If your social media marketing is lacking engagement, click traffic and growth, you may need a spark of innovation to get back on track. With so many social accounts and business pages on social media, many are left feeling it is just incredibly difficult to break through the noise. The fact is that it isn’t difficult to get noticed and drive results if you are being innovative.
Innovative social media marketing comes in many forms, but generally involves doing something new or different. It will often push the envelope of what your competition is doing, using more unique and high-end content or tactics that set your brand apart from others. Marketers that can think and execute outside of the box and see beyond what others are currently doing to discover opportunities to improve, tend to innovate and succeed more frequently than those that can’t.
What Innovation Means:
To be clear, innovation doesn’t necessarily mean inventing something, or creating something brand new. It could be as simple as implementing different ideas, modifying existing ones or improving on what you are currently doing. When marketers have a focus on being innovative and put resources toward being dynamic in what they are doing in social media, it becomes easier to adapt, lead and grow within your market. When it comes to social media marketing, the brands that are the most effective are continually learning, adapting, changing and improving. That’s where innovation comes from.
While researching for this post, I came across the following explanation of innovation as defined by The Centre Business Innovation of Canada. It is so well written that I want you to take a moment to read it a few times while considering your current social media marketing effort.
“The Conference Board defines innovation as the process through which economic and social value is extracted from knowledge through the generation, development, and implementation of ideas to produce new or improved strategies, capabilities, products, services, or processes.”
It is important to understand that it is impossible to be innovative with giving proper focus, time and resources to becoming so. As you read the above definition again, think about your perspective and current customers, and how your social media is missing on these elements.
Though there is not a study that details the most innovative countries using social media marketing, in the 2014 World Intellectual Property report “Global Innovation Index 2014 – The Human Factor in Innovation” explores the role of the individuals and teams behind the innovation process. It includes different aspects of human capital required to achieve innovation, including skilled labor and more. The GII also ranks the innovation performance of more than 140 countries and economies around the world. The ranking is based on 81 indicators. The USA ranked number 6. Not a great showing.
Three Ways To Innovate Your Social Media
1) Evaluate – The first step to becoming innovative with your social media is evaluation. You need to further analyze your current social effort, your market, the needs of your customers and what your competitors are currently doing. Analysis of these areas must take into consideration opportunities to further satisfy the expectations of the customers. When evaluating, continually ask yourself these questions;
- What subject matter gets my target audience to engage, respond or take action?
- What content types (articles, graphics, video) do they engage with most?
- What does our competitor do that is innovative?
- What is happening in the market that affects my target audience?
Example of an opportunity to innovate within your social media marketing: by 2017, 90% of all web traffic is expected to be video. (Cisco)
During the evaluation phase you will want to take a lot of notes, review a ton of analytics and do a considerable amount of web research. Look for the opportunities to be unique, change and make considerable improvements that will be dynamic and impact your audience in new ways.
2) Empathize – Stop looking at your social media from a sales and marketing perspective and begin to view it from the perspective of your customer and the challenges, issues and emotional desires they have as human beings. Put yourself in your audiences shoes to better understand the impression your current social media efforts are making on them. Consider every curated post, blog article and other media you create as if YOU were your target market.
To take it even further, I suggest that you conduct some online surveys with your current customers, employees and even some prospects that you have no relationship with. Ask important questions like;
- When you’re online, what are the topics that get your interest?
- What are the 5 things in life that drive you?
- What are the top 5 challenges you face in business and personally?
- What are the top major brands you connect and engage with and why?
- What are the top local brands you connect and engage with and why?
Your goal is to better understand your audience, which will establish new ideas for improving your content, processes, products and services. When you care to understand your audience at a deep level, you automatically build empathy with them. When you empathize with your target customer, your social media marketing will reflect it and generate innovative ways of attracting and engaging with them.
3) Execute – In the final step to making your social media marketing more innovative, you are going to need to create new and more efficient work processes. If you have completed the previous steps properly, you will likely need to be creating a lot more content, posting more frequently and increasing your other social activities as well. In order to execute these new innovative solutions and expand your opportunities within the social graph, you are going to have to improve your productivity as well as performance.
In order to make the necessary efficiency improvements, you are likely going to need to take one or several of the following actions.
- Re-evaluate your current social tools to ensure they are going to meet your new productivity requirements.
- Identify the required functions of your new innovation plan that is not in your skill set, and obtain the resources to outsource to professionals. (examples: graphics or video creation)
- Create a new strategy and tactic road map that includes all daily, weekly and monthly required activities. This should include frequency, topics and tone/voice.
It is important to note that innovation must be scalable, economical and must satisfy the specific needs of your connections, your business and your bottom line. Be sure you are applying data and actionable information as your formulate your plan, while including imagination and creativity that makes what you’re doing valuable and unique. The goal is not to just be unique, but to achieve greater value from your efforts for both yourself and your connections.