Think Structure for Success: Digital Marketing in 2018

The beginning of the year is the perfect time to step back and assess the tactics and strategies deployed in your digital marketing programs. When reviewing end of year reports from 2017, look beyond the numbers that parrot percent increases and decreases from the previous year. Truly drill down on what’s working and what isn’t, so you can develop a lean process that eliminates strategies that miss their mark. According to Lisa Murton Beets of the Content Marketing Institute, “Process is key.” Evaluate what you can change to improve your process. In short: just because a certain tactic worked in 2016 and 2017, doesn’t mean it’s going to be the best path forward in 2018.

Just because a certain marketing tactic worked in 2016 and 2017, doesn’t mean it’s going to be the best path forward in 2018. Click To Tweet

A thread we’ve identified with some of our enterprise-level clients is a siloed approach to their digital marketing programs. They’re organizing content marketing, social marketing, and influencer marketing in a manner that allows little to no overlap. A minor restructuring of your internal workflows and creative processes is low hanging fruit that requires minimal budget allocation.

Social is often seen as the “end of the road” for content and influencer marketing. Campaigns and activities are developed in small, isolated groups, then punted to the social team for promotion. This approach doesn’t fully leverage cross-team expertise and can sometimes mean that the customer experience is disjointed and piecemeal. At Social Tribe, we are making the case for fully integrated digital marketing ecosystems, where content, social, and influencer programs collaborate closely to create a better user experience. Let’s dive down into what that looks like on a more granular level.

Content + Social

Content is expensive, and generating a consistent stream of content costs brands a lot of time, money, and energy. Then why is so much of it so… bad?

Teams can oftentimes get tunnel vision, fixating on what they want to say and how to present their marketing messages. In doing so, they lose sight of what their audiences want and need. Specifically, they miss their customers’ pain points, and how these individuals prefer to consume content (hint: it’s not reading white papers).

“What does our audience need from us? What will they value? How can we improve their lives?” —Ann Handley

Root your content marketing strategy in informed social listening reports to understand what your audience cares about most. Focus on those topics to add value and grab their attention. Once your messaging strategy is solid, collaborate with the social team to understand which content formats are getting the most engagement and attention on social channels. Sharable graphics? Animated Gifs? Interactive case studies? Video? It’s a thousand percent more effective to spend your time on developing one or two highly valuable assets that can be shared over a long period of time than a slew of long form thought leadership content.

Influencer + Social

There is no question that there is a tremendous amount of value in leveraging high visibility individuals as brand advocates. Influencer marketing is so commonplace that it’s practically de rigueur in order to “keep up with the Joneses.” However, many still define influencers as celebrity personas who cost thousands—sometimes tens and hundreds of thousands—to engage with. Therefore, you’ve got to break the bank to move forward and therefore can only engage with them sparingly for high-profile events and campaigns, right?

Not quite. In 2018, influencer programs are becoming far more complex and multifaceted, and the big opportunity is to identify on-brand influencers of all levels, including micro influencers (yes, that’s a thing!). Integrate them consistently into your always-on social media program over the course of the whole year, not just for priority events. Put your social and influencer teams in the same room to design a program that allows you to reap the credibility and visibility that comes from influencer power 365 days a year.

Put your social & influencer teams in the same room to design a program that allows you to reap the credibility that comes from influencer power 365 days a year. Click To Tweet

Content + Influencers

If you started with the “Social + Content” section, you’ve already done the work to identify what your audience finds valuable and what kinds of content they like to engage with. Enter your influencers. Remember that influencer partnerships are a two-way street, and you’ll want to collaborate closely with them to understand what kind of content their audiences prefer as well. The overlap between content and influencers is where you’ll find your roadmap for socially optimized, customer-centric, influencer-approved content that will blow minds and open hearts (and hopefully pocketbooks).

Tying it All Together

 

Build bridges and close cross-program collaboration—create an audience-driven process—and your organization will best be able to take advantage of the depth of expertise across teams for the benefit of your customers.

Build bridges and close cross-program collaboration—create an audience-driven process—and your org will be able to take advantage of the expertise across teams for the benefit of your customers. Click To Tweet

And remember, an integrated approach to digital marketing is key to moving your organization forward! Here’s to success in 2018 and beyond.