Social Media Spending Reaches Record Highs: Ask These Questions To Ensure You Have The Right Strategy.

The Covid-19 pandemic has lead to businesses shutting down, declining revenue and economic recession. Many in the social media marketing field have been uncertain about how this would impact budgets. But according to the latest CMO Survey spending on social media marketing has grown to record levels with a 75% spike since February 2020.

How Covid-19 Influenced the Importance of Marketing in Companies
The CMO Survey (https://cmosurvey.org/)

Social media spending reaches highs predicted for years.

The percent of marketing budget spent on social media has hovered around 10%-13% since 2014 while marketers always predicted it would reach 20% or higher. With the pandemic spending has finally reached 23% and marketers expect it to stay that high for the next year. The CMO Survey reports this in the context of declining overall budgets and revenue, but as those declined the average percent of revenue spent on marketing increased as most perceived it to be more important during the pandemic.

Why such a sudden and dramatic jump?

Part of this jump is certainly people using social media more. After years of stalled gains eMarketer updated predictions indicating US adults will spend 7 more minutes per day on social networks in 2020 than in 2019. But according to the CMO Survey marketers have also become more confident in social media’s contribution to company performance. After remaining flat for years marketer confidence in social media performance increased 23% from February 2020.

How was social media used during the pandemic?

The CMO Survey reports marketers used social media the most for:

  • Brand awareness and brand building 84%
  • Retaining current customers 54%
  • Acquiring new customers 51%
  • Brand promotions 48%

What does this mean for your social media strategy?

As marketers reduce spending on traditional advertising, they are shifting resources to digital and social. With this increased spending comes higher expectations. Now is a good time to check your social strategy to ensure you are headed in the right direction. Make sure your social media is focused on the right objectives, on the right people, with the right message, and in the right places.

Do you have the right objectives?

Are your objectives focused on building business like the one’s above? Or are your objectives focused on building social media vanity metrics such as followers, likes, comments and shares which make social media an end unto itself? Ensure that your objectives connect to company performance not social media performance. Ensure that you have a solid Social Media Measurement Plan.

Are you reaching the right people?

Have you identified a target audience based on a well-defined target market for your product or service? Or are you casting a wide net hoping to catching anyone who could use the product or anyone on the social platform? Look at customer data to determine who actually buys your product not just follows your social account. Also consider The Customer Journey and Social Media Marketing Cycle as the old marketing funnels no longer apply in social.

Are you posting the right message?

Are you creating unique messages that speak to a well-defined audience with content customize to the social network? Or are messages more generic and content the same across social channels? Optimize content to increase performance. Consider Best Practices for Social Media Content Writing And Design.

Is your brand in the right places?

Are you on social media channels because you have been on them for years or because they are popular? Or have you evaluated social channels based on user demographics and engagement metrics of where your focused audience is most active? Take time to evaluate brand social platforms for wasted effort and missed opportunities. To get started consider Top Social Media Channels By Category.

Social media marketing has reached record highs and looks like it will remain there for at least the next year. As social media has matured and spending increases make sure your social media strategy will be as effective as possible.

 

Social Media Icon Quiz: Test Your Social Media Knowledge.

A major part of any social media strategy and plan is selecting social channels and that can be overwhelming with so many options. Some report thousands of social media sites and apps, Wikipedia lists over 200 and Brian Solis’s Conversation Prism has just under 200 social channel options in 26 categories. To simplify the selection of social channels I divide social media options into 9 categories by key characteristics. In a previous blog post “Social Media Update: Top Social Media Channels By Category” I list the top 3 or more channels in category. Here I go deeper with the Top 100 social media icons to test your social media knowledge.

How social media savvy are you? Take a couple of minutes and write down the names of the social media icons you know from the list of 100 top channels and tools below. How many can you name? (Don’t scroll down for the answers until you are done.)

Social Media Icons

Once you have written down the names, you can scroll down further to check your answers. First, let’s consider why social media is so important to any organization with some of the latest statistics. According to Pew Research Center, as of November 2016, 77% of all online adults use social networking sites with 87% of 18-29 year-olds on social media, 83% of 30-49 year-olds, 72% of 50-64 year-olds and just over half (51%) of 65+ active on social networks.

From “Social Network Use” (2017) Pew Research Center PewResearch.org Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/data-trend/media-and-technology/social-networking-use/

How many social media icons did you know? Add up how many social media names you had right. That is your percentage out of the 100 social icons listed here.

Out of the 100 social media icons you knew __%. Congratulations! As a marketer, advertiser or public relations professional for any brand you need to go where your customers are active. Recent reports indicate 30% of all time online is spent on social media with global adults spending nearly 2 hours a day on social media up from only 15 minutes in 2012. Shockingly teens spend up to 9 hours a day on social media.

Do you have a social media strategy?

For the latest changes in social media strategy consider Asking These Questions To Ensure You Have The Right Social Media Strategy and its a good idea to Perform A Social Media Audit at least once a year.

