In the ever-evolving world of digital marketing, maintaining a consistent and authentic brand voice across all channels is no easy feat. To assist in this uphill battle, marketers look to marketing automation software to manage and measure their campaign platforms more quickly and efficiently. As more brands seek automation software to manage their digital marketing campaigns, they remain wary in applying this new technology to their social media streams.
According to a new report from Software Advice, more companies are seeking out marketing automation to assist in their digital campaigns, particularly for content management (74 percent), email marketing (55 percent), and lead tracking (43 percent). Interestingly, only four percent reported wanting to invest in new software for social media automation. This statistic could suggest that either a) brands are satisfied of their current software, and are already taking a more holistic approach with their social media marketing strategies, or b) that companies are fearful to adopt social media automation, an unsurprising reality given some recent viral media blunders.
“Asking for social media marketing, specifically, might be taking a step back from where they currently are in their thinking,” said Angela Hausman, owner of marketing agency Hausman and Associates, in a recent interview with Adweek. “There’s been an awful lot written about the negatives of social media marketing, and some famous social media ‘fails’ [have] made some companies look insensitive. Companies grew fearful of social media automation.”
When social marketing automation goes wrong
While social marketing automation tools like HubSpot and HootSuite allow brands to schedule their posts across a variety of social media platforms simultaneously, marketers must consider their own reputation over convenience. Last November, the New England Patriots encouraged fans to retweet a post in their celebration of becoming the first NFL team to hit the 1 million mark on Twitter. Each fan who retweeted the message received an automated tweet with his or her Twitter handle on a jersey. One fan tricked the automatic robot to tweet out a jersey with the copy, “I hate Ni*****.” The racial slur was up for more than an hour before the Patriots sent an official apology.
This is not the only instance of brands missing the mark due to faulty content marketing automation. In 2013, in the midst of possible military action in Syria, Kenneth Cole tweeted “Boots on the ground” or not, let’s not forget about sandals, pumps and loafers.” In another instance, during the 2013 celebration of National Guacamole Day, Seamless tweeted a photo of guacamole and chips with the copy, “IMPORTANT: Today is National Guacamole Day. Nothing else matters.” This tweet was posted after breaking news of the mass shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.
Seamless and Kenneth Cole’s automated tweets were seen as insensitive due to newsworthy events that occurred at the time of the publicized posts. Like Coke, a personalized touch could have spared these brands from public outcry and embarrassment.
Personalized content creates brand loyalty
Boosting brand awareness and loyalty depends on how well you connect with your audience through open and authentic communication channels. In an Inc. article, Jim Belosic, CEO and co-founder of ShortStack, lists four recommendations for social media success.
- Meeting your customers on their preferred social channels.
Establish an active and robust presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram where you can interact with your customers by answering their questions and concerns about products, assisting their customer service needs, and listening to their experiences.
- Social media is part of an overall marketing strategy.
While social media is a game-changing for your marketing strategy, don’t ignore other channels such as direct mail and TV advertisements. Instead, integrate social media into your brand’s macro-marketing strategy and make sure your message is consistent among all multichannel campaigns.
- Relate to your audience.
Rather than bombard your followers with robotic announcements about products and services, publish tweets, pins and updates that are light-hearted and conversational. Establish a deep connection with customers by sharing your brand’s values and culture.
- Be creative and funky.
In order to create your brand identity through social media, refrain from promoting straight advertisements, and post images of creative uses of your products and services. Turn your attention to your customers and ask them directly about their customer experiences with your products and services.
While you can measure your social media ROI manually through a variety of metrics, including the number of followers, page views, and engagement rate, don’t place too much energy on the numbers game. The most important takeaway is to apply a personal touch in your social media engagement to increase customer loyalty.