Why Research Is Key to Improving Your Social Media Marketing

Marji J. Sherman, Social Media Strategist at Kohler, joins the Social Pros Podcast this week to discuss starting a serious social media program at a major company, using analytics to adjust her marketing strategy, and how her background in consumer research has helped her social media career.

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Full Episode Details

A New Perspective

Marji Sherman joined Kohler last year as their first hired social media expert. This allowed her to come in to a clean slate that she could configure how she saw fit, but it also meant winning the hearts and minds of her colleagues. “Social media is very visible to everyone within the company,” Marji points out. “Every step I took, I’d have somebody telling me whether that was right or wrong.”

Social Pros Marji J. Sherman

Marji Sherman uses yoga to decompress after a long day of social media work.

Her first task was to create structure, which has gotten the entire organization more integrated into the social workflow. A team of art directors and writers help Marji with the content and some of the strategy.

Marji’s background in market and consumer research allowed her to bring a new perspective on social. When she started at Kohler, she started with research. “All of these things that people were saying were working, once I actually looked at the research, actually were not producing results.”

Creating Authentic Relationships

An area for growth that Marji noticed in this research was in creating authentic social relationships: both between Kohler and designers and, then, between Kohler and tradespeople. “I noticed we had a lot of plumbers and tradespeople sharing our content on Facebook,” and even though Kohler mostly sells to suppliers, rather than selling directly to consumers, Marji knew that she needed those people to feel connected to the brand, too.

She started tweaking the content she was releasing so that tradespeople could share it with their followers, and it would make sense to their audience. At the same time, she was asking designers to share photos of their work incorporating Kohler products. “We have two different channels going, but it has been working fairly well for us.”

Holy Social!

Earlier this month, Acura debuted a new kind of Twitter lead generation card that allowed users to configure their own new 2015 Acura TLX within the tweet. No need to leave Twitter or visit their website: simply click through the tweet to select model, drivetrain, and color.

Closing the loop with a one-click response straight from the platform is a great option for brands. Even without buying advertising for the tweet, brands can make a Twitter card with customized calls to action. And for now, these tweets can break through the noise and the “banner blindness” simply by virtue of being different.

Social Media Number of the Week: 412,000

The seasonally adjusted home sale rate is a strong indicator of economic health, and it’s a good way to measure the economy over time. For July of 2014, the seasonally adjusted annual rate was 412,000. At the height of home sales in July 2005, that number was 1.38 million. “When we’re talking marketing,” Jeff says, “we tend to fixate on our ability to move the needle, but often there are forces far beyond our control.”

There are, of course, industries that operate within their own sub-economies, but it’s important to keep an eye on the big picture. For example, millennials are delaying large purchases likes homes and cars, and it’s having an effect far beyond just the home-buying and car-manufacturing businesses. When looking at social media numbers, sometimes measuring other factors is critical.

See you next week!