How To Avoid A Social Media Brand Identity Crisis (Social Brand ID Template)

Many organizations have brand identity guidelines for designers, art directors and writers in traditional media. Yet social media professionals operate in a less static more personal medium. They need an extension of these standards that recognizes the more personal, conversational, social aspect of marketing in social media. In this new medium brands are acting like and interacting with people. Because of this I have created a model for social media brand identity with elements drawn from the concept of personal identify in psychology and social identity theory. You can use the template below to develop your Brand Social ID that will help to guide the visual and written brand narrative told through brand social media channels.

SocialMediaBrandIdentityTemplate In psychology, Identity (ID) is the qualities, beliefs, personality, looks and expressions that make a person or group. In this case, your Brand is acting as a person so you first want to assign it a Personal Identity made up of these elements. Then identify the qualities, beliefs, personality, looks and expressions that make up your Buyer’s Identity (ID). Obviously, these should be compatible. They don’t have to be an exact match, but there should be enough connections to form an attraction like in a real personal relationship – the social aspect. Psychologists describe personal identity as the things that make a person unique while, sociologists describe social identity as the collection of group memberships that help define the individual. Brands that become communities can become one of the memberships that help define their audience or buyers.

When social media strategist and content marketing creators understand these two Personal IDs they can form a bond through consistent visual and written story told in the social media channels where their buyers are active. Psychologists believe stories are fundamental to social interaction so these meeting places and exchanges will begin to form connections. Micro connections through the narratives customized to each social channel overtime establishes a group Social Identity built around brand community. When you connect and co-develop stories with your buyers in this way the Group Social ID can build strong brand loyalty. Perhaps this connection could grow to become “loyalty beyond reason” as Kevin Roberts of Saatchi & Saatchi calls brands that are Lovemarks. It seems that we keep rediscovering and have to remind ourselves of the power of stories in a business context.

This Brand Social ID model follows a three-step process explained in social identity theory (illustrated at the bottom of the template). Social Identity is a person’s sense of who they are based on their group memberships. The groups people belong to are an important source of pride and self-esteem giving them a feeling of belonging. To increase self-image people are motivated to enhance the status of the group. To do this they Categorize groups, Identify with one and then Compare and favor that group over others in the same category. This can happen in many ways including abilities (artistic versus scientific), design preference (contemporary versus country), team loyalty (Eagles versus Cowboys), and brands (Apple versus Microsoft).

A Brand’s Social ID should be informed by the organization’s vision, mission and goals to make up the personal identity of the brand. What are the distinctive characteristics or attributes of the brand? These make up a brand’s Qualities. What are the opinions or convictions of the organization that instill confidence, faith and trust in employees, investors and customers? These are brand Beliefs. What organized pattern of behavior would best convey the character of the brand? This is brand Personality. Are there important visual elements of the brand such as colors, logos, fonts, image style? These are visual components that make up brand Look. How would you describe brand voice or manner and form of words and phrases in written communication? This is brand Expression. Finally, capture main offerings as explicit proposals to specified people. These are brand Offers.

The Buyer Social ID is similar, yet from a slightly different perspective. This is informed by the target audience’s personal vision, values, mission and goals in a business to consumer context (B2C) or informed by their organization’s vision, values, mission and goals in a business to business context (B2B). Describe the distinctive characteristics and attributes of the person (Qualities), the things they feel are good, right or valuable (Beliefs), signs of their character or patterns of behavior (Personality), favored qualities in style and appearance (Look), and preferred manner or form of communication (Expression). Capture the clear requirements that are necessary or very important to this buyer (Needs). Often needs come out of complications, obstacles or pain points that cause tension. Building your brand narrative around these and positioning your products and services as a solution to release that tension can be very powerful. I suggest following a Five Act formula that my colleague and I have found to be effective in Super Bowl Ads and Viral Marketing Videos. If you have a completed a buyer persona this could be helpful in completing the Buyer Social ID.

Does your Brand Social ID match your Buyer Social ID? If these are significantly off in key areas you many have to adjust the personality elements of the brand. Or perhaps you need to realign your target market to buyer’s who have more elements in common with the brand. As brand social media strategist and content creators follow this Social Media Brand ID they will help the consumer move through the three-step socialization process. The brand narrative in social media will lead potential customers into Categorizing the brand personality and offering, Identify as belonging to the brand community, and as a member of that social group start to compare the brand favorably over competitors. Having a Brand Social ID will help to guide all social media content creation and buyer engagements setting a standard of authentic brand communication. It should serve as guardrails in keeping social talk “on brand” and out of social media identity crisis.

Have you thought about brand social media identities or translating your current brand identify guidelines into brand social media standards? Do you find this template helpful? How else could brands approach this?Strategy: Marketing and Advertising in the Consumer Revolution.

To consider the bigger picture in social media marketing Ask These Questions To Ensure You Have The Right Strategy.