Hello all! Hope you’re well!
I’ve started my internship at Mary Washington Healthcare, and they are seriously the nicest bunch of people. I couldn’t ask for a better group to learn & work with.
Since I’ve been tasked with handling their social media calendar and helping plan parts of different campaigns, Schaefer’s tips are more relevant than ever, so without further ado, here’s my re-cap and insight on Social Media Explained: Section Two!
The first question that Schaefer asks is one that’s on any good marketer’s mind: how in the world do you measure social media? Or, at least, this should be a question on every good marketer’s mind!
Schaefer argues that many marketing consultants believe social media can’t be measured because of its numerous forms and less-traditional nature. Schaefer vehemently disagrees and says that all marketers should “measure EVERYTHING” (Schaefer 627). Then, he lists basic reasons why measuring social media is important:
Implied value: Marketing 101–“demonstrate business value.” When costs are cut and jobs need to be justified, it’s good to have numbers and graphs to back up your defense (638).
Human effort: Social media requires planning, a team. A team costs money. Again, numbers help to justify costs.
Progress measurement: So that you can figure out if you need to spend more or less money on social media efforts!
No excuse: Measuring a strategy’s effectiveness is easier than ever in this day and age. There’s nonstop data coming at you from the Internet, and it’s just a matter of getting the right people and tools to make that data useful to your cause. Delve into that hard data. Embrace it. Get those statisticians ON IT.
Schaefer adds a caveat, though. He cautions marketers to use common sense and trust “business instincts” (659). If the resources required to measure social media presence are greater than those to even create and manage the content in the first place, then reconsider putting a lot of effort into measuring.
Also, marketers need to sit down before measuring and realize two things: one, results take time. Results need to be planned and considered with a LOGICAL time frame, and two, marketers should come up with time lines. How long should a specific activity (i.e. blog posts, podcast) last before being evaluated for efficiency?
Finally, Schaefer discusses the importance of qualitative rather than quantitative measuring. He goes into a wonderful discussion on the benefits of blogs that I’ll cover next week (speaking of which, I’m working on a series of posts for a blog with MWHC’s, and I am super excited!), but his main point is this: don’t ignore simple metrics and small victories like Facebook likes or comments or employees participating in social media.
Seems like a super basic question, but does your company need a social media presence? The answer to this question is not cut-and-dry and depends a lot on the individual company.
For example, the playing card company Bicycle has a social media presence that isn’t huge but is filled with solid content for those who do follow the company, and there is a lot of chatter amongst fans about the accounts.
Radioactive waste removal, on the other hand, due to its very niche market, probably doesn’t require an Instagram account (though, those would be some interesting hashtags…) (872).
One of the main ways Schaefer encourages businesses to figure out if they need a social media strategy or not is to ask if it fits their current business strategy, and the way to do this is to ask:
Then, fill in the blanks.
Schaefer says he’s sat with tables of executives and given them this simple assignment, and many times, each executive has come up with something different. That’s not to mention the times he’s sat down with customers and asked what the company does best–the answers that the customer and company provides are usually completely different!
So, first things first–establish what your company’s specialty/advantage is and what customers love most about the company. Sit down and answer the “only we…” question “thoroughly and accurately” (892-903), and take customer answers to that question into consideration. After all, what the customer believes they’re getting is most important of all.
Then, Schaefer discusses obvious benefits of social media: PR, Word of Mouth, Cost savings (who needs a full page newspaper ad, anymore?), Customer service, HR & recruiting, and Internal process improvement (employee collaboration is awesome).
He also quotes a study from the McKinsey Global Institute that describes the “ideal company” that would take on a social media presence:
– high percentage of knowledge workers
– heavy reliance on brand recognition or consumer perception
– a need to maintain a strong reputation and build consumer trust
– digital distribution method for products or services
– an experiential or inspirational product or service
Also, it’s important to have your company out there providing answers and information when people are searching Facebook and Google for just that! The use of digital technology isn’t going away anytime soon, so learn to embrace it in appropriate amounts for your market sector.
Yes, social media is all fine and good in theory, but what about when it comes to budgets? How much money should a company be spending? How much is too much, and how little is too little?
The biggest tip that Schaefer gives in this section is that companies shouldn’t bet on material becoming viral. Instead, companies should try to create relationships “through consistent small engagements that eventually lead to awareness and bigger interactions, like a sale” (1090).
This is tricky, because it requires a lot of patience. Some people might not want to risk that much time and effort into something that might not pay off, but Schaefer insists that the time involved in successful social media campaigns is actually less than what was required back when B2B conferences, lunches, and meetings were required before the Internet and “social media revolution” (1113).
He then gives some core tips for any social media campaign:
– create a good group consisting of an in-house manager, monthly executive-and-team meetings, content creators with good communication skills, and perhaps representatives from IT, PR, and legal. There needs to be strong technical and analytical skill within the group to measure success (see: question one!).
– take one thing at a time. He quotes a former student of his that talks about how he learned one-by-one how to really work SEO, then blogs, then Twitter, and will continue to focus on one main method for himself until he learns/masters as many as possible. Take his advice and try not to be overwhelmed!
Uh oh–someone’s posted a nasty comment to your Facebook page! What do you do?
Well, first off, don’t panic. This is common on social media and is actually a great way to enhance customer service if responded to correctly, because Schaefer talks about how the majority of consumers just want to be “acknowledged and assured the problem is being addressed.”
There is a small amount, roughly 2%, that will be die-hard “haters” (1207). They constantly post negative comments despite responses from the company and harass just for attention. Schaefer encourages you to ignore these people, because they are unfortunately a part of Internet culture.
Next, Schaefer insists that every company should have “their house in order” (1216). Don’t isolate yourself and your team from negativity. Don’t be afraid to respond. Implement strong and clear social media policies and make sure each employee is well-versed in these rules. That way, you’re less likely to have an internal mess on your hands and can instead focus attention outward. Also, keep in close contact with your legal team!
Make sure responses are speedy, respectful, and acknowledge that the complaint is heard. Often times, this response in itself will shed a positive light on the company. Schaefer gives the following, possible response plan:
- commit to respond to all complaints; doesn’t have to be an answer fully approved by the legal department but can just be a message to let the person know they’ve been seen/heard
- acknowledge the person’s right to complain–empathy!
- empower employees to solve issue right away if logical/quick fix or offer to take issue offline through a phone call or e-mail if not a quick fix
- follow up
- if problem escalates further, hand it off to internal resources and let the experts deal with severe issues
Schaefer’s biggest point in the last question is the necessity of creating good content that can be reused and has a long shelf life–this means videos, presentations, guest writers/speakers, customer testimonies, etc.
Essentially, Schaefer says that good content is “in-depth, searchable, quotable, and relevant” (1428).
Content like this can be created from “passionate volunteers” (i.e. guest writers/speakers) and short term help that can specialize and help to lessen he load on full-time employees (1452).
Schaefer, Mark W. Social Media Explained: Untangling the World’s Most Misunderstood Business Trend. Schaefer Marketing Solutions: 2014. Kindle file.
Schaefer’s book is such a great read! Section three for next week is a break down of some basic social media platforms, so until then, take care!