A decade ago, social media involved students comparing lunches and discussing their classroom hookups. Today, the once teen-intensive pastime has transformed into a corporate marketing strategy that has permeated some of the most profitable enterprise-level organizations worldwide. Recruiting businesses now demand some level of social media marketing prowess as a prerequisite for many of their active positions. The hiring organizations are either turning away subpar traditionalists or requesting their current employees train to remain competitive.
Most of corporate America either knows enough social media to “get by” or they have become specialists, broadcasting tweets and pinning images faster than they can communicate the strategies. However, the social media elite have learned the basics and now demand an advanced level of marketing, methods to deliver valuable content while developing deeper, more meaningful connections with the people they service.
The subject of advanced social media marketing tactics may change depending on the industry it affects. Perhaps advanced social media will penetrate the “norm” and branch into specialized departments to allow for more targeted training. These targeted industries can more effectively connect with the people they service on social media sites, creating consumer advocates who eventually become brand ambassadors.
Thousands of online articles, classes and instructional videos exist that discuss how to create Facebook pages, Twitter profiles, YouTube videos, “pin” images and write blog posts. While organizations have become savvier with these tactics, seldom do they know how to maintain and grow their social identities. Advanced social media marketing must discuss a company’s transition from engager to influencer. The path is quite extensive, and does not happen overnight, but the methods are similar for companies seeking to carve a niche in the social sphere and become a brand of “influence.”
Organizations that focus on engagement only, without recognition of their followers’ interests will never reach the coveted position of influencer. Influencers enjoy longevity because they know their audience intimately. They talk back and use the latest technology to penetrate the invisible barriers that keep brands and their customers disconnected. With Facebook applications, organizations can survey their customers to discover what interests them. With this data, they can re-create their promotions and product launches to attract the ideal fan that has the potential of becoming a brand advocate. True influencers breed advocates which results in social expansion and greater return on investment.
The “Human” Side
Many corporations are set in their ways; they have used traditional marketing methods for decades and they are unable to perceive the value of a social marketing campaign. As a result, their social influence never reaches beyond an occasional “like” or a “re-tweet” and their audience never penetrates the corporate façade.
These impenetrable walls must be broken for corporations to experience the monetary rewards of social media marketing. Social media was formed on the idea of communication and connection. The traditional methods of marketing will not succeed in this new media environment. For brands to increase their social ROI, they must reveal a “human” side to their audience.
Consumers visit social sites to connect, unwind and collaborate. They do not want to be told what to do, what product to buy and what discount to access. By becoming “human,” businesses will become more attractive to consumers, resulting in higher sales/profits because customers will arrive at their own decision to purchase based on their affinity with a brand.
Once connections are established and brands utilize technology to access valuable data, campaigns become meaningful and targeted, and every dollar spent results in profit.