A social media strategy is more than just a Facebook page or Twitter feed. When executed correctly, social media is a powerful customer engagement engine and web traffic driver.
The social media landscape has evolved in the last few years, so if you’re jumping in now, you might be late. That’s the harsh reality.
But don’t worry. Everyone needs to start somewhere and you can still gain significant momentum through the social web.
As with any marketing strategy, the approach is straightforward:
- Identify the social channels where your target audience hangs out
- Solidify your brand messaging — what information will resonate with an audience with social media?
- Understand with social channels best complement your website’s conversion optimization process. Ultimately, your goal is to create a steady stream of buyers.
KNOW YOUR SOCIAL NETWORKS
Social media is more than just a Facebook page or Twitter feed. Here is a quick crash course in the variety of social channels available:
13 TACTICS TO SUCCEED ON SOCIAL MEDIA
RESIST THE PRESSURE
There is tremendous pressure for companies to develop a social media presence. Feeling the crunch, companies will just jump in.
This approach is a significant time and money-sink. Social media is just like any other marketing channel in that it requires a thoughtful, ROI focused strategy. Don’t jump in.
PICK THE RIGHT NETWORKS FOR YOU
No Facebook? No problem. Develop a social media presence on the networks that align most strongly with your customer base and brand. Don’t feel like you need to drop six figures on a Facebook presence where your customers are already likely to be hanging out.
Remember that social media is, at its heart, a distribution channel. To spread the word about your brand, you absolutely need an audience.
START WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS
In order for people to follow you, you need to follow your customers. Pick social networks that align most strongly with where your customers are hanging out already. If you’re running a B2B organization, for instance, participation on LinkedIn Discussion Groups is a no-brainer.
If you’re running a publishing website, it’s mission-critical that you get your act together on Twitter, since audiences consistently tweet and re-tweet through this channel.
INVEST IN BUILDING A COMMUNITY
Online communities add value in the form of exposure and distribution. A portion of your fans and followers are likely to convert. When you invest in building up your social media following, you are investing in distribution.
BUILD YOUR EMAIL LIST ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Use a tool like 5 Minute Fan Page to collect leads on your Facebook page. These lead generation forms have the potential to achieve much higher conversion rates than they do off Facebook.
TIME YOUR MESSAGING PERFECTLY
Obviously, a 2AM Facebook post is unlikely to recruit eyeballs. Beyond the obvious, however, it’s important to pay attention to the nuances of timing your posts. Use free social media tools from Simply Measured to time your Tweets and status updates just right. Here’s what some of the reports look like:
SYNC UP WITH GREAT CONTENT
Social media and content marketing go hand in hand. When people are browsing their Facebook and Twitter feeds, they’re not necessarily in the mood to buy. They want to be social, catch up with friends, connect with family, browse pictures, and relax.
As much as you want to sell, your content shouldn’t. They key is to build audience relationships instead. People make laugh. Capture their interest. Be a brand that is also a friend. Share content, not products. Remember that people are emotional and want to be entertained.
Once audiences browse through your content, make sure to connect them with more. This strategy is especially important for YouTube videos.
Get more video views by ending your video with another. You’ll need a video editor to create this modifications.
HOST ONLINE EVENTS
This strategy can help build loyalty and engagement. Host tweet-ups to help answer your fans’ most pressing questions. Other ideas include follower-only webinars and Facebook networking parties to help businesses connect with one another.
JUMP INTO CONVERSATIONS
Be social. Join Quora and LinkedIn discussion groups to build trust and awareness about your brand. If somebody asks questions related to your product, provide an answer. If your company can solve a specific problem, make sure that the community knows.
Conversations go both ways. Ask questions as much as you’re broadcasting messages. Questions can help you better understand your customers and show how much you care. Conduct market intelligence, learn what people think of your products, and get people talking.
CAPTURE ATTENTION WITH IMAGES
People don’t want to read chunks of text. They want easy-to-scan, attention-grabbing images. Get creative, and don’t afraid to be funny — even if you’re a little off base from your brand. Just don’t be boring.
MEASURE ALL RESULTS
Like any marketing channel, social media ROI should be measured and tracked. Make sure to segment your data by post-type (content vs. deals vs. products), and keep track of your long-term user value. With social media, conversions are much less likely to be direct.
Virality is another metric that you should watch. When people share your content with their fans and followers, your company gets free marketing. This exposure has quantifiable value.
Typically, social media ROI metrics fall into the following categories:
ENGAGEMENT VIRALITY CONVERSIONS VALUE
- Unique Visitors
- Avg. Visit Duration
- Return Visits
- Bounce Rate
- Conversion Rates (direct & indirect)
- Conversions(direct & indirect)
- Customer Acquisition Cost
FINAL THOUGHTS & CASE STUDY:
LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES
Your data will help you identify key opportunities for growth. Confront problems directly to make your social media strategy as strong as possible.
DESCRIPTION OF GOALS:
We had a good Facebook following, but we weren’t seeing much engagement outside of announcements about big tournament wins. We wanted to turn that large following into a more engaged community.
By creating branded images that featured popular golf quotes, we suspected we’d be able to extend our reach from shares. By creating branded Would You Rather? images, we suspected we’d be able to get some debates going and fuel comments.
Branding is very important to us, so we wanted the images to be well-designed. We put all of the quotes on beautiful golf-related backgrounds (courses, greens, etc.) and added a small logo.
The quote is the main focus because we didn’t want to come off too promotional, so the design fits our brand perfectly without being overpowering.
We took a similar approach with the Would You Rather? images. We could have just made them text-based, but we imagined people sharing the images and starting mini-conversations on their own pages.
By creating and sharing the custom, branded content, we’ve definitely taken a big step towards creating a more engaged community. We’ve noticed an increase in engagement around those images and other content we’ve been sharing as well.
Where we’d normally see 0-10 shares, we saw up to 60 on a branded quote. Where we would normally see 0-15 comments, we saw nearly 40 on a Would You Rather? image.
- Choose social channels that align with your audience.
- Don’t feel obligated to launch social media profiles that are misaligned with your brand.
- Track results so that you can make optimizations and continuously improve performance.
- Monitor metrics related to virality, engagement, leads and conversions, and costs.
- Shares and re-tweets are extremely valuable because they generate free exposure for your company.
- Encourage users to share your content by implementing (and testing the placement of) social sharing widgets.
- Be as visual as you possibly can. People don’t like to read giant blocks of text.
- Remember that people on social media aren’t necessarily in the mindset to shop. They’re looking to connect with friends, sync up with family, browse photos, and discover entertaining media.
- Integrate your social media strategy with your branded content program. Content is a powerful referral traffic driver.
- Listen as much as you broadcast. Use social media to learn about your customer base.