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What should your social strategy focus on in 2015?

Monday saw the first day of London’s Social Media Week kick off with an insightful and interesting session held at the National Gallery.

One of my favourite topics – social insight – was the first issue up for discussion. It came to light that many of the measures social media marketers use as part of their everyday activity are extremely flawed.

Do you use Twitter analytics as part of your reporting? If so, you need to think carefully about which figures you actually use. Twitter demographics came under fire for being mainly centred on guess work. Only 0.45% of Twitter users share their age but the platform claims to be able to give accurate data on this. In a study from Ogilvy which was focused on just one Twitter account as an example, analytics showed 61% of Twitter followers to be male – however when this was analysed manually, only 33% appeared to fall under this category. Does this come as a surprise? No. But for B2B marketers, how valuable is gender information anyway? Not very, in my opinion. Comparatively however, Facebook has incredibly strong demographic stats.

So in terms of social listening, what should you be looking at? Most of the tools out there separate sentiment into just two categories: positive and negative. However there are so many emotions that can be expressed through social media, that aren’t always easy to classify.

For example, within one Tweet a user could complain about their ecommerce experience but compliment store staff on resolving their issue – where would that message fit in terms of negative or positive sentiment?

Manually interrogating the data is the only real way to be able to report accurately and to give the best view of what is going on in your community. Picking out representative messaging to present may be the best route forward, if accuracy is a sticking point for you. Which of course, it should be!

To overcome these issues, try to measure your stats across tools and in different ways to understand what it all truly means.

The second major topic for exploration was the increasing importance of social influencers within communities. Once upon a time, all companies cared about was getting more reach, more referrals and more followers, no matter who they were. There has been a big shift in the way social media marketers now work, with relevance being key. Who cares if you have 10,000 followers if they aren’t interested in your offering?

Following in-depth analysis, Brandwatch stated that influencers talking about a brand drives more sales than the company itself: a fact that certainly won’t come as news to any PR bods. Third party endorsement has always been far more valuable than self-promotion – hence the need to spend on PR and not just advertising. Regardless, it is important to note that only a fraction of someone’s followers will see each tweet (roughly 2 – 10%) – so on-going endorsement is what you should be aiming for, not a one off mention.

This is where influencers come in.

Instead of paying a celebrity to mention your brand once, creating a strategy for generating and maintaining strong relationships with influencers in your key sector will prove absolutely vital in your on-going success. But don’t send out generic messages – personalised content is crucial!

If you enjoyed this, look out for our next blog on Social Media Week from Nicole Muller.

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