It's Time to Put on the 'Big Boy' Pants in Social Media Marketing

  |  May 24, 2013   |  Comments

Why so many fail and the three "A's" of mature social strategies to succeed today.

If you're reading this, it's safe to assume you have already extended yourself into the social world. You might have a fan page on Facebook, a few hashtags and handles on Twitter, and maybe a few forays into visual storytelling on Instagram or Pinterest. But despite having checked "Yes" to that social media box, there is still a feeling that something is missing, right?

You know what I mean. That feeling of "Hmm, is anything really coming from that last wall post on Facebook?" or "Why didn't anyone retweet that really clever tweet I posted?" or "Are those interns representing our brand the way it should be represented?" You go to the Monday morning meetings or the quarterly reviews with discussions of ROI and metrics in mind, but you begin to focus on other areas in your digital arsenal.

Obviously, we are all using social media, as the study of brand usage shows, but are we using it right?


Well, it's time to grow up. Your chance to step up and be a "big boy" (or girl) has come. Our time as marketers is too valuable, with so many items impacting the bottom line desperately needing our attention. Let's discuss some ways to focus in.


The first absolute change that must happen is to stop posting, tweeting, and even blogging. You have to stop in order to give yourself a chance to think. This is a chance to be smart about what you say, how you say it, and how often. There is a rule of thumb that has worked very well for the decision of whether to post or not: would you pay to promote or advertise what is said in this message? Facebook is a grand example; if you aren't willing to hit the share button or pay a few bucks to promote any given post, then you probably shouldn't do it.

This leads us to the first "absolute" of mature social marketing: amplification. If you expect to see results from Facebook, you only need to look as far as your ad budget. Promoting, sharing, and advertising make your message visible to the masses in a meaningful way. My company's "How to Thrive In Our Evolving Digital Economy" tutorial and webinar references comScore's "Power of Like" study (below), which tells us of companies like Starbucks seeing in-store sales increase by 39 percent; of Amazon's online sales increase by 212 percent; and of Skittles seeing 300,000+ fans from implementing the right "amplification" techniques on Facebook.


Amplification is a great underlying tenant of social marketing. Think, "How can I amplify my message and marketing efforts to drive sales?" rather than, "What campaign should I run?"

Advertising Retargeting

Marketers assume that you are active on Facebook and LinkedIn, and with that they can assume that you are paying for advertising on Google in one way or another. So why not use this data to its highest potential? What do you mean, Aaron? I mean retargeting. You can spend on a Google display (not just PPC), apply the same for Facebook Ads, and use "retargeting or remarketing" options to have your advertisement pop up to those who have already been on your site. For example, when someone sees your site in a Facebook ad but becomes distracted by another email popping up, the next time she is on a site using Google she will be targeted to see your ad. It's as simple as using the consumer data. It's smart, it's effective, and the click-through, view-through, and ultimate conversion rates are out of this world. Personally, I've seen the performance range anywhere from 20 to 150 percent better than any normal ad.

Take it straight from Janet Miller in her "Harnessing the Power of Social Media and Retargeting" tutorial, where she tells us "that search is great but it's so limited; the ability to segment in social is awesome and now we can target by behavior; demographics are so old-school. We can target an ad based on what they like, do, and show interest in. What's better than that?"

Need I say more?


The ultimate goal is measurement, but it starts with thinking about the buyer's behavior. What does she do? So for all of you out there thinking "sales funnel," think again - that's broken and in fact never really worked. People don't act or think linearly (aka funnel); we are all over the place! As the Forrester Buy Cycle report shows below, folks are seeing your brand all over the place and eventually hone in on the seducible moment to buy.


Now it get's interesting! How do we give credit to any one of these touch points in our web analytics or overall measurement strategy? How much credit should that Facebook post receive? Where do we give credit to that one-off friend recommendation from a tweet? And of course, that AdWord a friend saw on Google and clicked to the site and purchased? Unfortunately, most, if not all of us are only giving credit to that last click and our attribution is widely askew. That's why we spend so much on paid search, because it's intent-driven. But getting the word out about a product is equally, if not more important. So how do we give it credit?

We build a thoughtful attribution model. Normally, there are four to choose from, but it's critical for you to make yours as customized as possible over time, as data starts to prove or disprove your assumptions. Remember, there is never a perfect model, so some guts, marketing smarts, and intuition will come into play.

As you'll see in the following example, the OMI tutorial from Aaron Goldman, "Social Media Metrics that Matter: How to Effectively Measure Your Results," includes four models: linear, U-shaped, even distribution, and last click.

First, the liner model is a gradual increase of value to 100 percent of purchase from start to finish of the buying cycle. Then, the U-shaped model weighs the early stage and last stage the most, so visually it would look like a "U" in a graph (e.g., 40 percent for awareness, 20 percent for consideration, and 40 percent for purchase). Next, we have the even distribution model where each stage is weighed evenly (33 percent each). Finally, the last click model is where each value goes to the "last click" (100 percent for that last touch). Therefore, let's at least start to think about which attribution model and weight makes the most sense and then apply the chosen model.


In Summary

It's great that you're "doing" social media, but now it's time to be a big boy and do it right. First, think amplification when trying to make social work in your marketing mix, and advertise if you want some attention.

Next, get into the concept of using the data from your advertising and retarget. Probably the single highest ad ROI you'll see, period. Finally, get smart on measurement and build a simple but testable attribution model so you don't misallocate future budgets because you're giving that "last click" all the credit.

OK, off you go! Time for school big boy!

Image on home page via Shutterstock.

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Aaron Kahlow

After selling the Online Marking Summit (OMS) event company in 2011, Aaron is now leading the charge of the newest venture, the Online Marketing Institute - an e-learning platform and training destination for digital marketing education.

Kahlow is one of the most recognized thought-leaders in the digital marketing and social media space. Having founded, funded, and built three prolific and highly profitable digital marketing companies, Kahlow has also delivered hundreds of marquee keynote speeches around the globe. He is a recognized author, columnist (ClickZ, NYT) and authority on social media marketing, sales and marketing integration, demand generation, business-to-business marketing, search marketing, usability, analytics, and digital marketing strategy.

Today, Aaron can be found in his new home city of San Francisco, working on the global expansion of "Teaching the World Digital" in his e-learning technology venture, the Online Marketing Institute. Facebook and LinkedIn are his preferred places to connect.

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