The social marketing landscape continues to change, yet many marketers haven't shifted their engagement tactics.
There was a time - not that long ago - when the formula for social media marketing was fairly straightforward:
Granted, sometimes it worked better than others - and creating a good tab + app experience in Facebook was fairly tricky in the early days - but those were the mechanics.
For several years, Facebook tabs were the training wheels for social marketers who were figuring out how to create social "experiences" that allowed customers to engage with their brand or product in a social context. But, it's not so simple anymore. The training wheels are off and here's why:
Today, Social = Streams
Looking back, Facebook's tabs feel a bit like a vestige from the bygone MySpace or Ning days. Tabs were mainly custom "widget" containers that let publishers and brands pull content into the social network's page, but they were outside the "stream" of tweets, posts, pins, etc.
Moving onward, the leading social networks - Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. - are now focused on improving the stream. And, in fact, most are actively working to allow more rich content and post types in the stream itself. Twitter's new Cards API is an excellent example of this.
As streams continue to support more and more rich posts and content, those marketers who are able to leverage the latest capabilities will have a distinct advantage in the battle for attention. As a result, marketers must make it a strategic imperative to put their best, most engaging content in the stream itself to capture the attention of their social audience.
While many marketers think of the "post tab" landscape as a debate about timelines, brands must think bigger than that as they have the opportunity to engage on a deeper level with their customers through rich content in their fans' streams. Moreover, marketers need to consider that today:
Social Customers = Mobile Customers
"Social audiences" are becoming increasingly synonymous with "mobile audiences." With over 430 million Facebook users accessing the site monthly on their mobile device, it's no wonder that social network use has eclipsed games as the number one mobile phone activity. In the old "Facebook tab" world, mobile customers were largely left out, since tabs + apps very rarely worked on mobile.
The fact that so many target customers are now accessing social networks via mobile has significant implications for how marketers approach and deliver social experiences for their products today. To retain an edge:
While this shift takes us away from the familiar landscape (and constraints) of a tab, there is plenty of good news for marketers. After all, highly portable web apps offer much richer opportunities to showcase products and content to social audiences - and Facebook's Open Graph actions offer lower-friction amplification than the old model. The key is to create experiences that engage audiences and amplify effectively.
Authentic Engagement Experiences, Not Polls and Quizzes
In the time of tabs, we saw a lot of polls, quizzes, and other "noisy" widgets that filled people's streams with notifications. This was partially because tabs + apps were initially limited in what they could support, and partially because (back to the "training wheels") we were all largely just figuring it out.
However, today smart social strategists are setting aside noisy quizzes and are instead creating experiences that invite customers to explore and participate with their products and content in an authentic way. Take a look at the multi-channel social campaign Hugo Boss put together for Fashion Week in Berlin. It spans Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest with content about not just the brand, but about its products, models, and music.
The original Facebook tab marketing landscape served an important purpose, as it allowed social marketing teams to try familiar campaigns and programs in the new, unfamiliar social context, all with the benefit of some fairly tight guardrails.
Today, the landscape has changed. The training wheels and guardrails are gone. As a result, social marketers need to rethink how they create authentic, engaging experiences for the social customers they want to reach - where they are participating in social today, in-stream, and on their mobile devices.
Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Oct 3 to take advantage of Early Bird Rates!
Kevin has been working with brands and retailers to build e-commerce and social media marketing solutions since 1995. As an entrepreneur and business development leader in growth-stage companies, he is most interested in developing new markets at the intersection of consumers, brands, and emerging technologies. Kevin currently leads marketing and product management at ShopIgniter, providers of Enterprise Social Commerce solutions to the F1000.
IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.
The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.
September 17, 2014
September 23, 2014
September 30, 2014
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT