After years of living with social networks, companies continue to make mistakes in their social media marketing strategy

A decade ago, marketers had to be persuaded to pay attention to social media and how it connected to their marketing strategy. Now, everyone seems to be clear and brands are usually present on social networks in one way or another. Social profiles have become a louder speaker than they do and a point of connection with consumers, but are marketers really doing well and understanding what social media means for their business strategy?

This is what a recent study, carried out in collaboration by experts from the University of Vaasa and Cyprus, has suggested. Analysts studied how marketers themselves viewed social media and what they expected of it. Their conclusions allow us to understand what myths continue to exist about social media marketing and where companies’ expectations fail.

Overall, analysts have found that while the idea that social media is important is very popular and widespread, marketers still fail to strategize.

Few companies they analyzed, based on different surveys of marketers and decision makers from various countries, have a clear strategy of “appearance and intervention” on social networks. They do know how to start campaigns, but not how to connect with consumers beyond that.

Social networks, without more, do not add any value to the brand

Although social networks have become a key part of the marketing strategy of companies and have established themselves as the protagonists of a specific and own branch, social media marketing, those responsible for the study have shown that, by themselves, they are worthless.

That is, the presence of brands on social networks and the publication of content on them without more achieve no value for the consumer. Simply by being there is not going to get anything at all. Brands must go one step further and must understand what this type of content means and what they need to do.

And, according to experts, interacting with consumers on social networks does “provide tremendous opportunities to learn more” about it and “opens up new possibilities” about creating products and services. Social networks must behave as a platform for the transformation of the company, as one more resource in this field. It cannot be seen as an echo chamber.

In the conclusions of the study, they make clear that the presence in social networks and the activity of the brands in them must be a constant job and one in which companies are always innovating.

The 4 strategies marketers follow

The researchers not only analyzed what not to do on social networks, but they have also been able to detect recurring patterns in how marketers deal with the social media environment. In general, they have identified four distinctive and clear strategies in the action to be carried out on social networks.

Each of these strategies is a superior element to the previous one, that is, they are stages that follow in maturity in activity on social networks. Of course, for a company to go from one stage to the next, there is no clear and established mechanism for how things should be done. Whether it goes to the next phase depends a lot on the company’s ability to identify the resources that social networks – and the presence of its consumers in it – offer and to allocate capabilities and resources to manage all this.

What are those four stages? Analysts point to the social commerce strategy as the first, followed by the social content strategy, the social monitoring strategy and the social CRM strategy as the end. Integrating social networks and their content with CRM is, therefore, what companies that have managed to advance more in the understanding of social networks and have matured more in their position in them.