Since the early 2000s social media has been a mainstay in the business world, helping companies accomplish both marketing and sales goals. Consider this:
It gets even better: According to SocialMedia Today’s State of Social Media Lead Gen 2019 report, Facebook performs best at generating leads (82%) and LinkedIn is a solid second (48%). So if you don’t have a good system in place for using social media platforms, you’re missing opportunities to connect with your audiences, humanize your brand, build trust, stay top of mind and, ultimately, grow your business.
When an organization contacts us about social media marketing help, here’s what we typically hear:
“We set up our social media accounts but we don’t know the best way to proceed.”
“We post several times a month. What kind of results should we be getting?”
“Our posts promote our services but we aren’t seeing new business activity. Are we doing something wrong?”
If any of these comments sound familiar, it’s time to question what you’ve been doing — or not doing — with your social media marketing.
We get it: it’s easy to jump in the social media water and publish content. A little bit of text, an interesting image, a link… voila, you’re on social media. But before you wade in any deeper, you should know what a well-developed social media marketing program includes.
Step one is to establish your goals. Do you want to increase brand awareness? Engage with prospects? Support your customers? You can accomplish all of this (and more) with social media.
You also need to decide which platforms to use. Don’t say, “All of them!” because that isn’t logical nor is it practical for most companies. You need to be where the lion’s share of your target audience is. If you have limited resources, choose one platform to start and add others later on. It’s better to be consistently active on one platform than spread your messaging around all over the place on an occasional basis.
First, follow the cardinal rule: Create content that appeals to your target audience’s interests, not yours. Social media platforms are not intended for businesses to promote products and services unless there is truly something in it for recipients. Whatever content format you use – ideally, a mix of images, videos, copy and links – you need to educate, inform, entertain, and help your audience. Stick to these guidelines and you’ll be able to attract your audience’s attention and build awareness of your brand over time.
No matter what you do – manufacture widgets, construct buildings, practice law, crunch numbers, or sell software — you’ve got stories to tell. They may center around problems you’ve solved, employees behind the scenes, your community, or a select group of customers. Whatever the tales, if they are crafted in a compelling way, you can build a loyal following of people who matter to your business.
If you want your social media marketing to be effective, establish a schedule. How often you publish may differ from how often your competitors, customers, or suppliers publish, but whatever frequency you set, be consistent. That sends an important message about your brand. The good news is that there are a variety of social media scheduling tools in the marketplace that you can choose from in order to easily and efficiently manage the scheduling of your posts and reposts.
The more active your business is on social media, the more interactions you’ll have – from likes and comments to shares and direct messages. It is both beneficial and important to monitor what your customers, prospects, and others say about your company and your products or services. You’ll get a sense of what buyers like or don’t like and if you catch any negative remarks you can respond in real time.
When you use a social media management tool you also get detailed data. You’ll know if the hashtags you set up are getting used or if you are expanding your reach month after month. You’ll see if your content is driving traffic to your website and generating inquiries about your offerings – or if you’re missing the mark and need to change your approach.
All of the metrics your tool provides will enable you to continually examine the effectiveness of your social media marketing program. And if you aren’t satisfied with the results you’re generating, you’ll have a good handle on where to begin to make improvements.