Ep 25: Serious Social – Where should boardrooms and marketing directors invest their precious social media budget?

Too many businesses start their social media marketing journey with a pre-conceived idea of the number of posts they need, the frequency with which they need to appear, and don’t know what the best way to spend their social budget is. You need experienced heads who have a proven track record of creating go-to-market and go-to-business strategies in social media.

In our latest Serious Social podcast, IF Managing Director, Colin Jacobs reveals where your paid media budget should be placed to secure sustained and incremental social impact.


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Full Transcript

Welcome to the Serious Social podcast, created by the straight-talking social media experts at immediate future.

In this episode, we’re talking data. Associate Director Belle Lawrence is joined by Managing Director Colin Jacobs as they discuss the data you should be collecting from social media and how to utilise it within your marketing mix.

Hello, I am CJ, Managing Director at Immediate Future, and I am here to talk to you about where should you be investing your very precious social media budget.

It is a common question put to us whenever businesses are looking to explore how they can evolve their content and benefit from the significant opportunities social media presents. Specifically, the question comes from boardrooms and marketing directors, typically, people that want to understand whether what they are doing is as good as it can be, or whether there are better ways of doing things.

So, if you are one of the individuals that wants to assess your approach and how you are spending budget right now this video is for you, and to be fair it is a valid question as organisations sort of vie with the challenge of understanding where they prioritise precious resource and budget; content creation, copywriting are two of the more obvious elements – but what about community management? How do you balance organic creation with paid media deployment? Should you just create one lot of content and boost it with paid media? Or do you create bespoke for both? How should reporting be handled and with what frequency? What should be parked with our agencies versus what should be covered in-house?

There are many questions, and honestly, there are varying answers dependent upon your business’s resources. The specifics of what services and solutions you receive from your social media agency should always be bespoke to your setup, resources, capability, content creation engine, the smarts that you have in-house if anyone is claiming to be able to package services for you without doing a deep dive into your business and industry, then a key step is wrongly being shortcut and you will feel the effects of that in time. Too many businesses have spent precious budget on the wrong solutions and then they find themselves having to make unwanted and tough decisions around supplier changes while solutions differ.

The process and steps that you need to go through do not.

Step one: strategy, and no this is not just a few hundred or even a few thousand-pound activity; there are many community managers out there who claim to do strategy for just a couple hundred quid. But ask them the difference between a content strategy and a channel strategy or what a content tilt is and from some you start to get woolly answers.

You need experienced heads who have a proven track record of creating go to market and go to business strategies, and within social media. You also need data access. You need a partner or resource that has access to an array of data and social listening tools to map the social conversations and human behaviours relevant to your business and industry. This will expose the noise out there. For example, too many B2Bs just broadcast ads, sales ads. They get carried away with the proliferation of adverts for products, the listening data will expose the content that does not resonate with audiences – you will see it is just the noise. That content you are going to avoid as it does not cut through. The data will also if assessed correctly by experienced heads, start to expose conversations and keywords relevant to your brand that are not owned. The collective data helps to direct where creative leap should occur determining where we invest time ideating and deciding what to produce.

I must say, genuinely, I am somewhat dumbing down the process and impact of data and social listening as we run the risk of imparting all of our precious intellectual property to our rivals. The point though, really important, you need access to data and business smarts and lots of them. Then, we start to assess your business and its core strengths so that we can exploit the many opportunities we have surfaced from the data analysis. Through the strategic development process, we will start to unearth answers to many of the questions framed at the top of this video. We will start to see evidential data detailing where your audience is, the channels they are using the content type they react positively and negatively to. We will start to see impact trends. This is typically avoiding salesy content, but we will be able to open your eyes to the impact and opportunity of specific content types and purposes.

This takes us to tonality, which informs copy, tone and thematics. Once pulled together, we will be able to map back to your business what your content tilt is and why it is important. We will define how your content is going to attack category with the ultimate aim of not just competing but owning areas of social for your brand. We will know the what the hell, the where and the when of how your social media should be built. To this, we add our creativity and innovation that speaks specifically to exploiting the defined opportunities surfaced. Then, in discussion with you and understanding the resources you have, we can start to address how best to spend your precious budget.

Now, for some clients, that is strategy, creative production, copywriting, building of posting plans and paid media management on reporting. That would fill in the resource gaps that they have got. The client then schedules the organic content and manages the community management in-house. Other clients opt for strategy, creative production, paid media deployment and reporting. They are equipped with the resources that can produce the required copy for post schedule and deployment and manage the community management. Other clients differ too, but they all start with and include strategy.

There is a statement, there is a bit of a cliche in the agency world, but it is one we truly live by and you can ask any of our clients and I am confident they will confirm to you that we do this – it is our job to become an extension of your team and win you time back to focus on the tasks that you want to be doing. By mapping the strategic opportunity and then aligning it to the business capability and need, you ensure you are buying the services needed rather than services that then leave you with headcount twiddling their thumbs. This approach is key when businesses are working on leaner budgets. Spend where you really need services rather than buying in something of everything and watering downtime and subsequent impact. The same can also be said of creative production. Too many businesses start their journey with a preconceived idea — the number of posts that they need and the frequency with which they need to appear. Too many companies think volume of content will yield impressions. Whilst true, if you are going to dump a load of paid media across all of those posts, you are far better off focusing on quality, not quantity. For example, why spend money creating 40 flat visuals to a company post if it’s motion-based assets that resonate with your audience. You are far better off focusing on half a dozen high quality, high impact GIFs than 40 flat visuals. Quality over quantity every day of the week. Spend your precious budget on creating high-quality social assets and scale from there once budgets evolve. The impact you have on your audience and the evidential data you will receive to help take your board on a journey, your boardroom on a journey, will be far more favourable I promise.

Going back to the very question I framed at the start: where should your business be focusing its precious budget? On strategy first. That is step one. End. Define a bespoke and fit for purpose plan that will see you truly invest where you need it, to secure sustained and incremental social media impact. Your business, it’s content and subsequent rewards will thrive as a result.

As always, if you have any questions about this, because I am mindful nine, ten minutes is not much time to get through all this. If you have got any questions or queries then do not hesitate to contact me cj@immediatefuture.co.uk or @colinjacobs on twitter.

Thanks for watching. Bye!

If you’re after more know-how to break the social boring, subscribe now and check out the show notes for links to our website and social profiles.

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