Is Your Brand Navigating the Social Stream Blindly?

By: Guest | October 25, 2010 | 

Guest post by Scott Bishop, director of social influence for Bozell.

Is your business out there navigating on the web and the social stream blindly?

Not sure what I mean…ok, do you ever find yourself scrambling to find things to tweet about or post on Facebook that ever receive engagement back? Are your metrics increasing? And for the final gut punch…is your business’s social media activity working? By how much and, if not, by how little?

These questions need definitive answers. See what I mean about navigating blindly.

Don’t panic, if you’re like at least 99 percent of other businesses out there engaging in social media marketing, not only do you not have an answer if your efforts are working, you don’t have the ability to conjure up even an educated guess.

What’s worse, you probably aren’t even sure what “winning” would look like. The sad reality of the digital landscape is that the majority of brands are completely blind when it comes to their marketing on social media. Don’t fall into this trap.

Maybe you’ll luck out like Columbus and hit the promised land by mistake. Most likely, though, navigating blindly will lead your social media marketing efforts to the land of Nobody Cares.

Flying blindly forces you to post random content to a social network you think you need to be on. Flying blindly confuses activity with progress. Flying blindly leads you to follow “social media gurus” who sell you snake oil like your business needs to be in social media because “you can’t afford not to be.” Flying blindly eventually leads management to pull the plug on your social media experiment because it didn’t work.

Brands that navigate blindly think social media is more or less a guessing game, a craps shoot. I assure you, there is little room for guessing. Guessing costs time. Guessing costs resources. And it rarely works.

If this sounds like you, congratulations, admitting you have a problem is the first step. It’s never too late to see the light.

Begin by setting measurable objectives that align with corporate or team goals. Then assign metrics to track progress. These numbers help provide clarity for a thoughtful strategy. A thoughtful strategy will provide answers for what kind of content to produce, what networks it’s most effective on, who it’s targeted for, and how that response is driving corporate marketing objectives.

Social media is just an extension of marketing, and marketing is designed to achieve measurable results. Your navigating may continue to be a little rocky, but by defining a few objectives, at least you know you’re headed in the right direction. Happy sailing.

Scott Bishop likes unicorns and nachos, and he hates social media snake oil. He is the director of social influence for Bozell, where he helps brands succeed on the web. He takes up passion projects via his company, Crave Engine, and helps social media marketers suck less via his blog.

  • Even if you provide relevant content, sometimes it’s hard not to feel like you’re shooting blanks. Tracking progress seems to be the difference-maker. Any suggestions, tools, etc. to properly track and analyze this data?

  • thescottbishop

    @JonHearty Analysis tools depend on what you’re tracking and what your budget is. It’s easy to get lost in the numbers so beware. If you’re just talking about website or blog analytics, I use Clicky and Google Analytics. The real-time capability of Clicky is helpful to determine which networks like Twitter, Facebook, RSS, or LinkedIn are bringing traffic and momentum. Being able to see in real time also helps determine which time of day to post.
    General web analytics from Google, help me to detemine which article topics are sending people to pages that produce leads like “Contact Us”, “click here for a free quote”, etc.
    It’s hard to answer which tools to use without more info…I find that question usually answers itself after you determine what your objectives are and what you’re tracking. Good luck

  • @thescottbishop I haven’t heard of Clicky so I will be sure to check it out. Google Analytics has been a great tool for me, although I seem to be addicted to checking it. Thanks for the help and quick reply!

  • PabloEdwards

    Great question to be asking. There are so many companies just throwing stuff out in Social Media then never even asking how it is recieved. We all need to be more aware of Social Media and how it works.

  • I think part of the problem is that brands don’t know what they want out of it. They expect to join, open a Twitter account, create a Facebook page but don’t know what to do next. And of course, nothing happens and they dismiss social media as being a failure.

  • thescottbishop

    @SandySidhu Yep. There is most commonly a huge disconnect from social media and general marketing. I’m not sure why…but lack of strategy will pretty much predict a lack of success.

  • thescottbishop

    @PabloEdwards I think brands can get away from assuming more = success. If your fans and followers are targeted, you don’t need 20,000 facbook fans. But the lack of strategy and thought behind the activities cause actions to be mistaken for momentum.

  • thescottbishop

    @JonHearty Focus more on outcomes than numbers. If you’re currently getting 10,000 hits / month on your website…will 20,000 bring any more success?Identify what your win looks like, and focus like a laser on that.

  • thescottbishop

    @JonHearty Focus more on outcomes than numbers. If you’re currently getting 10,000 hits / month on your website…will 20,000 bring any more success? Here’s a post that will help explain. . Identify what your win looks like,and focus like a laser on that.

  • @thescottbishop That is very true. And thanks for pointing out that an increase in hits doesn’t mean much if you don’t know what to do with it. That’s not just hits from social media, either, but all traffic. I’ve been navigating blindly, but I think this is the light! Thanks!