Have you seen the glut of predictions on how to become a social CEO?
Here’s the best catchphrase I came across while reviewing 399 “bold” prophecies on 43 Google pages. “In 2018, we’ll see Actual Intelligence, not Artificial Intelligence – enabled by analytics and automation – take the place of guesswork.” ~ Mike Marcellin, Juniper Networks
Members of the C-Suite who took the laggard position to explore how social grows business will appreciate this type of knowledge, as well. They like to know how their marketers cope with Facebook’s 100,000 individual weights before approving advertising plans.
This late majority tends to make their move after the pioneers get through first steps in their respective and disrupted industry; it’s a safer strategy.
Although early adopters do gain an early advantage, the laggards also win by holding onto assets for when forerunners complete their tests and trials.
I started writing in 2014 about the need for CEOs and the C-Suite to engage digital marketing before they lost traction to their competitors.
Most held back because of using their trusted methods for sales and marketing compared to the risk of trying something culturally new. Olivier Taupin – one of the top 10 most connected professionals in the world – and I also wrote about the Social CEO in 2015. We looked at social media leadership in Build to Grow – 14 Thought Leaders Deliver Engagement Strategies to Grow Your Company.
Here’s what we said in this best-selling book on Amazon: “…Your competitors use social tools to learn everything possible about your enterprise (13%); seek insights from third-party influencers (40%), and track crisis situations (44%) through evidence-based research. It’s for these reasons that we encourage you to place social media on the priorities agenda—fast.”
Tim Collins of Grisdale Advisors chimed in this year: “66% [of CEOs] say they use social media to drive business and build their digital brand. 40% who already use social media professionally expect to use it more in 2018, and 62% of those who don’t, want to.”
It appears that all styles of business leadership now are signing on with social enterprise.
Here are five more overriding insights that emerged during my review.
1. Influencer marketing
This is not new; indeed, it’s a strategy that’s always been employed – even before social. However, it’s becoming more thoughtful when applied to the digital world.
You will need to set clear objectives: understand the rationale of who makes up influencers in your industry and how to build solid relationships with them.
What’s different this year is the recognized advantage of micro influencers over macro influencers with a million+ followers. Micro influencers with 1,000 to 999,999 followings often engage more with their communities rather than simply broadcast to them.
Micro influencers also are more affordable when establishing partnerships. They can bring a high ROI for brands since 82% of consumers follow recommendations made by a micro-influencer (Source Expert City).
2. The love affair with video for the Social CEO
Despite the growing status, you still need to know if anyone’s watching those videos. It’s the same question with visits to your websites.
My soap box here is that company leaders invest a great deal of time and money into their websites – yet, they regularly ignore the next important step: marketing their website. Just think about your work of art and purpose languishing among the over 1 billion websites in existence today because you’re not promoting it to your identified prospects.
Back to video. Who’s watching them? What do visitors do after they’ve watched them? Do you have a call-to-action imbedded with the video? Where do your videos go?
Facebook’s current algorithm of pushing live videos to the top of the Newsfeed is also a bonus for brands to continue going live.
3. Free reach on Facebook is gone
This only took about 10 years from when we, as publishers in print and electronic media, watched the networks give free space to anyone who wanted to post…well, anything, in the start-up networks.
Last Fall, Facebook rolled out a new “Explore Feed,” a kind of second-class stream just for company updates. Testing has already begun in some countries to banish all company social posts from the all important (and increasingly crowded) News Feed over to Explore. The thing to remember? Facebook built the most precise ad targeting filters ever. The tools truly are impressive.
4. Beware the shiny object syndrome
We’ve been saying this for years: it’s not possible to scale your social equity using a one-by-one growth strategy. While it’s important to experiment with new technology (like augmented reality or live streaming), it’s equally important to know when to take a pass.
5. Arrival of the chatbot
Chatbots are computer programs that mimic conversation with people using artificial intelligence. They can transform the way you interact with your company from a series of popular questions and answers.
It’s easy to see the appeal of chatbots. People see something on Facebook, they search for the brand’s page in-app — and if they want to find out more, they can ask the brand thru chat. Brands can address simple queries and concerns.
In addition, social media is very time consuming. You will want to combine greater automation with some strategic thinking.
6. Ephemeral content: read Instagram and Snapchat
Ephemeral content (lifespan of a day) has now become one of the hottest marketing buzzwords.
It has also become a great way for brands to stir excitement for coming releases and events, while also providing authenticity by providing a behind-the-scenes look to their customers. It’s also easy to repurpose existing content assets.
Two More of My Favourite Authors on Content Marketing for the Social CEO
Neil Patel – Just writing blog posts and publishing them is no longer going to work. There is lots of mistrust (on the Internet), most of it justified. This is because the entry cost is negligible, and even zero. People with no stakes at all can set up a business and start hoodwinking gullible customers.
This is why people trust opinions of people they know. A Facebook recommendation may be far better than an advertisement for your brand.
Ian Cleary – Focus on email, paid advertising, and partnerships. “We will need to reach out and find the audience for our content as opposed to them finding us.”
And finally. Be as realistic as possible. Consider the resources you have available: the time, the staff, the investment to do the job properly. Ensure that everyone on your team understands your mission and your expectations for realistic results.