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2015 social marketing planning guide

  1. #SocialMarketing Planning Guide for 2015
  2. #SocialMarketing Planning Guide 2015 2 Introduction Social marketers, there’s plenty of good news for the year ahead. Social audiences have grown, and are less resistant to branded messaging, according to our recent Instagram and Twitter studies. Content and social marketing have become such large focuses for organizations because they work. The audience is there, and they’re excited to engage. Here’s a New Year’s-ready countdown of what has changed in social marketing in 2014, what to expect in 2015, and how to propel your brand to greatness in social’s ever-evolving ecosystem.
  3. #SocialMarketing Planning Guide 2015 3 What Changed in 2014 Instagram has changed from a “Maybe we should” to a “Must-have,” especially for retail brands. The mobile photo-sharing app, which launched in October of 2010, now reports over 200 million monthly active users, 60 million photos posted daily, and an average of 1.6 billion Likes every single day. As our Instagram Q3 Study pointed out, 86% of top brands have Instagram accounts, up from 71% in Q3 2013. We can only expect this trend upwards to continue. #10INSTAGRAM IS NECESSARY
  4. #SocialMarketing Planning Guide 2015 4 What to Do in 2015 Put some serious time and resources into your brand’s Instagram presence, whether it’s a well-used social network in your industry or not. If most brands in your space use Instagram, conduct analysis on successful competitors to discover what your target audience responds to well and what falls flat. If most brands in your space aren’t on Instagram, take the opportunity to pave the way on the network. Here are some current strategies we’re seeing successful brands use on the network. Tag another user handle in your captions. On average, posts that include another user handle in the caption net 56% more engagement. Mention influential users to engage new audiences. Tag a location for engagement growth. Posts in our study that were tagged with a location received 79% higher engagement. Use hashtags. Posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement. Hashtags are an important discovery method on Instagram, allowing brands to gain exposure to niche groups and relevant areas of interest. These searchable terms give audiences an organic way to find branded content through topics that fascinate them. “In 2015, you will see a big increase in mobile social marketing with mobile advertising, apps and crowd sourced mobile driven content. Brands and users will leverage the power of the two key obsessive technologies (Social and mobile) to new heights. Instagram which integrates social and mobile will maintain its high growth rate.” Jeff Bullas, Forbes Social Media Power Influencer
  5. #SocialMarketing Planning Guide 2015 5 What Changed in 2014 Facebook Sponsored Stories went away, and the new “Behaviors” feature debuted. You can now target ads by behavior within the following categories: • Automotive (DLX Auto Powered by Polk) • Charitable Donations • Digital Activities • Financial • Mobile Device User • Purchase Behavior • Residential Profiles • Travel Within these categories, there are subcategories that allow you to get even more specific about who you’re targeting with your ads. #9BEHAVIORAL TARGETING
  6. #SocialMarketing Planning Guide 2015 6 What to Do in 2015 Since ad targeting on Facebook is better than ever, take advantage of the Behaviors feature. With behavior-based targeting, you can reach Facebook users with characteristics more likely to drive engagement from relevant social audience members and hit your engagement and follower goals. You can target users who are interested in motorcycles, or in animal welfare. You can target users who are console gamers, or who are seeking auto insurance policies, or who are active credit card users, or who are new smartphone and tablet owners, or who buy home and garden goods frequently, or who are likely to move soon, or who are business travelers – or users who fit into any combination of the above behavioral categories. “Facebook’s Behavioral targeting allows advertisers to dive a level deeper beyond some of the more surface-level targeting methods like Interests, Demographics, and Locations. These methods make inferences about users’ likelihood of buying based on their characteristics, but Behavioral targeting identifies users who have actually taken an action. Behavioral targeting finds people who have recently invested their time and/or money in something similar to what your product or brand offers, which increases the likelihood that not only are they interested in your product, but that they’re willing to take action on that interest.” Danie Pote, Marketing Manager of Paid Media at Simply Measured
