With all the advertising dollars spent on direct mail, telemarketing, trade shows and pay-per-click, social media produces double the marketing leads and maintains a higher conversion rate than the average lead conversion.
For internet users, social media is the fulcrum that turns fans into customers. In fact, approximately 46% of internet users rely on social media when making a purchase decision and 71% of active social media users say they are more likely to purchase from a brand they follow online.
The social media ecosystem is flourishing with the rapid and continuing emergence of innovative technologies and capabilities, giving organisations the ability to capitalize on the benefits of social media.
I’ve spent a lot of time talking to multi-unit and multi-brand organisations that are aware of the benefits social media, and, while the social media ecosystem has evolved, a number of common pain points have prevented these same organisations from fully mobilising their social media strategy.
These include: how to best coordinate and manage their brand presence across the number of social platforms; how to manage these platforms across their organisational structure; and how to align social media management to their existing operations, risk and brand management frameworks and marketing and communication approval processes, in place across their structure.
The good news is that inside the expansive social media ecosystem, there are solutions available to help organisations improve how they manage their social media. In order to effectively and efficiently maintain an organisation’s social media presence, particularly when it spans multiple units and regions, or has multiple brands under one roof, seamless integration into existing operations and coordination is king.
Available social media management solutions, as with any enterprise system, do vary in their capabilities, features and functionalities. While most solutions enable businesses to improve how they engage their communities across multiple social media platforms and offer basic user permissions, not all available solutions can be scaled and aligned to organisational operations to deliver enterprise-grade user controls and efficiencies expected of an enterprise system.
To effectively navigate the social media ecosystem and select the right management solution for your business, give consideration to your structure, brand management and operational controls and processes already in place, and then consider the system capabilities and features required to source a social media management solution which is aligned to your specific operational needs.
Brand management and risk management
Organisations have significantly invested in protecting their brand and mitigating risks across their operations and traditional marketing, through the implementation of processes, tools and staff education programs. With the arrival of social media and the large number of independent social platforms now available to engage with customers, it can be challenging to control brand integrity across a multi-unit, multinational or multi-brand social media presence at a head office level without compromising local engagement. So the question is, how do you efficiently and effectively reel it in?
By selecting a solution which:
- Offers scalability and the ability to align social media management to your operations.
- Includes features to enable you to bring all of your social media accounts across your entire organisation under the one roof, while enabling continued local engagement and development of localised content.
- Supports local marketing with national impact, and national marketing with local impact.
- Gives you the ability to systematically and consistently share media assets across your internal network.
- Allows you to centrally update content across multiple social media platforms – at the same time.
- Supports instant engagement across multiple platforms – at the same time.
- Enables granular and tight user management controls at a head office, region, team and individual user level.
Customer engagement and conversion
Organisations recognise the benefit of community engagement and the power of influence via social media. The opportunity to attract followers, cultivate and convert them to customers and increase revenue is the ultimate aim.
So while social media makes good business sense, the challenge of converting customers is typically managed by driving social media traffic to the web to close the deal. What’s great about social media, particularly Facebook, is that with the help of the right social media management solution, a brand can now customise their Facebook pages to reflect the same look and feel as their web, and provide another channel for customers to transact with their business — with the inclusion of multiple tabs, shopping carts, coupons, competitions or pay-per-view videos, to drive conversion and growth.
Social media is indeed a powerful marketplace and the social media ecosystem has evolved significantly to now offer a broad selection of tools to help organisations leverage social media with greater control and ease. When selecting a social media solution and vendor, be sure to apply the same level of rigor and consideration as you would any corporate enterprise system.
Give consideration to your organisational structure and user management requirements to determine which solution is right for your business. Make sure the system is scalable, and has tangible functions and features that support customer conversion.
Anthony Owen is the founder and president of Manalto Inc, which provides innovative enterprise-grade social media ERP software solutions giving organisations the ability to manage social media and align operations and core marketing activity.