Social media hit all-time highs in the CMO budget this year.
In fact, according to The CMO Survey, spending on social media marketing soared 74% to 23% of the marketing budget, and marketers expect spending to stay close to this new high level as the new year begins.
With fewer events, tighter budgets, and changing customer demand, CMOs are relying on their social media programs to deliver more than ever. But is your social strategy up to the task?
Our report on Social Trends in 2021 – based on a survey of over 11,100 marketers and in-depth interviews with top experts from agencies, brands, and social platforms – revealed strategies and tactics that set top social organizations apart.
Here are 5 questions to see how your approach compares.
Download the full report on social trends To get an in-depth analysis of the data, you need to inform your social strategy in 2021.
1. Do you use social media to restore lost customer experiences?
With increasing pressure to regain the revenue lost after the pandemic, it is no surprise that in our social trends survey this year, marketers ranked customer acquisition as their number one social goal.
However, it's interesting to note what's further down the list. Only 23% of respondents named "improving the customer experience" as their number one goal, despite the pandemic completely uprooting so many of the experiences brands relied on to differentiate and drive growth.
How do B2B organizations connect their sales team to potential customers without events and conferences? How do retail brands drive additional sales without in-store displays that trigger discovery and impulse buys?
Companies need to adjust their online presence to fill the gap. The problem is that online experiences tend to be very transaction and task oriented. Click on this ad. Buy this product. Fill out this form. This tactic should complement, not completely replace, personal experience. And transactions alone don't create memorable brands, increase loyalty, or drive long-term growth.
While the move to quick customer acquisition through short term tactics is understandable (and in some cases very necessary), CMOs need to build for the future. Forrester predicts that loyalty and retention marketing spending will increase by 30% in 2021 as CMOs take control of the entire customer lifecycle.
Social media is all about discovery, connection and fun. Leading companies are leveraging live streaming, short videos, social commerce capabilities, and peer-to-peer selling to reinvent the customer experience with social media at the fore. These innovative experiences help companies increase ROI, increase loyalty, and stand out in a growing sea of online advertisers trying to win wallets in a retreating economy.
2. Do you draw customer intelligence from social listening?
Marketers have long turned to social listening to monitor keywords, keep track of sentiment, and find ways to include their brands in trending conversations. However, the crises of 2020 demonstrated the importance of using social listening as an intelligence tool to give businesses the real-time information they need to be agile and adaptable in a warp-speed world.
66% of marketers say social listening has grown in value to their organization in the past 12 months.
Source: Hootsuite 2021 Social Trends Survey
Brands that regularly collect information from social listening can quickly modify their offerings to adapt them to changing customer needs. At the start of the pandemic, one of our clients, Clarins – a French luxury skin care, cosmetics and perfume company – analyzed customer conversations with Brandwatch, Hootsuite's social listening partner, and found that the previously planned campaigns would miss the mark.
Interest in makeup quickly waned, but the findings opened up a new opportunity: people were more focused on their self-care routines during the lockdown. Based on trending conversations on search and social channels, the team worked with Hootsuite to develop a social advertising strategy. Given the growing economic uncertainty among consumers, the team decided to focus on highlighting offerings on existing skin care offerings that would appeal to cash-strapped customers.
The strategy was a complete success. Social ads quickly became a top media investment for the Clarins brand. By the end of the quarter, social ads were driving 30,000 website visits, with cost per click and click-through rate significantly outperforming benchmarks.
3. Are you ignoring baby boomers in your digital marketing?
Last year was a turning point for baby boomers on the internet. The increase in the age of social media, digital video, games, and mobile payments has led to new forms of digital literacy and habits that are meant to outlast the pandemic.
70% of internet users aged 55 to 64 have bought something online in the past month.
Source: Hootsuite and We Are Social, Digital 2020
While traditional television advertising is still one of the most effective ways to reach this demographic, cable cutting hit all-time highs in 2020. In fact, eMarketer predicts that households without cable will have more households than households with cable by 2024.
According to GlobalWebIndex, the number of baby boomers discovering new brands and products through social media through social media has increased 66 points in the past four years, and more than a quarter of baby boomers are giving up due to the pandemic. While Facebook remains the key to reaching this demographic, boomers are also turning to newer platforms. The hashtag # over50 on TikTok exploded in 2020 as boomers brought their unique voices to the cultural conversation, resulting in nearly 800 million views (and counts).
