Though the use of social media and social networks for marketing is now nearly ubiquitous, and 78% of companies have dedicated social media teams, many marketers sill struggle with certain aspects of social marketing, such as formalizing strategies and measuring results.
Yet as buyers make increasing use of social media to evaluate the offerings of and engage with vendors, expectations will inevitably increase. Basic presence and listening tactics will no longer suffice, and certainly won’t differentiate brands.
What trends and changes in social media do marketers need to stay on top of? How are social media marketing best practices evolving? How can marketers make the best use of visual content? Which metrics are most valuable in evaluating tactical success?
Find the answers to these questions and more here in some of the best guides to social media marketing and measurement of the past year.
Social Media Marketing Guides
5 Social Media Trends for 2014: New Research by Social Media Examiner
Though published last February, this post from Patricia Redsicker remains timely. Key trends she identifies for 2014 (which will remain important in 2015) include the importance of social listening (though “only 31% of marketers think their social listening is fully effective”) and increasing use of social advertising (57% of marketers used social ads in 2013 and another 23% are [were] expected to start using ads in 2014″).
6 social media network updates that you missed by iMedia Connection
Hopefully you’ve caught up to these by now, but just in case, this post from Trevor LaTorre-Couch details (fairly) recent design and functionality changes from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and explaining for each change the benefit(s) of each change for marketers.
10 Steps Using Social Media For Business Development by Soulati-TUDE
Jayme Soulati walks readers through 10 steps for “good old-fashioned networking” on social media to fuel business development, starting with setting goals (e.g., elevating your personal brand or asking for a meeting) and proceeding through characterizing your buyers, social sharing, engaging, and showing personality.
Brian Solis’ Conversation Prism Catalogs The Best Social Platforms by Search Engine Journal
***** 5 STARS
Kelsey Jones shares a fantastic “a visual map of the social media landscape” created by Brian Solis and JESS3 (see image at top of this post). The image calls out many of the top tools and platforms across the realms of social listening, learning, and adapting, further broken out into more specific groupings like video, social curation, and service networking.
10 Reasons Why Small Business Can’t Ignore Social Media by Marketing Technology Blog
The benefits of social media marketing are no longer questioned much, but for those still dealing with skeptics and doubters, Jason Squires has put together this excellent infographic showcasing its utility, supported with statistics, facts, and mini case studies.
52 Unique Ways to Create Social Media Magic by Rebekah Radice
Frequent best-of honorees Rebekah Radice and Peg Fitzpatrick team up to offer more than four dozen tips to optimize business results from social media, from joining Google+ communities and using a social media management tool to telling “your brand story with Pinterest boards” and using third-party apps to grow your Twitter following.
Jake Parent shares a dozen useful tips for being more engaging (and not a jerk) on social media, among them asking questions, complimenting people, and always giving more than you take: “always offer more value to people than you ask of them. In other words (be) on the lookout for problems to solve for people.”
24 Social Media Tips For The DIY Social Media Marketer In 2014 by Idea Girl Marketing
Keri Jaehnig details two dozen tips and tools for planning, productivity, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, G+, image editing (e.g., PicMonkey – an “easy online image editing tool”) and more. The self-promotion is a tad thick in spots but the tips and links are helpful.
Frequest best-of honoree Belle Beth Cooper reports on research showing the best times of the day and week to post updates on Facebook and Twitter; to send marketing emails; and to publish blog posts. She notes however that results vary between men and women, B2C vs. B2B audiences, and sometimes even significantly between different studies.
12 Ways Social Media Could Leave You Needing A Lawyer by Louder Online
Aaron Agius details a dozen social blunders to avoid, at risks ranging from embarrassment to winding up in court, such as using vulgar language, getting political, using auto-responses, or “insensitivity to personal struggles” (a particularly relevant but wince-inducing example).
Carrie Keenan has brilliantly compiled 10 of the dumbest (but sadly, far from most uncommon) questions asked of social media managers, among them “Hey, I use Facebook. I would be so good at your job!,” “What do you do all day?,” and the gawdawful “Can’t I have an intern/my son/my granddaughter, etc. do that for me?”
