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You’re skeptical, I get it. You don’t think social media really works, and it hasn’t worked for your business at all. You set up a Twitter account a year ago, you log in to it about twice a week, you have about 200 followers, and you still haven’t seen any leads or website hits come out of it.
But, here’s the thing, it only works if you put the work in.
Many businesses sink when it comes to social media success because they jump in feet first and create a bunch of accounts – without actually figuring out the ‘why’. And then, once they’ve set up their social media accounts, they have no idea what to do next.
In order to achieve your goals with a social media campaign, you have to identify them first. You also have to ensure that those goals run in tandem with your overall business strategy.
Here are a few common objectives that many businesses aim to achieve from social media:
Once you’ve identified your objectives, and established why you need a social media presence, you can enforce key strategies to ensure that you’re successful.
There’s nothing worse than a social media channel that looks like it’s being operated by an autobot. The key word is in the name – it is ‘social’ media, after all. Make sure that your interactions on accounts such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, are personable and genuine. Say hello to people in the morning, update them on your work day and share stories that will be of interest to your target audience. Yes, you should advertise your brand/product – but this is an essential part of doing that.
Customers (both existing and potential) want to know that when they are asking a question, complaining or praising, that a real person is on the other end interacting with them.
Your social media channels should always feel like they’re being operated by an interesting, intelligent, and funny human being. Be real.
The first mistake social media marketers make, is assuming that every social media channel they operate is the same. How many times have you seen an account duplicate their content across Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest?
Every social media channel has a different demand and the user base on each channel demands custom content. Instagram needs quickly digested visual content. Twitter needs brief content that can be consumed on the timeline and garner a click-through. Facebook needs fluffier, friendlier content. LinkedIn needs sharp and business focused content.
By separating your content into the appropriate channels, you can cater to all of your potential customers expectations.
If your social media strategy doesn’t focus on converting followers into brand ambassadors (or at the very least, not brand detractors), you desperately need to refocus. You need to make customer interaction a priority.
In order to run a successful social media channel, not one single customer comment – good or bad – can be left unanswered. Think of the times when you’ve messaged a company on Twitter, only to find that your comment ignored for days – or simply never answered at all. How did you feel about that company afterwards? Exactly.
Ideally, your strategy should involve a ‘first responder’. This individual is responsible for making sure every question gets answered within the day, fixed if possible, and escalated if necessary. If this first responder has a library of quick fixes to quickly solve problems – that’s even better.
Remember, always treat your social media channels as an opportunity to display how fantastically you treat your customers.
Sorting through reams of analytical data isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a crucial social media strategy. Assign a regular day at the end of every month to focus on the actual numbers behind your social media campaign and measure your success.
You need to keep a keen eye on your post numbers, your follower growth or decline, the number of click throughs you’re getting to your site/products, your page views, your likes/shares and impressions.
If you’re not the best at finding this raw data on your own, there’s a lot software out there that can help your track data and many of them are free. There are a ton of sites like bit.ly, Google Analytics, and Buffer that allow you to see which content received the most clicks and shares.
When you’re analyzing, look for any common themes and then expand on any success. Are your business articles on LinkedIn providing a lot of traffic? Make more of them. Crunching the numbers capitalizes on success.
Before entering any marketplace, a clever business person will scope out their competitors. A successful social media campaign does the exact same and for the same reasons. When you take time to check out your competitors, you can assess what’s working for them – and what isn’t working for them. You can then use their successes (or failures) as a template for your own campaigns.
Paying close attention to your competitors social media channels will give you a headstart with your own social media campaign strategy.
A successful social media strategy requires a lot of coordination from your company and it’s important to have a system in place. Initially, you might think that one person can do it all, but in reality that’s not usually the case. If you have the resources available, you should have staff working on content creation, content strategy, client interaction, and brand persona management. Once you have clearly defined the role of each staff member and their contribution to the campaign, you can ensure that everyone is working towards the same objectives.
It’s not enough to just go out there and wing it when it comes to content. A successful campaign takes a lot of thought and tactical awareness, so getting a good content strategy in place is essential. You should start with a content calendar – and there’s a great free template from Hubspot which you can download here. You can use your content calendar to identify the times and type of media you need created for each channel, such as images, blog posts, infographics, video, and long form technical pieces.
Your social media campaign must have a set strategy for executing and distributing your content. Set a limit on how many tweets you have to publish per day; having these limits and standards in place will make sure you have a consistent plan for your channels.
Social media can work well without utilizing paid advertising but you need to have sufficient time and resources to dedicate to organic reach. A savvy and successful campaign will become even more profitable with the use of clever targeted advertising. It doesn’t require massive budget either. All of the social media platforms offer targeted advertising to allow you to reach the customers you want with minimum fuss.
So if you want to grow your channels quickly and you don’t have the time go to organic, paid advertising is the way to go.
You don’t have to be on every single social media channel out there and sometimes it’s best to focus your attention on one particular medium – at least in the beginning. Do your research, identify your customers, find out where they hang out the most, and start right there. Once you have established yourself on 1 or 2 channels, you can diversify and promote your brand across various other channels too. Similarly, if a platform just isn’t working for you – despite your best efforts – it may be best to dedicate the bulk of your time and resources to the channel that is working.
Many businesses have no problem with budgeting for marketing and content creation, but they tend to skimp on design costs. Visuals are important. There’s a common phrase – ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ – and it’s something we all do. A poorly designed social media channel will be an instant turn-off for customers, if you wouldn’t put it on your shop front – why put it on your social media page? You can use your visual branding to your advantage by hiring a quality designer to create headers/icons for your social media and changing it up on a regular basis (i.e. seasonal).
Whilst every business has its own individual objectives, these strategies will definitely get your social media campaign (and your bank balance!) moving in the right direction. What’s your signature social media move? Why not leave a comment to let us know.