StrataBlue’s Director of Sales, Josh Pyne, has a digital-media sales and account executive background, which includes having created strategic, omni-channel programs for some of the most prominent brands and largest advertisers in the world. I sat down with him to ask him about his experience customizing digital and mobile marketing campaigns to address key business objectives. Here below are highlights from our question and answer session.
1) What is the most common pain point small-to-medium sized business marketers struggle with when contemplating social and digital media marketing initiatives?
JP: Most businesses, or brands, are a bit overwhelmed by where to begin. There is a lot of industry talk around social media, various strategies, tactics and focus points to get the most return, but many businesses haven’t even covered the basics. The importance of having a branded profile that reflects the messaging and relevancy of the business to the social user is paramount. Taking the first step to build a cohesive social media presence can be a large undertaking for the typical brand. At StrataBlue, we take the burden of the social media setup off the plate of the already over-extended brand marketer. We help establish the brand’s social voice and produce the visual branding and content to address key business goals, such as raising brand awareness, driving website traffic, or increasing lead generation and sales.
2) What are some of the common misconceptions that small-to-medium sized businesses face when they decide to handle their own social media and community management?
JP: By far the greatest misconception is the amount of time it takes not only to proactively post content multiple times per day across multiple social media channels, but the investment in time to actively respond to the community and consumers’ questions and needs. The days of calling an 800 number with customer service needs and questions are fading. In the digital age, the consumer’s expectation is for near real-time responsiveness from brands and businesses wherever the consumer decides to engage. Our internal team of expert community managers and account strategists are immersed in our client’s brand and have the available resources to monitor brand mentions and help respond to customer questions and needs as quickly as possible.
3) Assuming a brand does establish a strong social media presence and has found the resources to stay active across its social channels, what type of content do they need to be creating and sharing?
JP: Content creation can be daunting, especially if the brand is as active on as many different platforms as they should be. Not only is staying relevant and timely a major factor, the different social networks require different types of content. For example, the type of content that drives the best engagement and associated performance on Facebook is not the same as what will fit the LinkedIn or the Pinterest audience. It is important to keep in mind the audience as well as the medium when creating content for social media. Twitter may be a great platform for engaging in real time and having a two-way conversation with a customer based on some short form content, whereas espousing core competencies and sharing a well-researched whitepaper on a specific industry issues may be a better fit for LinkedIn. The key is understanding the difference in the content needed, leveraging multiple networks for distribution, and being able to cohesively tie it all together for a holistic digital presence. This converged approach is one area that sets StrataBlue apart from most traditional agencies.
4) So all that being said, how do small-to-medium sized business marketers know when they should take the plunge and add the latest and greatest social network to their arsenal of marketing platforms? Do they need to have a presence on all of them?
JP: With the growth in social media popularity and user engagement (not to mention $22B acquisitions like WhatsApp) new properties are going to continue to materialize. Having the expertise and understanding to know which ones to take on (like video platform Vine) or perhaps those the majority of brands should stay away from (like Snapchat) is not only important to the brand image and digital persona but also to the expenditure of limited resources to maintain the growing number of options.
5) This all makes sense, but most businesses and brands require that a solid return on investment be demonstrated before they decide to invest in marketing activities. How can something that seems as nebulous as Social Media Marketing be shown to drive measurable results?
JP: That is THE question. When social media marketing is executed and optimized correctly, the gains in performance are certainly measurable and can be shown to drive any number of key objectives. The crucial element to any marketing strategy is having a cohesive, comprehensive approach; this is especially true in the digital marketing realm. It’s a must for a brand to have a strong destination to drive potential customers to, and this extends beyond the website and/or having a presentable brick and mortar location. In fact, the digital presence of a business will be often be visible to many more potential customers… It will be more scrutinized, engaged with, and commented on more than other brand elements. Today’s consumers are trained to research and evaluate businesses online well before stopping at a location or calling a phone number.
According to a multi-channel shopping survey by Price Waterhouse and Coopers (PwC), “More than 80% of all respondents conduct online research before they buy electronics, computers, books, music, and movies.” Furthermore, “88% percent of US respondents said that they research a product online via their PC before buying.” Aside from the consumer behavior aspect, social media marketing offers tracking and concrete metrics on everything from engagement and website traffic all the way through to purchases and brand evangelism.
So now the real question is: does the person or team researching, developing and optimizing the social media marketing campaigns have the expertise, experience and holistic view of the digital eco-system to properly and effectively target and engage potential customers? For most brands, the potential loss of business and negative impact to the brand aren’t worth the risk of putting such crucial elements of success in the hands of anyone less than experts in the field. This is where the collective 40+ years of digital marketing experience and proven performance of the StrataBlue team come into play, allowing us to truly become an extension of most any businesses’ marketing team.