Social Media, Content Strategy, and Digital Advertising Become Social Media Marketing

According to the 2016 State of Social Business, a new study by Altimeter, presented by Ed Terpening, with Aubrey Littleton, Social Media has evolved far beyond its media roots into an engagement platform, stressing and stretching social team hubs who are trying to balance a platform that is growing in every direction, says the Executive Summary

The practice of social business is evolving so quickly, and into so many existing, mature business functions, that the team can no longer operate as a silo, says the report. To achieve the objectives of today’s consumers and businesses, the social business team must excel at both integrating and transitioning social business practices to existing mature functions, says the report, such as e- commerce, advertising, and customer service.

Ten years into this technology disruption internal partners have become a necessity to scale impact, and are now willing to invest their attention and budget in the platform.

The Summary of Findings shows that:

1. Shifting Focus to Integrated Customer Experience.

Highlighting the continued shift to customer centricity, 82% of strategists surveyed named “Customer Experience” as their top priority, overtaking “Brand Health” as an objective for the first time.

2. The Social Team’s Shift From Innovator to Integrator.

Once an innovator, the social team now serves as a connector between existing centers of excellence in e-commerce, advertising, and content. 79%t of strategists say they are becoming more “operational and a platform for the innovation of others.” To reverse this trend and remain innovative, social teams must find the right balance between playing the innovator and collaborator role.

3. Social Commerce Hasn’t Achieved Results.

Social commerce is evolving to fit user expectations of what it means to combine social media and sales in the form of “Conversational Commerce.” However, despite large, engaged audiences, brands using social commerce platforms to complete the buying cycle have had little success. To improve results, 72% of strategists say responsibility for social commerce must shift from the social team to e-commerce teams.

4. Social Advertising Strategy and Governance in Flux.

While 76% of brands report social ads are meeting objectives, coordination with digital marketing and advertising teams has created power struggles for who “owns” social advertising budgets at different points in the traditional marketing funnel. Emerging engagement models, like chatbots,  and advanced media formats complicate the creation, tracking, and measurement of social advertising effectiveness.

5. China’s WeChat Signals the Future of Social Apps.

If seamless customer experience is the goal, China’s WeChat platform may be viewed as a great success. It integrates commerce, brand experience and an incredible array of third-party services. However, its all-in-one “mega app” model is unlikely to be replicated in the West. 

In just the past year, maturity of employee advocacy programs more than doubled from just 18% in 2015 to 45% today. The report concludes suggesting many operational opportunities based on Customer experience, Evolving social business team, Social commerce, and Social advertising, with insight driving action steps you can take. The study interviews found content strategy a key contributor to ad success:

  • Connect the dots between social media, content strategy, and digital advertising to create a ready audience of prospects for ad engagement based on content and community management in social.
  • Only 19% of brands collaborate with the advertising team, and this has to change if digital advertising is to mature.
  • Partner with existing advertising centers of excellence to “divide and conquer” marketing funnel leadership for each stage, and design a strategy and governance approach that keeps teams aligned.
  • As social ad buying shifts to the advertising department, invest in approaches that align with social team expertise. Consider native advertising in social through employee advocacy, customer advocacy, and influencer programs. Work with advertising, leveraging their expertise in search/discovery in support of social. 

To view the entire report, please visit here.



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