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The UpClose Podcast Series with Dayle Hall, SVP of Marketing at Lithium Technologies continues with episode four. Of the five most influential topics for B2B marketing, so far we’ve discussed influencer marketingdata overload, and digital customer experience.

On episode four, we look at the current state of social engagement by reviewing Lithium’s “The State of Social Engagement Report.” Find out what challenges brands and marketers are facing and learn how you can get more from your digital and social investments.

Insights from The State of Social Engagement Report

Lithium’s ‘State of Social Engagement Report’ analyzed 342 social channels from 70 global brands across eight industries. 2017 is the second year of the report – the latest version compares this year’s data to last year’s to determine whether brands are making headway on social.

Let’s take a look at a few of the most compelling statistics that were uncovered.

  • 98% of brands are still stuck in broadcast mode – They’re focusing largely on push tactics like paid social rather than taking the time to engage, i.e., organic social. In a previous episode, we discussed how digital customer experience is the new battleground, and how companies are competing on experience. Remember that most consumers (75%) expect a response from a brand within one hour.  Tip: Authentic engagement and quick responses help to build and maintain your customers’ loyalty.
  • Only 1% of brands build relationships with influencers – Influencers can be extremely valuable in your marketing strategy and building relationships with them is key. When paired with the right social technology, influencers and customers can help to mitigate the effects of a crisis: brand damage, customer churn, and needless expenses. Tip: Don’t be tone deaf – leverage your influencers. This applies to BOTH B2B and B2C.
  • Brands leverage Facebook (73%) and Twitter (63%) as platforms to engage with customers, but almost entirely ignore other channels like Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube –  Strive to give your customers a consistent experience across all channels along the customer journey, and be sure you’re engaging appropriately. Embrace the chaos, and recognize that your brand is no longer under your sole control. Your customers expect you to respond and engage where they are. Make sure you’re not ignoring that.​ Tip: Pay attention to all digital touchpoints.

Making Real Impact with Social Media

The vast majority of brands struggle to make a real impact with social media. Dayle points out that people often forget that just because your business has a social presence, that doesn’t mean it’s integrated, nor that you are getting maximum ROI.

Palo Alto Networks is a customer of Lithium Technologies which is making an impact through their social media use. Palo Alto Networks is the fastest growing security company in the market, focused on bringing an end to the era of security breaches. They use Lithium Social Media Management for Service as a key listening tool for support and corporate communications teams to surface customer needs, route response requests quickly, and help customers succeed.

Over the past two years since implementing Lithium, Palo Alto Networks has seen significant and direct improvements to their bottom line. Their quarterly support case deflections have increased by 117%, and the value returned to the business (through deflections) has grown by 114%.

The “State of Social Engagement Report” shows that although the number of available marketing technologies continues to grow, we aren’t really moving the needle. Yes, there is some success, but it’s limited to random campaigns or singular channels. Dayle says that social is won at the strategy level, it’s just as important as other marketing initiatives. If social is integrated into your CRM, you can show how the data impacts pipeline. This proof transforms social media into a strategic problem, as well as a benefit that can be leveraged by the brand.

Dayle is known for being a stylish individual, so I asked him what’s in style this season concerning social engagement. He noted that your social engagement strategy needs a scalable platform. If you’re still managing social with basic tools or discount software, in the words of Bon Jovi, you’re “livin’ on a prayer.”

For example, in a crisis, inbound traffic can easily pass 100 times normal levels. And the problem isn’t the crisis itself: the problem is that with your agents buried, your normal customers will also feel the impact in delayed response if your social platform can’t keep up. He predicts that next season’s runway will be influenced by a tighter integration between social and other marketing activities. CEOs will request marketers to project their social engagement dashboard on a monitor around the office.

This Up Close podcast series is sponsored by Lithium Technologies.

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