As a public relations student, I hear constantly about using social media for outreach. Professors lecture on nearly a daily basis about finding an audience and generating messages that resonates with them. But it often feels like a crapshoot, choosing the right content with a vague goal of “going viral” to measure success. Even when you get lucky and hit the jackpot (a few million shares or a thousand clicks, or whatever your metric of choice is), most marketing and PR departments face the scrutiny of the bottom line—how do those metrics generate revenue? And yet, even as far back as 2014, almost nine out of every ten companies reported using social media for marketing. In 2017, social media advertising was a $32 billion business. Clearly companies see the value in this platform. But in the era of data-driven campaigns and maximizing efficiency within marketing and PR departments, how can brands use existing data from their CDPs to succeed in social media campaigns?
This depends largely on how companies choose to use social media. A few things make social media distinct from other types of advertising. Content posted directly to social media accounts costs virtually nothing to produce. But these posts are pushed out to everyone, not a segment of a CDP, and to garner impressions and generate revenue the content must be liked, shared, and clicked widely. This is the meritocracy of the Internet, where content on social media sites must be interesting and engaging in order to succeed.
Customer data, combined with carefully tracking social media KPIs, can help marketers understand what kinds of content they should be producing for these channels. Understanding who your customers are and what engages them from data already in your CDP helps you produce content geared towards the populations you care most closely about; tracking the performance of your posts in real-time helps you figure out what, in practice, resonates best with your target audiences and more general audiences, at large. You can also use these data to examine other factors that affect the success of a post, such as when it’s launched, how long it is, etc.
Most social media sites allow you to promote posts and target seamlessly embedded advertisements towards segmented audiences in their databases. Companies like Facebook will not sell you the customer information directly, but they will take your specifications and find the right audience members to target. But even hyper-specific, targeted campaigns in social media can be hindered by gut feelings and best guesses. How do you know what populations actually care most about your content? Once again, the answer falls to a combination of data you already have on your customers from your CDP, and carefully measuring who interacts with your paid posts, and in what ways.
Corporate social media use is projected only to continue to grow in the coming years. With a near-constant stream of new information flooding our news feeds, making sure content is interesting and engaging to the audience members who are most likely to generate revenue for your company is the key to success in this fight for customer attention.
Josh Fayer manages Marketing Communications at Zylotech, where he brings an extensive background in public relations and computer science. Josh Loves music! He sings with an a cappella group, Orange Appeal, (whose recent album Unpeeled he shamelessly plugs at work), and at home he loves to mess around with a variety of instruments. Josh enjoys spending quality time with his adorable dog, and exploring around his new home near the South Shore of Boston.
If you liked this post, check out our other blog post on how to simplify personalized marketing.