With an ever-evolving landscape, marketing leaders are once again being asked to revisit their social media marketing strategies.

It should come as no surprise that social marketing will continue to be a critical element of strategies in 2023, supporting the entire customer journey with social advertising as the top allocated budget for digital channels. The latest Gartner CMO Spend survey showed that CMOs spend roughly 10% of their budget on social advertising, making it the largest spend category in a list of multiple paid channels that marketers divvy their budget across.

The Case for Social Marketing Management Platforms

At the base of any good social media strategy are the management tools that allow these marketing leaders to monitor, publish and engage across platforms. The return is the ability for digital marketing leaders to grab customers’ attention, garner their interest, convert that interest into sales and foster a community of brand advocates.

Marketers recognize they should continue to invest in social marketing management (SMM) platforms as a core component of their martech stacks, as this will allow for brands to connect with customers in real time via data across channels and initiatives. To this point, 60% of marketing leaders report they prefer an integrated suite approach to select technology today. However, as marketing leaders become responsible for an ever-growing amount of social media solutions, they must also prove the cost-efficiencies in their technology investments.

With this in mind, below outlines how digital marketing teams can determine the worth of a SMM platform when choosing between several options.

Does Your Social Marketing Tool Play Well With Others?

Social marketing needs to work across the enterprise, not just for marketing purposes. This means finding success and growth through shared insights and social data’s ability to support interactions across channels. They must emphasize how social data can be combined with other customer insights to prove its worth across the enterprise, allowing them to better:

  • Empower multichannel marketing and customer experience programs.
  • Help customer service teams become more efficient in social care and insightful through application of social data to customer records.
  • Support HR teams in communicating the employee value proposition and the use of social platforms to attract talent.
  • Understand customer expectations of brands related to diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.
  • Grow direct-to-consumer revenue streams and provide digital commerce teams with user-generated content.

Related Article: What's the Best B2B Social Media Marketing Strategy for Your Brand?

Social Marketing Analytics and Attribution

Although digital marketing leaders believe social marketing to be highly effective, the pressure to demonstrate the business impact of social will continue from a staffing, media and technology investment perspective.

Learning Opportunities

Social marketing is notoriously difficult to tie to traditional success metrics, such as sales conversions and ROI, and there’s no “one size fits all” measurement approach to social platforms. The introduction of social commerce capabilities can help here. Still, marketing leaders struggle to consistently measure across different competitive social platforms and to connect social analytics to insights from other marketing channels. Organizational walls between paid and organic media, goal misalignment and interdependence exacerbate these challenges.

Providers in this market support most social marketing use cases (e.g., monitoring, publishing and engagement) but for the most part do not extend into other channel execution activities (e.g., email marketing or web analytics). In addition to the core capabilities, look for the following offerings to prove value in social media management platform investments:

  • Social Advertising: Support for social advertising through performance-based campaigns or paid amplification of organic posts.
  • Audience Engagement and Customer Care: The ability to collect, consolidate, disseminate, respond, escalate and track 1:1 conversations with audience members, including customer service interactions via platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
  • Measurement and Analytics: Performance tracking of campaigns, supporting the evaluation of campaign impact or programs based on social platform-provided reach and engagement data and assessment of the engagement with social marketing efforts. Includes the ability to analyze campaigns and content across social platforms side by side.
  • Integrations: Data integration of transactional or some third-party data feeds for use in more targeted customer interactions and more robust predictive modeling.

Related Article: 3 Free Certifications That Help Social Media Marketers Earn a Better Salary

The Path to Social Marketing ROI

How can digital marketing leaders take meaningful next steps to implementing an SMM that will provide a ROI? Start by:

  • Determining what existing tools are available in the organization (such as a communications team using a PR monitoring tool, or a customer service team using a social customer care tool) before an RFP, as well as determining whether those existing partnerships can support expanded use cases.
  • Working with their IT department to determine where the SMM platform needs to integrate with other enterprise systems, such as CMS or CRM platforms.
  • Focusing on their business objectives across the organization by asking vendors how their unique capabilities and experience can help them reach their goals, rather than a feature-by-feature comparison, which is unlikely to reveal much differentiation.
  • Making sure team members who will be using the tools on a daily basis are comfortable with the platforms’ UX through demonstrations and client reference checks. While few of these vendors provide sandbox environments to test their platforms prior to purchase, usability is a critical element of success.

If marketers keep the above suggestions in mind, they will find an adequate fit that not only helps them, but their entire organization as they move ahead in 2023.

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