Marketers who diversify how to reach this increasingly digitally savvy and lucrative demographic may overtake other organizations that are still blinded by ageism and stereotypes, but smart segmentation is key. Rather than targeting baby boomers by age only, target them by passions and hobbies, and you are more likely to attract cross-generational audiences, which can lead to new sales opportunities.
4. Are you embedding social data with the rest of your company?
Our data shows that businesses of all sizes have increased confidence in their ability to accurately quantify the ROI of social media. In fact, there is a similar curve between SMBs, Midsize Businesses and Corporations – the majority are somewhat confident about quantifying the ROI, around 20% are very confident, and the top 10% are extremely confident.
According to the CMO survey, social media's contribution to business performance rose 24% from February to June this year, reflecting the first big increase in the history of the survey.
But how do organizations actually measure this impact?
- Good: The average organization only uses native platform data collected from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. According to our survey on social trends, 62% of companies measure their social performance this way.
- Better: More mature companies use third-party tools to incorporate social data into web analytics.
- The best: The pioneers have a holistic view and integrate social data in the web, CRM and other business systems. This data integration leads to the highest level of confidence in the social ROI.
Data integration leads to a higher level of confidence in the ROI of social media as marketers get a clearer view of who they talk to on social media and how that top-line engagement pays off. According to our survey, 85% of companies that integrate social data with other systems are confident that they can quantify the ROI from social media.
One of these organizations is our customer, the Pierre & Vacances Center Parcs Group. With more than 275 holiday destinations, the group is a leader in the highly competitive European tourism sector and has a loyal community of highly committed fans on social media. To build on the value of these relationships, the group has set itself the goal of developing a strategy that creates a more nuanced understanding of customers at every stage of their journey, leading to new insights and opportunities to be more effective before, during, and during customers to get in touch with customers after their stay.
They decided to merge the social media team with the CRM department of the sales department to better integrate social media into their overall business strategy and develop its strength as a channel for customer acquisition and retention. By sharing tools and data between social media and CRM, both groups were able to gain better insight into customer touchpoints and create new business opportunities on their journey.
The Parcs Group at the Pierre & Vacances Center has achieved measurable and impressive business results. The 150% year-over-year increase in web traffic on social networks has generated more than 62,000 leads. The lead quality from social media was just as impressive: the conversion rates were four times higher than those of external captures.
5. Are you driving brand purpose out of the boardroom or dropping it to the front of social networks?
The shift towards purpose-oriented, socially responsible capitalism, which began well before 2020, was certainly accelerated by the events of the past year. However, this cannot be faked or simply copied on social media – and this is where many brands stumbled upon in 2020.
The (understandable) desire to respond to public pressure and participate in important cultural conversations manifested itself in jerky reactions, many of which were quickly described as hypocritical. These efforts proved particularly inadequate in the context of brands like Patagonia or Ben & Jerrys, who have been doing this work for decades and have the track record to prove it.
Unless CMOs actively work towards creating a truly purpose-driven organization, they cannot expect their marketing and social teams to create the veneer of purpose on social media.
More than ever, CMOs need to be the voice of the customer in the C-suite, helping other leaders feel the power of these cultural and customer changes that frontline social teams experience every day.
Professor Scott Galloway recently spoke at the Festival of Marketing urging CMOs to become Chief Intelligence Officers. He stressed that CMOs typically disappear within two years if they don't establish their credibility right away. "The CMOs who are thriving and possibly becoming the next CEO say," I am your link to the market. "
Strong CMOs will use the information gathered from social media teams to help the company adapt to new buyer beliefs, new trading methods, and guide the company on a new growth path where the two demands of a better business and a better business must be reconciled world.
How mature is your organization on social media?
Hootsuite's Social Maturity Assessment is a benchmark of 1,000+ business organizations in 12 industries and covers all aspects of using social networks to create business value, including attribution practices, using social data in mapping customer journeys, and integrating social data into CRM Systems. Employee representation, paid media and influencer strategies, and employee training programs.
Start here to make a social maturity assessment of your own organization.
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