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Predictions Series 2019: Penny Wilson Tells Us Why Social Is an Essential Component of the Customer Journey

In 2018, CMOs should have learned the biggest factor driving their content online. The hunger to drive and magnify Social ROI has never been this big. Hence, we bring the first interaction with a CMO from the MarTech community in our widely followed program, The Predictions Series. Ubiquitous with her thoughts and savvy in her outlook, we have Penny Wilson, CMO of Hootsuite, marking the first set of chat sessions on Predictions Series 2019.

Since we last spoke, Hootsuite has announced integrations with some major partners such as Google, Instagram, LinkedIn and Workplace by Facebook.

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How do these integrations impact your customers and what value do they bring to your ecosystem?

Social is an essential component of the customer journey. The new capabilities you mention help our customers scale social efforts across their organizations, maximizing their technology investment.

Our integration with Instagram and Pinterest, for example, underscores the importance of the use of images for engagement; Instagram, in particular, was our largest customer ask. Similarly, we know that employees can be the biggest champions of their company and its products, and the value and importance of employee engagement are critical to brand development. The integration of Workplace and our Amplify solution makes it easier for employees to find and share content in support of their brand.

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What is the importance of a paid vs. organic strategy? And how does that impact business?

Finding sustainable solutions to declining organic reach is consistently one of the biggest challenges facing brand marketers. Organic social media reach has been in decline for some time now, and marketers can no longer rely solely on organic posting to reach their key audiences.

By creating a social strategy that includes both a paid and organic component, enterprises have a much better engagement rate and reach audiences outside of their predisposed brand champions. Social media ads, sponsored content and boosted posts are all good ways to reach your audience.

Paying to promote content that resonates with your target audience will likely gain you new followers, who will be more inclined to engage with your organic content in the future.

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How can companies continue to drive social ROI and show the value of social ROI?

Equipping your organization with the education and tools people need to understand how social drives ROI is critical. To confidently prove the ROI of your social strategy, you also need a definition that fits your organization.

The way you define ROI should directly reflect the organizational objectives you’re using social media to support — customer relationships, brand, leads, sales etc. You need a measurement framework that fits your unique organization and a platform that can help you turn hard data into actionable insights.

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Tell us more about the new Google Ad Integration. How does it help your enterprise customers?

Google Ads is a significant channel for enterprise advertisers and in some cases even surpasses Facebook in ad value. This new integration allows enterprise marketers to combine their search and social advertising strategies in one platform and get a complete view of both search and social advertising, allowing them to create, track and optimize their paid search and social ad campaigns in one easy-to-use solution.

The integration ties directly into Hootsuite ads, a solution that serves enterprise brand marketers and AdEspresso by Hootsuite, our digital ad platform for performance advertisers of small and mid-sized businesses.

What is the value of having search and social advertising in one platform?

Having the ability to have a combined picture of the effectiveness of advertising spend is incredibly valuable. Customers will be able to compare their search and social advertisements and get a much better understanding of what content is resonating on each platform to their customers. Ultimately, this increases ad spend effectiveness, driving down costs and providing better customer insights.

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As we enter 2019, how do you see the social media management market evolving over the next few years? Are there any MarTech trends to watch out for?

I’ll give you three trends that we currently see having a major impact on social:

  • The evolution of social ROI is a big one. Organizations have struggled with it for years. Now, many marketers are finding success by broadening the value of social across the customer lifecycle. We’re finally seeing this long-promised shift as marketers are discovering the value of social in areas across the organization such as mitigating risk, attracting top talent, improving customer relationships and lowering customer service costs.
  • We’re also seeing how customers are consuming more and more video content, driven by mobile usage and the desire for something quick and new. We used to say that ‘brands need to be publishers.’ Now, they’re becoming broadcasters as social TV-style programming takes the spotlight.
  • Finally, there’s no ignoring the looming impact of advances in artificial technology on the Social. The machines may have risen but brands need to make sure Artificial Intelligence strategies stay focused on being human, helpful, and relevant at scale.

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