Marketer's Important Objectives for Social Media in 2011

Marketer's Important Objectives for Social Media in 2011

MarketingSherpa has posted an interesting chart derived from a survey of 3,300 marketers asked to indicate their most important social media marketing objectives they hope to achieve in 2011.

The question was: What are the most important objectives for your organization’s social marketing program to achieve in 2011?

Increasing website traffic via social media integration was number one at 56%, followed by improving brand awareness or reputation at 51%. Also top of mind at 51%, was the desire to develop an effective and methodical social marketing strategy.

Achieving measurable ROI from social was most important to half of those surveyed, while converting social media members, followers and the like to paying customers was the primary to 45%. Achieving or increasing measurable lead generation from social marketing came in at 40%.

Why is it that only half of those surveyed thought that achieving a measurable ROI from social media was important? Is this because the newness of social media hasn’t worn off quite yet and we don’t have a good grasp on how to do this? As Christopher Donald of Inbox Group pointed out to me: Would email marketing be all that if we only expected it to create brand awareness and influence reputation? Shouldn’t more marketers be concerned about this and pushing to see the same ROI measurability as email marketing?

The survey results had more than one surprise to offer. For example, only 20% of those surveyed thought that integrating social with CRM and other marketing solutions was a priority. Also, a paltry 12% thought it was most important to recruit departmental staff to perform social marketing activities.

Something else which really got my attention, no place in this chart (perhaps it comes up elsewhere in the chart source: MarketingSherpa 2011 Social Media Marketing Benchmark Report) did I see anything about developing a robust internal social media policy. Isn’t this the first step to developing any kind of social media success?

OK, we all jumped into social and started running, but that shouldn’t stop us from taking stock of where we are internally and developing a sound foundation for success in social media with solid internal policies and social oriented cultures.

If we want to be effective in any of these initiatives, shouldn’t we have robust social media policies in place as a foundation to build up from? If we don’t know what we expect from all our employees (and what they can expect) when it comes to social media, then it seems to me we are putting the cart before the horse.

A healthy and productive social media strategy really needs to be the out facing of a healthy and productive internal policy which supports not just objectives, but a social oriented culture where the focus is on the consumer being the centre of your universe.

I suppose you could say that this isn’t something for marketers to be dealing with, but I would disagree. First, the two most active departments in social media for many (if not all) corporations are marketing and customer service. Second, both these departments are primary customer contact points for an organization. So, how robust and healthy your internal social media policies are will affect how well your customers are served by it.

If your staff knows exactly what is expected of them and what they can expect from social media, then they’ll be confident in their dealings with your customers online. If you have a social oriented culture which puts the emphasis on information sharing, accessibility and empowers every employee to be a customer advocate and problem solver, your customers will be much happier and you’ll gain new ones from the power of social and word-of-mouth.

If you don’t have an internal policy in place for social media then it should be one of your priorities. Evaluate what you’ve accomplished with social and what you think you can do over the next year, but more importantly, take stock of your corporate culture and ask some hard questions about it.

Clear policies are always important to avoid potential disasters. This is especially true if those policies affect communications/relations with customers. You owe it to your staff and to your customers because if you just let the bulls run loose, it’s a good bet that at some point, one of them is going to break some very expensive china.