The struggles faced by social media brand managers are typically tallied up as “part of the job” and ignored. These professionals will get it done or burn out trying, and risk being replaced in the meantime, often due to circumstances beyond their control. This part is not discussed openly. Well – not until now. Thanks, Ryan Reynolds – or the brand manager who wrote this! (see below)
In a post that has kicked up the dust on LinkedIn and Twitter, Ryan Reynolds’ account attracted a good bit of conversation that is continuing two weeks after it went live.
What’s the big deal about this post? The fact that it resonates with so many readers is telling. And it does so because, in this age of oodles of consumer and market intelligence available to brands, many of them are still flying blind – and placing brand managers in the pilot seat. It gets worse. These companies then blame these poor souls when their brand marketing efforts inevitably crash and burn. And as we can see below, part of it can be attributed to a generational disconnect:
But the trouble goes deeper than that. Beyond a disconnect about what social media brand managers need to succeed, a couple of additional misconceptions were brought to light in the comments that ensued.
We’ll explore a few verbatims here to dig into the top two disconnects (beyond that age gap). And we’ll also share ways to bridge this divide, assuming your brand is on the wrong side of it all.
Disconnect #1: Anyone Can “Do” Marketing
This is an interesting disconnect that happens often in a variety of professions, but is readily seen in marketing departments. Colleagues mistake expertise for ease and assume that the latest campaign consists of “playing on social media” and little else. And any social media marketer cringes at the suggestion, as it’s so off-base that it’s hard to know where to begin when answering it:
But we’ll give it a try!
Before a campaign is conceived, there are many consumer and market research steps that need to be taken to form a foundation for the work. Marketers need to understand so many things at once, including:
- Who the target audience is and how their mindset has shifted in the past few months, weeks, or days, depending on current events. And that “who” part isn’t a persona – it’s a full psychographic snapshot that includes ages, interests, professions and so much more about these consumers.
- What are competitors doing and what is and isn’t working for them? And are there category disruptors on the horizon – and what are they offering?
- Who are the category influencers and Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs)? Who can the brand partner with – and who is partnering with competitors?
- What are hot topics or sensitive areas to avoid? And what concerns must be acknowledged before their absence becomes a problem, with your brand appearing to not care or just not understand its audience?
- How are consumers talking and how can/should you adopt any of that language to stay relevant?
- Where on the social web are your target consumers interacting? How are they interacting there – and how can your brand engage with them on each? Nothing is simple.
And that’s just a quick list of things to consider before boiling things down to a workable campaign – one that has to be put into action quickly, as this intel has a short shelf life!
Disconnect #2: Social Media Managers’ Intel Only Applies to Marketing
Social media managers have access to intel that applies to the entire company. This intel, consumer and market intelligence analyzed using AI-powered research, is the undefeated silo-smashing champion once activated. The trouble is, many companies aren’t taking advantage of everything it – and their social media managers – have to offer. Instead, these team members do not often feel seen, nor heard, and this needs to change.
Social media analytics are powerful – and they should inform every aspect of your organization. When strategic decision-making is not data-driven, it’s dangerous, as it’s either based on assumptions or wishful thinking that may not have a firm grasp on reality. And they certainly won’t reflect a nuanced, consumer-centered understanding, as they should. And this lack of data-driven business intelligence will not help a brand spot emerging ideas first in a given category. It won’t help with a lot of things, but let’s see what it can do . . .
How to Bridge the Social Media Intelligence Gap
The many things we detailed above, that social media managers need to consider ahead of a campaign, are all made possible with advanced AI-powered analytics.
Making the world make sense is a big job. It’s one that requires consolidating multiple data sources into one business intelligence tool where brands can view their entire online (and offline) world in one place. It’s the gold star of consumer and market understanding. And it brings brands beyond knowing what is happening in their category to specifics, at scale. It means having a dual notion of overarching market movements, and also a firm grasp of unmet needs building momentum with your widget consumers in Alaska.
All things are possible with the right AI-powered analytics – and social media managers know this. Are you listening? Some are. There were a good number of colleagues sharing kudos for their oft-maligned social media coworkers as well, which was great to see.
At the end of the day, keeping social media managers accountable makes sense, but only when they’re armed with the latest social media analytics tools to inform their work. If your brand is ready to lean into data-driven intel, we’re here to help! Reach out for a demo today!