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In Social Media, the Only Guarantee is Change

Authors: Jess Ostroff Jess Ostroff
Posted Under: Social Media
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social-pros-iconThe Social Pros Podcast brings together great minds in social media every week to learn about their successes and struggles. July brought us guests from research IT company Forrester; Expion, the content marketing experts and Social Pros sponsors; the Beancast marketing podcast; and financial services company Discover.

July’s theme amongst the pros seemed to be change. The only thing we can count on in social media is that everything will change: new platforms will emerge, new mistakes will be made, and new heroes of the moment will arise. Whether these pros focus on mobile, on content marketing, or on social customer service, they are all tackling changes head on and ready to respond to (and even anticipate) the new directions the wind will take them.

Read on for the highlights, and learn how these social pros are handling the constant changes in social media.

Forrester Researcher, Josh Bernoff

Why Mobile Moments Are Mandatory for Every BusinessJosh has a really interesting take on the interplay between mobile websites and mobile apps. Since he is the expert on mobile technology and the mobile behavior of consumers, I’m inclined to believe him.

Mobile websites are necessary, Josh says. With half of today’s web traffic coming in from mobile devices, having a mobile-optimized website is a pre-requisite for being a modern business.

Mobile apps, though, should serve a different purpose.

An app delivers youtility to current and prospective customers without actually forcing them to buy a product or service. For example, Columbia has an app that tells you what knot to use when, and how to tie it. Columbia customers are outdoorsy and might want to use their phones for this information when they don’t have reliable internet access, so Columbia delivers that to them.

“It’s going to be a lot more expensive and difficult to create a sophisticated app, so that’s not worth doing unless you think you can take those people visiting your site and convert them into people who come back regularly over and over again.”

In other words, spending all that money to create an app that people will only use once or twice isn’t worth the investment. Instead, social pros need to carefully consider what app their customers will need and be able to use over and over again. By focusing on what youtility you can deliver to your customers, you’re creating a great mobile app and giving your customers the impetus to share their great “mobile moment” you’ve inspired.

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Expion Director of Client Strategy, Nick Cicero

Social Pros with Nick CiceroHe’s usually one of our hosts, but this month Nick Cicero took the hot seat on Social Pros to share his own wisdom with us based on his experiences as Director of Client Strategy at Expion and as editor for SocialFresh.

Nick loves using his superhuman talent for marketing to help his clients strategize for their brand. He frequently helps clients not just with using Expion’s software but also with other day-to-day problems.

Problem-solving in general, and marketing in particular, is all about the people. In his business, for example, it’s essential for his clients to feel comfortable with him because technology is constantly evolving. He, and the other familiar faces at Expion, are the constants for the clients in the always-changing digital landscape.

Nick’s advice to the budding social pro is to always work harder. Sure, you should be a team player, but it’s essential that you don’t expect anyone else to do your work for you. “You must go out and do it for yourself,” he says. To compete as a social professional, you have to be working harder than everyone else.

He also points out that one of the benefits of small businesses, as opposed to larger brands, is the fact that they can be nimble. Being a big company can’t stop you from being quick on your feet. That doesn’t just mean writing a witty tweet; it also means being willing to change up your entire digital marketing strategy if that’s what’s best for your brand. The digital marketing climate, and the tools we use to interact with it, are always changing. Being ready to respond at a moment’s notice gives you an extra leg up.

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Beancast Host, Bob Knorpp

Social Pros with Bob KnorppIf you think podcasting is dead or dying, then Beancast host Bob Knorpp has some news for you: it just might be the most underrated content marketing strategy.

Podcasting isn’t a magic potion, of course, that will solve all your content marketing problems. But in concert with a solid Twitter presence, Facebook presence, email marketing campaigns, etc, a podcast is a great way to deliver excellent content to your followers on a regular basis.

One of the most surprising things he pointed out was that podcasts should not be short. A 3-5 minute show may be audio content, but it’s not a podcast. Podcast listeners are invested in your weekly show, and they’re looking for content that goes in depth. People who tell you to make your show shorter than 40-60 minutes don’t understand podcasts. And, in Bob’s experience, they’ll come around after just a few shows.

Bob knows that the Beancast is valuable to his listeners because it is valuable to him. By bringing on the best guests he can find every week, he creates a valuable resource that helps him keep his finger on the pulse of modern marketing.

Don’t start a podcast, though, if you can’t sustain it. In social media, as in all business, it’s essential to play to your strengths. Bob recommends that you start in an area where you can be consistent: a blog post every Tuesday or a video podcast twice a week. Your audience is committed to you, so commit yourself back to them. Work your way up to the content calendar you dream of, rather than burning yourself out getting it “right” the first month or two.

With that consistency comes a steady audience who knows to trust you for great content, and you can build from there.

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Read the full show highlights here:

Discover Director of Digital Customer Experience, Dan Gingiss

Social Pros with Dan GingissDan Gingiss‘ customer service team may be cross-trained now to use social media, Click-to-Chat, and email, but originally they were just phone representatives.

He credits the success of his team in social customer service to the fact that they started out with a culture of great customer service before social media came into play. With that strong foundation, all Dan has had to do as new technologies emerge is provide his team with the training to redirect their great customer service skills.

And to measure success, Dan is no longer counting followers. Instead, he’s carefully analyzing customer behavior at a deeper level. Is following Discover on social media encouraging customers to use their cards more? Does it help inform them about different offers and benefits that they then take advantage of?

By focusing on providing excellent customer service and only concerning themselves with quality when it comes to content, Dan’s team’s average social media inquiry response time is down to 19 minutes.

Social is not as different from other channels as it might seem, Dan says. You can’t be great at social media marketing without a strong foundation in marketing. His advice is to get the basics down first before playing with all the new technologies. The technology changes, but the fundamental principles don’t.

Undoubtedly the standards for excellence in social customer service will keep changing as customers’ expectations are raised and other brands rise to meet the challenge. It sounds like Dan and his team will be ready for those changes when they come.

Click the play button to listen here:

Read the full show highlights here:

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