  7. #SocialMarketing Planning Guide 2015 7 What Changed in 2014 Facebook debuted Trending Topics, which appear to the right of your News Feed as a list of topics and hashtags that are spiking in popularity on Facebook. This list is personalized based on a number of factors, including Pages you’ve liked, your location, and what’s trending across Facebook. What to Do in 2015 When people click on a topic, they see relevant updates from friends and brand pages. That means you. Create content around current conversations. Use Trending Topics to know what Facebook members are talking about, and capitalize on that buzz by creating content that fits with relevant keywords and/or hashtags on a quick turnaround. Invest in right-column ads. You can purchase ads that appear directly below the Trending Topics section. By knowing which topics are trending within your target audience, you can make sure these ads fulfill a need or answer a question that a trending topic surfaces. Keep an eye on FB Techwire. Facebook wants to be our go-to news source. With the recent release of FB Techwire, the social giant has made another step in that direction. Wherever your Trending Topics-centric content creation forays take you, make sure you’re paying attention to FB Techwire—a place for breaking news before the topics get fully heated. #8 “Brands now have the ability to capitalize on trending topics on Facebook just like on Twitter, creating content based on what the current conversation is and reminding users of cultural phenomena even if their own friends aren’t talking about a specific topic.” Kevin Shively Senior Content Marketing Manager at Simply Measured FACEBOOK AS A NEWS SOURCE
  8. #SocialMarketing Planning Guide 2015 8 What Changed in 2014 Brands created better integrated cross-channel campaigns than ever. What to Do in 2015 Fire on all cylinders. Depending on your industry and budget, that might mean building campaigns with consistent messaging across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, investing in these networks in addition to traditional TV and radio ads, or exploring growth networks like Pinterest and Wanelo. From the Super Bowl to American Idol to the Oscars, this year showed us that cross-channel social marketing efforts offer brands major return worth devoting budget to. Engage, engage, engage. You don’t want your content to fall on deaf ears, but you can’t expect your social audience to automatically engage with your content. Give social users specific ways to get involved in a dialogue, like asking them to post photos or share opinions alongside a certain hashtag. #7CROSS-CHANNEL CREATIVITY
  9. #SocialMarketing Planning Guide 2015 9 Remain consistent, but adapt. Your messaging should remain consistent across all your active social networks, but your delivery methods and what you expect to receive from each network must be flexible. This includes how you set goals and benchmarks for outcomes on each network. For instance, you might kick off a campaign on Facebook with humorous video content, expand to Instagram mid-campaign with product-oriented photographic content, and use Twitter to conduct the chats associated with your campaign, but your brand voice and message should reinforce itself no matter which channel your social audiences are tuning into. Measure across all your channels. Looking at each network in a silo means missing out on important trends and opportunities. By comparing channel- specific metrics side-by-side, you can optimize your strategy with detailed analytics for channel health, content performance, and user engagement. “In 2015, data-informed social media content, promotion, and engagement through more sophisticated social marketing platforms will also require trained practitioners necessitating new training, best practices, and measurement.” Lee Odden CEO at TopRank Online Marketing
  10. #SocialMarketing Planning Guide 2015 10 What Changed in 2014 In 2014, it became clear that the future of social media marketing relies on influencer marketing. As per Nielsen, 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations, while only 33% trust ads. That means your popular friends and followers, social audience members with high Klout scores, bloggers, and journalists are more important than ever. What to Do in 2015 Associating yourself with popular, brand-relevant influencers gives you a unique opportunity to connect with fan groups that are familiar with your brand, but may not have engaged with you directly. Identify the right influencers. Use an agency that represents influencers and bloggers or conduct a social media analysis of who’s interacting with your brand already and organically reach out to the folks who touch your target audience regularly. Keep Brian Solis’s three R’s in mind. When going influencer-hunting, digital analyst and author Brian Solis suggest we think about Reach (the influencer’s popularity, Klout score, and social audience size), Relevance (how well the influencer’s expertise aligns with your goals and brand identity), and Resonance (whether the influencer is having meaningful, long, interactive conversations). Reach out the right way. According to KISSmetrics, the most effective way to recruit influencers is via email, with contact on owned channels like Twitter and Facebook a close second. #6SAY YES TO INFLUENCERS
