Economic sustainability of social media activities
Measuring the long-term impact of social media is a tricky task because how can short-lived status updates ever win any comparison with a corporate homepage or blog? If we compare the costs of customer acquisition, they actually cannot.
Yet, real content is much more than status updates: Content marketing relies on white papers, multimedia-stories, infographics and other formats which are expected to draw attention much longer than the average Facebook update. Unique, interesting content will rank high in search engine result pages, which in turn increase organic traffic over time. At the same time, organic social media reach is decreasing while ad costs are sky-rocketing.
This is one of the reasons why content marketing will remain one of the key concepts in strategic online planning in 2017. As advertising competition gets tougher, the concept of “sticky” content becomes even more attractive. Does this comparison make social media marketing look obsolete? Not at all – corporate social media channels are great source of traffic. It’s all about using resources efficiently and combining different publishing tools in a smart and time-saving ways.
Customer experience management is a relatively new approach in analyzing and optimizing the entirety of touchpoints between brand and customer. The goal is to nourish trust and to convert new customers into loyal brand advocates. While trying to understand every aspect of the customer lifecycle, customer experience management (CEM, which is also sometimes abbreviated as CXM) puts all touchpoints into consideration, whether analogue or digital.
As a touchpoint, a social media channel is just as important as a print catalogue or a personal sales pitch at a brick-and-mortar store. Of course we see huge differences between convenience goods and other product categories in the ways customers do their research. The rule of thumb is simple: The more money a potential buyer is planning to spend, the more intensely will he or she do their research – either actively or passively through successful targeting.
Many scholars have published whitepapers and scientific studies about CEM (https://scholar.google.at/scholar?q=touchpoint+customer+experience+management). The most important learning for online marketers is: In most cases, purchase decisions are not made on the spot, but are rather the result of a much longer process. This “decision chain” is as strong as its weakest link – or its weakest touchpoint. Considering the large amounts of time (younger) customers spend on social media platforms these days, the importance of including social media channels into your content marketing strategy becomes obvious – but how should you do this efficiently?
An increasing number of tools claim to make online life much easier by offering elaborate editorial planning tools. How much overhead makes sense? The decision for a specific tool depends on your requirements such as team size and preexisting setups and approval processes.
CoSchedule is an interesting combination of editorial calendar and social media planning tool. (http://coschedule.com/) While also functioning as a stand-alone solution, the app is fully integrated into WordPress via a plugin. Editorial teams can manage their workflow, auto-publish new articles to various social media platforms and gather related analysis data.
A new start-up which recently received a lot of great reviews in the US tech industry focuses on a more specialized task: Edgar (https://meetedgar.com/) is a reposting tool which automatically re-schedules and publishes past articles, promising a notable increase in reach.
Another tool, Sproutsocial (http://sproutsocial.com), combines editorial workflow planning and social media publishing features with intranet/eCRM modules.
While these tools are able to take team collaboration to a new level and help structure the publishing workflow, they do not come for free. Depending on the team size, all-in-one solutions charge from 50 to 1000 dollars per month. The best way to find out if these tools do turn your team into more efficient publishing house is to give them a test-run – fortunately, there’s free trials.