Marketers know that social media can be an exciting and effective way to reach audiences, but its place in the omnichannel experience is sometimes overlooked—or misunderstood. In The 2019 State of Social Report, published by Netbase, it was reported, “The ‘omnichannel’ approach has led some brands to believe they must be everywhere at all times, but that’s no longer the case – if it ever was.” It later states, “It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you must be on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but that’s not a forgone conclusion for all brands. … It’s far better to excel on a few social networks than to offer a mediocre presence across all—but it’s understandable why brands would entertain that idea.”
It’s understandable because of the $23 billion in social media ad revenues that were recorded in 2018. You see $23 billion and you think, “I need to get in on that!” So, do you? Well, as the report states, the short answer is “yes.” But, it’s more about how you do it than just doing it.
Where to Spend Social Media Dollars
In order to understand where you should spend your social media dollars, you need to first understand your audience. There’s a misconception in social media that more is better—but as the above quote states, that’s not always true. This is similar to other marketing misconceptions of the past, like those about direct mail (where it was reasonably thought once upon a time that the more people you mailed to, the more people would respond).
That may be true on one level, but that tactic doesn’t take cost per acquisition (CPA) into account. Nowadays, we’ve refined testing to better define a target audience so the message goes to those most likely to respond. This tactic applies in social media, too. If your audience is spending most of its time on Twitter, there’s no need to spend your precious marketing budget on Facebook. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
How to Spend Social Media Dollars
The executive summary of Netbase’s report states that “in the past five years, there’s been a shift—one led by consumers, who don’t want social to be marred by a barrage of impersonal promotional posts. They may understand that keeping social networks free for them means welcoming in advertising dollars by brands, but they don’t want to see or feel the evidence of that in their interactions with brands on social.”
In fact, evidence shows that 60% of consumers no longer trust social media companies, which ups the ante here. If consumers don’t want impersonal ads, and don’t trust them, how can brands make an impact?
“[C]onsumers have demanded greater authenticity, personalization, and transparency from brands. … building relationships on social media is exactly what brands need to do to ensure what they do spend on advertising is effective.”
One of the trends the report notes is the value brands are finding in embracing influencers, in part because social consumers tend to trust other consumers more than they trust brands. Building relationships with influencers who have already established a trusted, sought-after relationship with thousands of people in your target audience can only help your brand establish itself as a brand voice versus a branded ad.
The Importance of Social Media in Omnichannel Campaigns
Social media needs to be used with surgical precision—and as with direct mail, it must be delivered to the right audience, with the right message, at the right time. Executing an omnichannel marketing campaign is a great way to achieve that exacting precision. Every detail is thought out—all materials are developed with one look, feel, tone of voice, and audience in mind—and it matches across all channels, which helps the recipient feel the authenticity of the brand, something that is also becoming of major importance in a highly digital world.
Using social media in an omnichannel campaign not only helps with authenticity, it helps with frequency by placing these surgical touches in short succession. In an omnichannel campaign, the entire campaign timeline is worked out as one cohesive unit, and not in a vacuum.
Consumers may see a Facebook ad, then get a direct mail piece, then receive an email—three touches that can happen in a matter of days, all via different channels. The channels reinforce each other, increasing the chances the prospect will respond to one of them. While it may seem like a larger effort up-front than doing separate, uncoordinated campaigns, it will ensure your prospects are able to respond through their preferred channel when they are ready to act.
As marketers, we know it can take many, many attempts before a consumer makes the leap to buy from us. Omnichannel marketing increases the likelihood of a sale sooner by allowing the consumer to interact with our brands across different channels, but with the same overall message. Social media is crucial in omnichannel marketing as it allows for consumers to interact almost instantaneously with companies.
I like to think of omnichannel campaigns as arms working together to create an artful campaign. Think of it like an octopus: he won’t get far if one arm (well, tentacle) is going one way and another a different way. Rather, they work in harmony to accomplish a goal.
While each “arm” of your omnichannel campaign might be doing something different—social media establishing the relationship, direct mail issuing the offer, email enforcing the message with a nudge to follow-up—they are all working toward the same goal. In this way, omnichannel makes marketing more cohesive, compelling, and relevant—and, when all the arms are used correctly, highly successful. If you’d like to be like the harmonious octopus, contact us—we can help make sure all of your arms are working together.
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