B2B Social Media Marketing Guides
A Key Secret to Jazzing UpYour B2B Content’s Visual Appeal by B2B PR Sense Blog
Writing that “Today B2B marketing departments are developing more visual content such as images, web video, infographics and Slideshare presentations,” Jonathan Pavoni demonstrates how to use Slideshare to “repurpose content, capture prospects’ attention, and drive additional leads into the sales funnel.”
Frameworks for smart content marketing programs by i-SCOOP
***** 5 STARS
While more than 90% of companies have adopted content marketing practices, many still struggle with effectiveness. To help, J-P De Clerck looks at several strategic content marketing frameworks, including the seven “building blocks” framework from Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose and the 4-step content marketing framework for startups from Lee Odden.
11 secrets of good B2B social media by Potion
Though primarily aimed at beginners / entry level social media marketers, this post is worth at least a quick scan by more experienced social pros as well. It helpfully lays out the key components of the social marketing process, from developing and sharing content through tagging, measuring, and showing personality: “people like interacting with people. What’s your brand personality going to be?”
Five Fantastic Examples of B2B Social Media Marketing by j+ Media Solutions
While B2B marketers often focus on being professional in communications and not overly personal, this post from Jennifer G. Hanford reminds readers that whether B2B or B2C, all marketing is ultimately P2P (person to person). It presents snapshots of a handful of successful B2B social media efforts, including use of YouTube, Facebook, and even Pinterest (who knew Constant Contact maintains 100+ Pinterest boards?).
Guides to Social Media Metrics and Measures
Metrics to Measure YouTube Marketing by distilled
Phil Nottingham contends that most marketers don’t understand how to quantify social media marketing success on YouTube, and aims to fix that with this post. “‘Going viral’ isn’t a business goal, neither is having a million video views…With YouTube, your goal should always be some form of increased brand awareness.”
What to measure: ROI or KPIs? by iMedia Connection
The brilliant Rebecca Lieb makes the case for defining and measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) for social media marketing efforts rather than trying to force measures of return on investment (ROI), noting that “Measuring message amplification (or brand metrics such as purchase intent, favorability, or consideration) isn’t unrelated to ROI. All are steps along the journey — critical steps.”
what’s the right metric? by bowden2bowden blog
Randy Bowden shares his thoughts on the ROI-vs-KPIs debate introduced above. He explains how each metric works and suggests that both are important, though conceding that “you can’t measure your ROI with social media totally…(and, ultimately) ROI is not black and white.”
7 Multi-Platform Social Media Analytics Tools by RazorSocial
***** 5 STARS
Ian Cleary reviews seven “very useful social media analytics tools.” He provides a brief description of each tool as well as explaining how much it costs, the main features, how it works, and an “overll opinion” of the tool’s strengths, limitations, and ideal application.
Guides to Marketing with Tumblr and Triberr
Is Tumblr Right for My Business? by QuickBooks
While noting that not every business can make use of Tumblr, Brenda Barron outlines three questions for marketers to ask to determine if the platform may be helpful to their brand, starting with how visual your business is: “Tumblr is intrinsically image-based, much like Pinterest. This makes it the perfect avenue for…businesses in industries with a visual focus.”
Writing that “Tumblr is one of those social networks which is often overlooked, but which has tremendous potential for SEO and social media marketing,” Takeshi Young explains how Tumblr works, its benefits compared to other social networks, and how to use Tumblr for online marketing (including four types of content that “perform extremely well” there).
Tumblr Tips To Help Grow Your Blog and Social Mentions by Inspire To Thrive
Lisa Buben offers more tips for content distribution success on Tumblr, such as loving content (“The little heart ? can go a long way on Tumblr. Spread the love around”), reblogging, commenting, using hashtags (yes, “Hashtags are big on Tumblr!”), and how to gain followers.
This Triberr strategy can increase your distribution now by leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal
For those unfamiliar with Triberr, Jim Dougherty explains its a platform that “allows bloggers to increase their distribution by creating tribes that can (potentially) pool their collective social audiences.” For those interesting in trying it out–or already using it but perhaps not getting the results hoped for–he prescribes a three-strep strategy for increasing the reach of your blog content.