Social media marketing has grown exponentially over the last few years. New networks, new opportunities, and new tactics seem to pop up daily, and marketers have become pros at adapting to change and staying educated so they aren’t left in the dust:
With this growth — as we’ve seen with other digital marketing channels like web, email, and search — the need for analytics has followed closely:
However, while the need is definitely there, the education and understanding around social analytics are sorely lagging behind. Many marketers aren’t sure where to begin, or how to best use the data available to them to create meaningful and impactful social programs. We’ve seen five key problems when it comes to how marketers are using social analytics:
1. Unestablished Expertise
The Problem: Social media is a relatively new channel and as such its role in the marketing mix has yet to be fully defined. Social media theory, best practices, thought leadership and “experts” are not as established as they are on other channels, creating a lack of direction with no official playbook to use as guidance.
Social Planning Fundamentals
And while brands realize the importance of “being on social” due to the popularity of it with their target audience, they haven’t completely figured out what is the right way to “do social” as part of their marketing mix.
The Status Quo: Marketers trust unvalidated sources and “experts” for advice, switching between strategies and tactics before discovering success or failure on their own. New shiny objects easily divert their attention and marketers test these ventures without a plan to know whether or not their new strategy works.
The Solution: Instead of exclusively trusting benchmarks and “expert advice”, marketers need to discover what their own audience and data tell them. By learning about their competitors, the conversations taking place around their industry, and their own audience, marketers are able to develop a complete strategy and plan based on more than broad generalizations.
2. Lightweight Metrics
The Problem: New networks, solutions, ideas and advice emerge everyday, making the creation of a clear and defined strategy even harder, and an understanding of each networks strengths and weaknesses more difficult to grasp.
The Status Quo: Marketers use readily available vanity metrics and post-level data as KPIs for their business, often relying on the reporting features provided by social publishing tools and the social networks to measure only what these solutions offer to measure.
The Solution: In order to move beyond the status quo, marketers need to build a complete strategy and social analytics framework that arms them with the insight and direction needed to tie their social tactics directly to the goals that matter for their marketing organization and overall business.
3. Heavy Lifting
The Problem: Social networks produce an unparalleled amount of public raw data that requires standardization and organization in order to use it in a meaningful way and allow marketers to glean the right information they need to plan a strategy and optimize their tactics. But most marketers lack the access to the right information or are paying for incomplete or irrelevant metrics that don’t provide the underlying data,or are not accurate, aggregated, enriched or understandable.
The Status Quo: Many marketers use a piecemeal approach, manually stitching together data from different sources.
The Solution: Without sounding like a sales pitch for Simply Measured, it’s important for marketers to find solutions that allow them to measure and interpret their social campaigns holistically, looking at all of their audience, social accounts, and information in aggregate. This saves hours over the alternative of scraping social networks, pulling data from publishing platforms, and comparing apples to oranges.
4. Lack of Insight
The Problem: Marketers struggle to uncover insights or fail to focus on the information that matters to plan their strategy and optimize their tactics.
The Status Quo: Marketers choose to do nothing or use guesswork, ignoring the need to plan their strategy and accurately measure the impact of their tactics on their business.
The Solution: A complete social analytics framework as the foundation for their social strategy is critical to making informed choices and executing successfully.
5. No Business Impact
The Problem: Social marketers struggle and often fail to tie their social media investment to business impact.
The Status Quo: Planning a strategy and measuring impact are not done in the same place with the same information, sometimes not even by the same people. Business strategy and goals are set and “dumbed down” to social KPIs, while results are measured in a different set of tools creating an optimization process that doesn’t support the right goals, and only widens the gap between social media and business needs. Thus, social media is still considered the “stepchild” of marketing and not a serious partner in driving business impact.
The Solution: This is by far the most difficult part of social marketing, and it’s one that marketers, analysts, and experts alike are working to address. Tying social programs to business results in a meaningful and actionable way is critical, and should start with what is controllable. Where can social make the biggest impact? Whether that’s with web traffic, brand awareness, customer retention, or campaign promotion, the end goal needs to drive value for the business.
Developing a Strategy Using Social Analytics
Many of the knowledge gaps in social marketing can be filled by diving into the data. You’d be surprised what will surface about your tactics, your brand, and your addressable market. To learn more about developing a successful social strategy, download our new white paper, Social Planning: The Three Fundamentals of Setting a Successful Strategy by clicking the button below below.