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Facebook is only nine years old, and Twitter is around seven, but the time for social media to grow up has come.

With most businesses having some time, and in many cases, entire teams dedicated to social media strategy, campaigning and communication, one question that many businesses and clients of marketing firms and agencies are asking is: are we really benefiting from this?

In order to make sure the answer is yes, you need to be putting social at the heart of your strategy.

Global marketing information company Warc released a report this year analyzing changing trends in social media. Entitled Seriously Social, it concludes that social media use had grown at a pace that had outstripped any moments to pause and reflect to what tangible impact social media could actually have.

As such there’s now a knowledge deficit that needs filling and this is what we’ll be seeing over the next few years. But it goes further than this – it’s also putting the ‘social’ aspect back into social media. The internet is saturated with different voices competing for attention, trying to make sure that their voices are loudest, but few stop to check they are actually saying anything of worth that will eventually convert into clicks through their website or sales.

The big luminous shiny glow once surrounding the ideas of ‘online engagement’, ‘impressions’ and ‘likes’ has waned when it comes to buzz they once generated, or the value attributed to them as a valid metric.  These ideas are a little last season.

The internet has created a generation of marketers who have become lazily wedded to fads and trends that dictate their strategies and plans to foster real connections with their target audience: the belief that some empty, soulless ‘great content’ or simply posting a status on a Facebook account with x amount of likes will generate some sort of viral revolution is wrong. With so much meaningless white noise out there (and its growing by the second, like putrid fungus), it’s the task of anyone engaged in social marketing to work smarter to make the data they collate work.

Here’s how to do it:

Invest in the right tech

Socially Integrated CRM enables businesses to analyse the conversations and interests of current customers, as well as prospecting for new customers. It may sound like legitimized stalking or a marketing strategy that coming from an agency headed by characters of the Matrix, but it’s the twenty first century, smart data driven marketing is allowed.


For people who work in communications most of us marketers are incredibly socially challenged. We tend to say a lot, loudly and about not very much at all. Listening ( and thinking) before you tweet or post means you can check you are saying something people actually care about, especially because you can observe the conversations that are popular or already taking place that you can capitalize on to generate talk about your products.

By doing the above, you can actually achieve some meaningful engagement, showing customers that you really care. If not, then you end up with the kind of bloodbath that UK energy company British Gas had on their hands recently when – in the same week as raising their prices to astronomical heights – they decided to allow the public to ask them questions on Twitter. Applause.

Act on real time feedback

The ability to monitor in real time the engagement you have with customer – you can see quickly what works, what doesn’t, and take action on ideas, recommendations, and opportunities generated by customers in social networks.

This article was written by Tej Adeleye.

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