Industry insights: “My biggest social media lesson from 2015 is…”
Before looking at your social media strategy, changes, and resolutions for 2016, take a moment to look back on what social media lessons you've learnt in 2015 and how you’ve improved. The last year has seen the emergence of the Buy-Now button, implementation of Twitter polls, and the revamping of Direct Messages. There have also been advances in the technology of the tools available to social marketers, allowing strategic options that were previously unavailable. These developments, combined with digital marketers’ own creativity, mean that the industry has changed in 2015 and marketers need to be thinking ahead. We’ve spoken with digital marketing professionals from some of the world’s top agencies and brands, who have given us exclusive insights on what their biggest lessons from 2015 were.
Dive into big data for informed views of your audience
"Having become increasingly aware at Fifty of the fact that many companies base their entire consumer segmentation models on relatively small scale qualitative research we have moved to solve this problem. We have done this through big-data analysis of interconnections and interactions on social media networks. This means splitting a client’s market or audience in a totally unbiased way, giving real insight into their interests, key influencers within the space and more. This move towards a big-data informed segmentation model has been revolutionary to many of our clients.”
Discover the personality traits of chosen social groups
"2015 was the year that brands leaped from what is a crude way of looking at consumers - demographics-based segmentation - to a more humanlike segmentation powered by AI technologies like cognitive computing. They’re starting to think about consumers as humans and asking what the personality traits of their target audience are, what relationships do they have, and how can they produce content that connects? More and more agencies have been telling us that their clients require analysis on a deeper level, and an increasingly accurate level of targeting that delivers more reliable social campaigns. The initial results from cognitive computing trials and work with our clients has shown us that personality insights is delivering these results."
Analytics are mandatory
“A big trend in 2015 was data analytics. These packages were no longer an agency differentiator but a requirement from clients. Social listening is not new but brands are demanding more from this data. The key is delivering actionable insight to brands, rather than just a summary of data. Especially when it comes to Twitter, there is a huge level of engagement and consequently a huge amount of information. As with anything, it is how you analyse that data and use it to support business objectives that clients demand.”
Social media is constantly evolving, always be ready
“The biggest lesson I've learned in 2015 is that there's no status quo! As a social media manager, you need to keep your eye on the growth and changes of the prevalent platforms; I have a Feedly account that captures all the social media and tech news in real time so I can make sure I'm on top of any new development. With consistently altered algorithms and new features on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, you must make sure you're reaching your audience in the best, most effective ways possible. At the beginning of the year, photos on Facebook performed best; now, native video rules the feeds (and pushing out YouTube since they're now competing). There really is no perfect formula, because it's changing on a monthly — if not weekly — basis.”
Have a platform strategy to match your audience
“One of our biggest learnings has been adapting our content for the different fan bases on Facebook and Twitter – a one size fits all approach was not working as our audiences are significantly different. On Facebook we have a much older audience who have been fans of SWAROVSKI for decades. This audience does not react well to fashion forward posts whilst our Twitter audience is much younger and engage well with the work we do with bloggers and magazine editors, and have also been enjoying our Periscope broadcasts. Through trial and error we now have a better understanding of what each of our audiences engage with on each platform and for 2016 our content will consistently differ – which is also of benefit to any fans who cross over on both platforms.”
Think where your brand fits in the customer’s life
"Brands are understanding that the content they create for social has to be different, relevant and meaningful for their audiences. It's about joining them on their journey as opposed to thinking they should go out of their way to join your journey. When Graffigna asked Atomic to help raise awareness of its leading Malbec wine, we looked at the journey of the core target audience. They liked to eat out and one of their favourite food types was steak – an experience they seemed keen to share with their communities.
So we tapped the brand into their journeys with #MeatyMalbec, giving them an opportunity to share their love of steak and steak restaurants by participating in the first ever London Steak Awards. End result? Spectacular results for the brand including retail listings. This campaign demonstrated the value of using social and Twitter to join the dots between the brand and customer journeys."
