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Not doubt every marketer knows that in today’s world the customer is fully enabled. Armed with digital, social, mobile and new media tools, your customers can easily fully mitigate your brand messages. They are fully exploring “trust” as a core part of engagement and as a marketer you must be focused on providing clear messages at exactly the right time and place.

Alignment is Key. This is why it is critical to really drill down on just how this power shift is shaking out marketing budgets and influencing a company’s need for paid, owned, and earned media engagement efforts. Is your 2015 spending aligned correctly? Do you really know how to tie social media across your earned, paid and owned digital media efforts to accelerate your impact and deliver results? How can you optimize?

Here are 3 key questions to help you decide:

What are the most important platforms for brands?
What is the most efficient method?
How can you engage more effectively?

Believe it or not, the social scene changes frequently— and this is true for the social media ecosystem. Real-time and content marketing is now more sophisticated and portable. In 2015 social is the key hub for shaping customer experiences. Social connects the Zero Moment of Truth and the Ultimate Moment of Truth.

Find the right Platform. So let’s talk about social platforms— first the bottom feeders. I say that in the most positive fashion but hey Google+ has not been a seller performer. Traffic has been going down and it is unclear what the SEO benefits are in using Google+. Instagram traffic is building, it has amazing engagement, But there is no linking. Vine has been building traffic, strong integration with Twitter and very brand friendly. Going mobile with Snapchat is a new way to explore storytelling that puts the narrative first— making this a very high user engagement platform but the jury is still out if brands are welcome. Snapchat has a tight integration with tumbler’s micro blogging platform.

The top performers on social are (of course) Facebook with growing mobile, video, top referral traffic, top social login and a top shopping influence. Number 2 is Pinterest for referral traffic, unique audience appeal. Twitter is growing but it is unclear what product direction/monetization they are taking. Of course LinkedIn is tops for B2B and drives social visits to corporate websites. All of these are key platforms for branding. And there are others emerging that I will cover in another post.

Content is King. What’s the most efficient method? That answer is simple— content marketing. However, doing it isn’t simple. First you need a content marketing strategy which apparently many marketers have skipped this step. According to MarketingProfs in 2015 less than 30% have a documented content strategy which explains who, what, how and where of their social media efforts. Don’t skip that step. Also, organizationally marketing is all over the board— organizational silo’s are alive and healthy which isn’t helping marketers manage more effectively. Altimeter has been studying this and suggest that the most effective organization is a cross-functional team sitting in a centralized position to engage various business units.

Mobile is Required. Tactical integration is mobile, you must be where your audience lives. That is how you can engage most efficiently and you have to use paid media in combination with other tactics, Forrester is all over this so check out the spending forecast 2014-2019. I will say that influencers are a critical component. You also must pay attention to local— 70% of consumers will choose a local business if that business is active and has information available on social media sites. Effective B2C tactics include videos and multi-media, social content, newsletters, articles on landing pages, photos, blogs and events.