Thursday, October 25th, 2018 | 9 min read
It’s easy to see why social advertising is a sought-after career. CNN Money named it one of the top 50 jobs in America with “big growth, great pay, and satisfying work.” It lets you have your finger on the pulse of an ever-changing, international news cycle. And over 2.6 billion people already use social platforms, with over 1.4 billion of them using Facebook every day.
Still, that doesn’t mean 2.6 billion people are ready to build a career in social media management. Why? Because social advertising is about more than just writing funny messages and posting non-stop. It involves a range of skills that are increasingly critical for building social audiences, engaging customers, and delivering multi-platform experiences.
That’s why we’re outlining three social media management skills you need to stand out from the crowd and land a position as a social advertising guru.
Let’s take a look.
Customers are talking on social media; you just need to be there to listen to them. Social media managers who understand the value of social listening already have a leg up on their competitors.
The challenge is in knowing how to sift through these social conversations and find the ones that are most relevant to your brand. After all, you’re not just looking for people who @-mention your brand. It’s easy to find those by simply looking at your notifications on each platform. Social listening goes beyond that to collect all mentions – positive and negative – and organize them so you can gather insights and respond with helpful messaging.
Here are three core social listening strategies to get you started:
With these tactics at their fingertips, social advertisers can help brands better understand their customers’ needs and interests in real time.
Once you know how to conduct social listening, you can move onto your next skill: Using those audience insights to deliver better customer care and superior customer experiences.
As Bain & Company partner, Katrina Bradley, said, “It is important to understand just ‘listening’ to the voice of the customer is insufficient. It is important to have a systematic approach to understand and learn from the voice of the customer feedback, and then take action to improve.”
The good news for social media managers is that social is the new frontier of customer care. Consider that 80% of consumers use social to engage with brands, customers reach brands across an average of seven social channels, and more than half of customers prefer to receive care over social than via phone and email.
That’s why brands like Nestle, NASDAQ, Santander UK, and Philip Morris International (PMI) are building social customer care operations that meet audiences on their favorite platforms at just the right time.
“Social media has forced us all to think differently about [customer care] because we’ve all seen the incredible returns,” said Pete Blackshaw, Nestlé’s global head of digital and social. “We’ve seen how a little bit of love toward the consumer can amplify your message, lead to a positive review, shape early perceptions about a new product, and impact public discourse about the brand at large.”
For example, after PMI launched its new e-cigarette, customers took to social to ask questions about the product. So the team built a whole new approach to customer care in which they’d proactively listen for social mentions.
“We didn’t want our customers to have to wait on the phone for an hour, so we decided to lean on social as the mechanism for detecting, triaging, and resolving customer care issues,” said Kleigh Heather, director of PMI’s Digital Lab.
With this social customer care program initiated, they were able to resolve issues in an average of 11 minutes.
When it comes to generating social engagement, it’s not enough to just tweet “Thanks!” to a customer and follow them back once in a while. You need to know how to build a community of social advocates who can speak on behalf of your brand and help expand your network. This is especially crucial now that 92% of customers trust peer reviews over advertisements and recent algorithm changes prioritize shares from family and friends over posts from brands and publishers.
Just look at Tesla, one of the most-talked-about car companies in the world. As Mark Organ, founder and CEO of Influitive, said, “Tesla’s market cap is equivalent to nearly all the other car companies combined. Why is that? They are also an advocacy leader. All their marketing is done really through their own customers.”
I'm a little obsessed. I've never had so much fun driving a car! In fact, it doesn't even feel like a car. It's a new, incredible experience that you need try for yourself. You won't want to go back. Thanks @Tesla and @elonmusk for creating the future. #Tesla #Model3 pic.twitter.com/LksrYJCwRd
— Jared Mecham (@jaredmecham) October 3, 2018
The process of building a social advocacy program may seem intimidating, but can be broken down into these key steps:
— Jerilyn E. McConchie (@macnbeans) September 14, 2017
Beyond social advocacy with customers, you can also build an employee advocacy program like Social Enablement Strategist Elizabeth Jurewicz did at Rackspace. She identified socially active people within the company, assembled a core group of 45 brand ambassadors, and created training courses, e-learning documents, and videos to help these employees more effectively spread the brand message. As a result, Rackspace doubled its organic outreach on LinkedIn.
Social media management is an in-demand career at the moment, and as social media is increasingly integrated into our lives, competition is only going to become more fierce.
To stay ahead of the curve, prospective social advertisers don’t just have to know the latest platforms and features. They need to know how to use these tools to deploy social care, social listening, social advocacy, and social engagement strategies that put the customer first and enable brands to grow their audiences. Only then can you differentiate yourself from the billions of others who already know how to use social media and incorporate it into their daily lives.
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