This article was originally published in Localogy.
This year, 37% of local channel partners ranked social media as their top priority for 2022, and 68% view social as an effective marketing tactic. But only 62% of partners said they actually used organic social media this past year, and only 46% used paid social media. If they’re so confident that social is an effective marketing tactic, why does actual usage remain low?
There are two main reasons actual social media usage remains so low among partners who believe in its effectiveness: Channel partners lack confidence in executing effectively on social media, and channel marketing programs do not provide the content and guidance for their partners to execute.
Social media has remained the top marketing budget priority for the past three years. While social advertising is a top priority for partners, only 42% of channel marketing programs support social media in even limited ways. More concerning is the fact that more than a quarter of the partners we surveyed weren’t sure which digital tactics were included in their channel marketing programs. Channel partners prioritize social because they view it as effective, but partners’ confidence in social media only matters if they have the higher-level support and guidance to use social media effectively.
This is a huge missed opportunity. Social media can’t influence the customer journey if partners don’t have the time or content to use. Education and support can fix this.
As users of social media, we all effortlessly scroll through news feeds, liking posts and sharing content. When a local partner decides to use social media as a marketing strategy, familiar platforms can become intimidating. Partners lack confidence using social media as a marketing tactic to support their business. In fact, 50% or more indicated a lack of confidence in every major area of social media management.
In the areas where partners have the least amount of confidence, such as content planning and development, there is an opportunity for brands to extend their messaging into local communities while helping their partners execute. Creating and scheduling the posting of relevant, high quality, social media content on a regular cadence is labor intensive. Few partners have the time, resources, or skills required. Brands can show their commitment to the tactic and to their partners by providing social media content and the tools needed to manage their presence on social media.
As brands look to expand their digital offerings or prioritize marketing execution efforts, partners can provide insights into their local needs and the effectiveness of tactics. Although partners may not be marketing experts, the places they invest their own marketing budgets, and the ways they view those activities’ effectiveness, should inform channel marketing programs. For this year’s State of Local Marketing Assessment, we asked partners which tactics they use to promote their business and how they would rate the effectiveness of those tactics. With social media being a top priority for three consecutive years, brands should take note and provide support in the form of software, services, funds, and content to encourage proper execution.
SVP of Channel Marketing Strategy at BrandMucsle