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Making Social Media a High-Performing Player in an Omni-Channel World

iStock 517937582This post was co-authored by Caiman manager Nicky Shane.

If you’re like many of our clients, you’ve spent the past several years exploring, refining, and continuously expanding your brand’s social media presence. Your efforts most likely started with a very focused SWAT team testing, learning, and optimizing the right experience for your preferred audiences. Until recently, social hasn’t been held to the same rigorous performance standards as other channels but lately, something has shifted. With audiences focusing their attention on a myriad of social environments, budgets are needing to focus as well. More and more social media marketers are being asked to prove ROI and to shift focus to more integrated participation in the omni-channel campaign landscape.

For many social media marketing specialists and their more traditional counterparts, this shift represents a new set of challenges and opportunities, from integrated goal alignment and channel reconciliation, to creative resource prioritization and integrated project management. Following is a set of considerations and guidelines to help you wade through this new world and make social media a high-performing player in a multi-channel world.

Key Considerations

Get Set to Measure ROI Properly
Given the comparative newness of social media marketing, the upper-funnel nature of this channel’s KPIs, and the weekly changes due to continuous testing and learning, marketers should anticipate more volatility in ROI. Proper tracking and attribution are critical.

Tip: Ensure you create a clean benchmark of performance for standalone social campaigns prior to measuring in conjunction with other channels.

Choose the Right Channels
Most of our consumer-driven clients have two “mature” channels - Facebook and Pinterest - and a handful of emerging channels that may include: Instagram, WeHeartIt, Twitter, Snapchat, Flipboard, Reddit, Imgur, and YouTube. Some channels are solely engagement and awareness plays (top-funnel), while more mature channels allow for a stronger mid-funnel play aiming for conversion metrics.

Related: 5 Step Guide to Jump-Start Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Know Thy Audience
Each channel serves a different audience and engagement. For instance, Imgur targets millennial males whereas Pinterest skews female and Snapchat attracts a largely 34 and under crowd.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Each channel is designed to support a specific behavior and advertisers who succeed in these channels will design campaigns that play into those specific behaviors. Attempting to force the same creative across multiple channels will appear inauthentic and invasive to skeptical audiences.

Based on extensive testing and best practices relayed from the channel itself, many channels require their own unique creative type. Additionally, each social channel is optimized for a different sized or different length creative, especially in the case of video.

Related: Tips for authentic, contextual social marketing.

It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint.
Before launching a social channel, it is imperative to determine if your organization is invested and equipped with the resources necessary to maintain the channel once consumer expectations are set. Content needs to be consistent with cohesive brand messaging across all platforms.

Create Synergy with Your Social Team
One of the most important and challenging aspects of integrating social into the overall mix is knowing when and how to include the social team in the process. It is important to engage social expertise when campaign objectives and KPIs are being developed. They can provide guidance around what to expect from various channels, the best ways to reach specific targets, and budget requirements to achieve results. Defining a simple, yet inclusive planning process that aligns each stakeholder early will pay dividends in seamless delivery and campaign success.

Get Organized
Oftentimes, campaign-specific information is wrangled on an ad-hoc basis. Spending the time to organize data before it is requested will lead to big pay-offs. We recommend using cloud-based tools like SharePoint or Google Drive to make data workable and shareable to all stakeholders. You will prevent churn, speed up decision making, and optimize your marketing campaigns. Plus, you’ll earn bonus points for leading digital transformation.

One Team Mentality
Building team unity is vital to achieving total “integration.” By integrating each team member into the overarching vision, your marketing program will be that much more effective and your team will feel the true sense of ownership, leading to great synergy and success.

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