Twitter advertising becomes all-encompassing in all strategy
“One of our main social media lessons for this year has been in social advertising. Following Twitter’s changes to their Ads platform, advertising has become more and more intrinsic to our clients across the board. Before it was used as amplification to specific campaigns, whereas now it is commonplace in all strategy. Another interesting insight is the eagerness for all of our client base to get involved in trialling newer social strategies and platforms, such as Snapchat. Whether they're new or not, they're certainly doing some interesting things that will only expand further next year. Across all sectors, brands are understanding the importance and integrity in social - and we look forward to taking this through to 2016.”
Research your target audience and act on it
“You want to connect with your audience? Then get to know them - not just as a potential money maker but as a real people who are really using your site or product. What do they do for fun, before work, after work, what gets them interested and excited? This year I tried to see what our audience were like as people, and what would get them engaged with our site and social media. It's why I came up with London's first Micro Pig Picnic, or "The Pignic." I knew my community liked food and drinks, I saw that animal cafes were a trend in London and, honestly, everyone loves tiny pigs.
Not only did my community go nuts about it, but so did all of London, in person, on Yelp and all over Twitter. This wasn't a revolutionary idea but one that came only from getting to know what my community would be interested in. You can do something this too, just figure out who your users are as real people and chat with them in a way you'd like if you were in their shoes.“
Look for strength in simplicity
“We’ve seen real success when we’ve linked our work to what’s happening in the real world. Twitter hashtags like #BackToTheFutureDay and the #TubeStrike gave us an opportunity to amplify our message and achieved digital media pick up (in mashable and The Drum respectively). Make sure when you do this that your content is relevant so that it doesn’t seem like just jumping on a bandwagon. We’ve discovered that the best time to post is when you’ve got something to say. There’s no substitute for good, relevant content.
A big success was also our #EndangeredEmoji campaign on Twitter. It saw 784,000 mentions and over 60,000 sign ups in the first two months. We put this down to the simplicity of the mechanic – people can make a difference doing something they do in their everyday lives: Tweeting an emoji!”
Use social data to back-up research
“Social Fuel was approached by Lucid Group to assist in a campaign for a new Over The Counter (OTC) medication in what was a sensitive subject area. As a part of the research, a report on patient concerns around their condition and the available medication was needed to emphasise the importance of the new drug to enter the markets. Our social media listening expertise added an extra layer to their report by looking at what was being discussed online by patients, healthcare professionals and competitor brands around the condition and its treatment.
The research revealed that Twitter in particular was a hub of people directing fellow sufferers to the forums. The fact that we could demonstrate this insight - and back it up with qualifiable and quantifiable evidence - highlighted that Twitter was a viable avenue for the communication strategy to centre around for the launch of the medication in the key markets.”
Offer something only you can deliver
“For me, the most important lesson of 2015 was that you need to give your followers something nobody else can deliver. There are many different blogs and publications reporting on what it’s like to drive a Porsche on a track. But something only we could offer was a behind-the-scenes video about the manufacturing of the 918 Spyder. It’s very basic and contains close-up footage of the process. We were able to open the doors to the production of the hybrid super sportscar 918 Spyder. Our fans were keen to see it - and we were the only ones who could deliver this piece to them. In a few weeks we generated more than 200,000 views with an overwhelming amount of positive feedback.”
Ken Thorsteinsson, Marketing Communications, Porsche
Keep your content working for you
“One thing we focused on this year was to make the most of our evergreen content. Using tools like Buffer and Tweet Jukebox to help with creating a varied schedule of content can really benefit a small team in maximising reach on social channels. For Zoopla we have doubled our reach on Twitter by increasing our efforts in this area. We’re not giving in to the idea that organic reach is dead. If you are giving your audience content that they are interested in then you can still achieve great results for free, we have seen a 540% year on year increase in organic visits from our Facebook page.”
Even taking a sample of these lessons forward will provide you with a better standing to launch more effective, advanced, and engaging campaigns in 2016. What other major social media lessons have you learnt in 2015?