  11. #SocialMarketing Planning Guide 2015 11 What Changed in 2014 According to Digital Sherpa, videos increase people’s understanding of your product or service by 74%. YouTube is now the number two search engine in the world. One-third of all online activity is spent watching videos. Shall we go on? What to Do in 2015 It’s time to allocate some money to developing video content. We know you’ve been talking about doing this for a couple years now, but it’s really time. Don’t go long. 45% of viewers stop watching a video after one minute.By the two-minute mark, 60% of viewers have tuned out. This means your content should not be lengthy. If more time is mandatory to get your point across, make sure you’ve engaged your target audience fully before sixty seconds comes along. Add it to email. Up your email marketing game and drive click-throughs from your emails with video. An introductory company email that includes a video receives an average click-through rate increase of 96%. Put it everywhere. Don’t limit your video efforts to YouTube and Facebook. Post snippets and teasers of longer videos on Instagram and Vine, completely saturating your social presence and testing to see which kind of video content is effective for your audience. #5 “Video is going to be gigantic in 2015. The social content marketing world will put more dollars there, and YouTube and Vine will increase their impact.” Michael Walton SVP of Marketing and Product at Simply Measured VIDEO TIME
  12. #SocialMarketing Planning Guide 2015 12 What Changed in 2014 Podcasts are being taken more seriously in the social and content marketing realms. According to Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Marketing Industry Report 2014, only 6% of marketers are involved with podcasting today, but more than three times that plan on increasing their podcasting activities in 2014, and 28% of marketers want to learn more about it. What to Do in 2015 Experiment with podcasts. What’s your brand’s expertise? Find a unique way to educate and/or entertain people at a regular cadence. Figure out who you’re trying to reach. A great way to do this? Analyzing the people who feel strongly enough about you to engage with your brand on social, and using those questions and discussions as starting points for your podcast vision and topic pool. Coordinate with your social efforts. If podcasts fall into the social marketing bucket for your brand, make sure all roads lead back to your social commodities and getting listeners to become followers. The ad alternative. If you don’t want to devote the time and resources to creating a podcast series, consider advertising on a popular podcasting series that fits with your target audience. Package your advertisement with a discount code and/or social offer to keep track of how much business you drive from this endeavor. #4 “Podcasts offer the opportunity to both showcase expertise and humanize your brand by letting the brilliant people behind it speak. They’re relatively low-budget and easy to create. And, they’re convenient for anyone who has a smartphone, headphones, and only a little bit of free time to learn something new. That’ll be pretty much everyone in 2015.” Bridget Quigg, Director of Content at Simply Measured EXPERIMENT WITH PODCASTS
  13. #SocialMarketing Planning Guide 2015 13 What Changed in 2014 Leveraging major cultural and entertainment events to promote brand awareness went big in 2014, with successful bandwagon-jumping and organically sourced campaigns around everything from Game of Thrones to the #ALSIceBucketChallenge. What to Do in 2015 Social strategy in 2015 will require more vigilance and pulse- reading than ever before. Don’t miss an opportunity to get your brand in front of the right people by capitalizing on the success of social phenomena—but make sure you don’t compromise your brand identity while you’re at it. #3LEVERAGE EVENTS
  14. #SocialMarketing Planning Guide 2015 14 Expect the unexpected. Don’t stick so stringently to your social plan that you lose a sense of spontaneity and the ability to make social magic from what’s happening already. In this landscape, your community manager is more important than ever. If multiple brands live under your company umbrella, invest in multiple community managers for optimal social creativity and event-based involvement. Crowdsource content. Amplify existing behavior on social by creating campaigns based on what people are saying around your brand already. Surprise, but stay true. Don’t stray so far away from your brand voice that you’re unrecognizable, but take a chance, get creative, and get involved in a cultural phenomenon people might not expect from your brand for extra attention. “Social identity will start to become a challenge in 2015, as brands attempt to tie offline identity with online identity. Social identity solutions will start to emerge and some acquisition will happen in that space.” Uri Bar-Joseph Director of Marketing at Simply Measured
