, tends to drive considerably higher clicks and conversions than standard ads.  

Through its Matched Audiences feature, LinkedIn allows you to place a pixel on your company’s website, then serve ads to people who’ve visited it before, while they’re on LinkedIn. It’s a great way to follow up with someone in a different context. One especially savvy approach is to create customized retargeting creative based on the specific section of your site a person visited (i.e., upper-funnel messaging for someone who went to your “About” page, and lower-funnel for someone who checked out a solution page.)

[embed]https://youtu.be/SgXlOH-1pPk[/embed]

#5: Lead Gen Forms

This might be my favorite marketing tool on LinkedIn, and it definitely seems like one that more B2B brands could be utilizing. Lead Gen Forms are leveraged in combination with various types of ads, enabling your company to collect valuable contact info (and additional data about a prospect) from an individual who downloads something of value with minimal friction.

Unlike most gated-asset forms, which require a user to tediously fill out multiple fields, Lead Gen Forms automatically populate based on the member’s LinkedIn profile data. As such, it takes only a couple of seconds to get through the process. Because you’re attaining a more comprehensive snapshot of people who download, you can better qualify them as leads in comparison with other form-fills that often procure only a name, phone number, and email.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34Xe1E59N6A&feature=youtu.be[/embed]

Step Up Your LinkedIn Marketing Game

LinkedIn can be one of the most valuable components of a holistic B2B marketing strategy. As mentioned earlier, there’s no denying it’s a pricier place to play than most other social networks, but you’re also paying for access to a higher-quality audience. Using the five features above can help you understand, segment, reach, and engage this audience efficiently while closely tracking the impact of your efforts.

Another underutilized tool on LinkedIn is video, which has been a key focus for the platform recently. Learn about all the metrics and specs for video on LinkedIn, as well as every other major social network!

*Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Social Media Secrets: 5 Under-the-Radar LinkedIn Features for Marketers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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