Despite having nearly a decade of experience with social networks, many marketers still find social media a tough nut to crack. But other marketers are transforming how they use social networks in ways that increase brand reach with relevant audiences and drive real ROI.
Here are three cutting-edge trends that will be at the core of the most successful social media marketing campaigns in 2014. These trends aren't magic bullets or industry secrets that will give brands an edge overnight. They're organic strategies that can drive real rewards for organizations with the patience and diligence to implement them.
Increase Employee Advocacy With Social Media Governance
Designating employee advocates is one of the most cost-effective ways to extend brand reach on social media. It can also be a risky endeavor, however, if employees don't have clear guidance on the common do's and don'ts of interacting with the brand on social media.
Brands with a strong base of employee advocates typically have a well-written social media governance policy that serves as the anchor of the employee advocacy strategy. Developing a policy sounds like nails on a chalkboard to most digital marketers, but it really isn't that difficult. Start with the free ebook, How to Build Your Social Media Governance Policy, which explains how to build your brand's unique governance policy. The ebook comes with a MS Word policy template to help you get started immediately.
Developing the policy is just the beginning; your team must implement the policy across business units and keep the policy up to date. A governance policy can mitigate the risk of costly social media disasters and help your employee base work as a cohesive unit. Employee advocacy on social networks will stretch your team's digital marketing dollars when it comes to increasing brand reach.
Enhance Content Distribution Efforts
A recent article by Forrester analyst Ryan Skinner revealed how distribution, and specifically earned media, is a core component to successful content marketing.
Skinner's article quotes a VP of marketing saying, "Marketers always ask me how to make more or better content, and it's almost always the wrong question. The right question is: "How do I get my content in front of the right people?""
As organizations continue to focus on using paid, owned and earned media to increase branded content distribution, social media can be used as a support mechanism to enhance distribution to relevant audiences on social media. Brands that enhance paid and earned media campaigns by distributing this content to relevant audiences on social networks can develop an edge in their respective industries.
Lead With Education, Not Conversation
Research shows that targeted educational content distribution is a much more effective strategy for building audiences than social media conversations. A recent HubSpot study found that all of the top-100 non-celebrity Twitter accounts used targeted content to build these giant audiences.
Conversations on social media are best left to bottom-of-funnel sales cycles and customer service. When building relevant audiences and extending brand reach, it's better to focus on delivering targeted educational content on a regular basis.
These Strategies Aren't Silver Bullets
The strategies mentioned above won't deliver returns immediately, but they also won't take multiple quarters to implement. A bit of smart hard work over the next couple of months can point your organization in the right direction and provide lasting brand reach on social networks. Get started on these strategies today, and explode out of the gates in 2014!