  15. #SocialMarketing Planning Guide 2015 15 What Changed in 2014 Social media is transforming customer service. A Nielsen survey shows that more than half of all customers now turn to social media for redress. Some 81% of Twitter users expect a same-day response to questions and complaints. What to Do in 2015 Invest resources into providing timely and efficient customer service on Twitter. Have a dedicated customer service handle. By maintaining a separate main brand account and customer service account, you can separate support inquiries from marketing efforts. This means your customers get more direct access to help and your marketing efforts remain undiluted. Sign on, sign off. The best-in-class in Twitter customer service let followers know their customer service availability in their profiles and send out Tweets at the beginning and close of business hours. This makes sure community expectations are managed and more often met. Focus on response time and Tweet resolution. Measure your progress by benchmarking with these two metrics. How long does it take your customer service team to respond on Twitter? How many Tweets are necessary to close a customer service case? Create response time and Tweet resolution goals based on your industry norms. #2CUSTOMER SERVICE “The concept of a social business is here to stay. With the emergence of social selling, employee advocacy, and other social business initiatives, companies and leaders will begin to shift their focus from using social media for marketing or communication, and start using it for connecting and growing communities. This includes investing in employees’ personal brands and empowering customers to have a voice while talking with, not at, them.” Brian Fanzo Digital Strategist at Broadsuite
  16. #SocialMarketing Planning Guide 2015 16 What Changed in 2014 With a well-recognized evolution from basic listening and monitoring to more sophisticated performance measurement and market analysis, brand storytellers paid attention to data to develop a stronger understanding of their audience, and their competitors. What to Do in 2015 Better measurement means better goal-hitting strategies and tactics for digital teams. By increasing your brand’s social understanding and self-knowledge, you can improve everything from cross-platform strategy to org structure – and make it very clear why you rocked that campaign. Create your own ROI definition. What does social ROI mean to you? The answer varies for every brand. Are you more interested in brand awareness, driving your social audience to your site, increasing engagement with customers? Find the metrics that match your goals, and start benchmarking. #1PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENT
  17. #SocialMarketing Planning Guide 2015 17 Differentiate between owned, earned, and paid. Which of your efforts are bearing fruit? Are you putting your advertising dollars to their best use on social? Target better. Build your social content around your ideal social personas. By knowing who’s already engaging with you, you’ll get a pretty good idea of who you should be targeting or which tweaks you have to make to your strategy to attract the audience you actually want. Analyze your competition. Like in any other branch of your business, you need to know what your competitors are doing well and not so well. Make this social analysis a centerpiece of your measurement strategy. “In 2014, social marketing got dramatically more sophisticated. In 2015, social analytics will be a primary focus as brands continue to scale social marketing investments.” Adam Schoenfeld CEO of Simply Measured
  18. #SocialMarketing Planning Guide 2015 18 Conclusion The social landscape is constantly changing, and as social analytics experts, it’s our job to discover how and why those evolutions are taking place. We know it’s crazy out there, but we’ve been paying attention. You can put good money on our top ten predictions and planning recommendations. From investing in new content types to premium measurement solutions to new ad buying ventures, it’s time to put a fresh face on your social strategy and ring in the New Year right. Lucy Hitz is a Social Media Content Writer at Simply Measured, where she works on longform content and writes for the award-winning social analytics blog. Her favorite musical artist is Taylor Swift. She looks forward to seeing what happens on social in 2015.
  19. About Simply Measured Simply Measured is a fast-growing team of data geeks dedicated to making the world of analytics and reporting a better, more beautiful place. Find out more at Our goal is to put the tools to understand business data in the hands of business users. We think reporting should be simple, attractive, and accessible for everyone – not just data scientists. Our software streamlines the process from data to deliverables and eliminates the countless hours spent on everyday reporting tasks. We do this by putting cloud data sources at your fingertips, providing a marketplace of best practice reports, and allowing you to generate beautiful solutions on the web, in Excel, and in PowerPoint with a couple of clicks. Want to try Simply Measured? Request a Free 14 Day Trial Copyright © 2010–2014 Simply Measured, Inc. All Rights Reserved.