Mindscape Communications New Answers for New Times™

Social Media

"So Which Social Media Should We Use?"

That's a question I've heard asked directly in client conferences, as well as informal gatherings with friends. My answer: it depends.

Admittedly, this is not the answer most hope to hear, especially from an experienced marketer such as yours truly. But it's the correct answer.

Because when it comes to which social media networks are the best and "right ones," it truly depends upon your business goals, your audience, your personnel and budget resources. Figure out what
those are and you will be headed in the right direction. Then, determine who uses each of the social media networks. For example, a very high percentage of the users of Pinterest (at the present time…which is always the proviso) are female. If you're marketing your products or services primarily or entirely toward women, developing a strategy for using Pinterest as part of your marketing mix would be a good idea. A review of each of the top social media networks relative to your target audience will help determine your options.

Yes, it takes time to research, analyze and create a strategy that will have the best chances of success. There are a lot of moving parts in a marketing mix and even more so in a social media plan. Getting them all working together is key.

If you'd like to know more about how social media can benefit your business, or if you need help with any of your marketing communications activities, we can help. Call us or shoot us an email. Let's start the conversation.

-- GSM


Web and Social Media Analytics - Yep, Still Gotta Plan

How do you know what kind of traffic your website is generating? How do you know what kind of activity your social media efforts are producing? What about click-throughs on your email blasts? How many people are sharing your content, and how many of those "shares" are returning to your site?

With the explosion of the Web and social media for business uses, many want to know how it's all working. In a competitive business environment, it's all about results, right? Well, yes. And no.

That's because, particularly with social media, attempting to interpret analytical data and correlate it with results it produces isn't always possible. In fact, some might argue it's never possible. Inferences? Yes. Correlations…maybe.

There are many tools available for marketers to measure their traffic.
Google Analytics offers an abundance of information. And, sometimes, when you drill down that data you might be able to find that an email that hit customers' in-boxes at 12:16 p.m. on a Tuesday was in fact responsible for a huge spike in website traffic right at that exact moment. But then the questions begin: Was that due to the day? The time? The email subject line? The email offer and urge to action? All of which leads, if those in charge of these activities are on the ball, to testing…and more testing. That is at the heart of good marketing communications.

Most if not all of the social networks themselves also offer some type of network-specific usage data, although some may be more helpful than others.

There are other analytical tools, of course, which are generally tied in with the use of a particular code or script on one's site or pages:
Statcounter, AddThis, ShareThis and others. There may be some overlap amongst the various tools. But each also brings something slightly different to the data analysis game. Decisions have to be made about which analytical tools will help provide the information that's most meaningful for one's own business goals.

That requires some planning.

Funny how the principles of good marketing don't change.

-- GSM


Social Media Confusion and Delusion

Social Media is -- and has been -- the sine non qua for businesses the last several years. Nothing shocking about that statement. Yet, while many, if not most, businesses understand that this means having a presence on one or more of the main social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Google+ to name but a few), many don't understand the rules of engagement. There is a great deal of confusion…and delusion.

The first point to be made is somewhat akin to the Zen saying, "If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha." Obviously, this is not to be taken literally. The point is that if you think you've found the Buddha, you haven't. It's merely your own delusion and attachments at work. Similarly, if someone tells you -- especially some "expert" -- that they thoroughly understand social media and can tell you how best to achieve this or that, guaranteed…
they don't. Social media is constantly changing. No one has the answer.

Here is where we have the delusion that leads to the confusion.

So what advice might seem to make sense, especially given the myriad of social networks a business has to choose from? First, know your own business and its goals. What are they? Know your customers. Who are they? What social media are they likely to use as part of their personal and business lives? (Remember: business customers aren't typically business 24-7; they are individuals who also have personal interests that they pursue. Think software and accounting firms advertising on televised golf tournaments, for example.) What's your budget? Can you afford to generate traffic through ads on social networks? Or do you prefer to build customer traffic and engagement organically? If the latter, that especially means generating engaging content. Who will create and curate that for your business? What kind of integrated marketing strategy and approach do you have to tie all your marketing communications efforts together with your social media activities?

In short,
you still have to do your marketing homework. Where you communicate with your customers, and how you do so, may have changed places, so to speak, but the questions you ask to develop your strategy and plan, and the process you follow, still are essentially the same.

The approach of some businesses today to social media is the same as it was when "old media" (print, broadcast, etc.) ruled. What was that approach? "
Let's do an ad," they'd say. When asked why, many wouldn't be able to give a reasoned answer. Often, it was because their competitors were doing so and kicking their tails as a result. That's a good motivator. But it's not a good reason and it's even less a strategy for success. Today, some company executives say "Let's do social media." C'mon. There's more to it than that. Companies can -- and do -- waste a great deal of time and resources not thinking through why they need to be on social media, what they are going to say, and who's going to stay on top of it.

Engaging with the customer is the key. And that requires a good deal of clarity at every step of the communications process. Confusion and delusion aren't going to cut it. Think, people….

-- GSM