As a small business, do you have enough brand awareness to set channel-specific marketing goals for social media?
Are there any strategies you use that keep improving your brand presence?
Do all your social media efforts tie back to larger business goals?
Social media marketing is a fascinating entity. Not only does every brand have their own unique following, voice, and content mix; reaching goals and milestones requires a particular approach that accurately reflects core values.
For as drastically different as every social media marketing strategy is, there are several common threads that apply to companies and organizations of virtually all sizes. These include things like improving engagement, expanding reach, and boosting sales. While the bigger brands have mastered these techniques, it isn’t as if they’re out of bounds for small businesses.
In this article, you’ll learn the finer details of how to focus your social media efforts on the goals that matter most, using commonly accepted best practices and free or inexpensive social tools.
1. Identify the best metrics that bring in traffic
Let’s say you’re a B2B brand. LinkedIn would likely be the primary social media platform on which to publish your content. Now, you need to look at the numbers for the most opportune times to post. A study conducted by Coschedule identified that 80 percent of the U.S. population is on Central and Eastern time zones. In relation to LinkedIn, the same study also identified that the best times to post are on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at either 7-8 a.m., 12 p.m., or 5-6 p.m.
While you should always keep the general statistics in mind, you need to look into your own individual posting history to determine when exactly you get the most impressions. Once you have identified patterns in which your content gets the best exposure, you can tailor your posting schedule accordingly.
So, to turn the goal of bringing in traffic via social inside out, you will have to determine:
- The kind of posts that are working for you
- The best times to post them
There’s no denying that scheduling your posts manually can be inconvenient and time-consuming. Fortunately, the people’s favorite, Buffer, allows you to research and designate specific times to automatically publish your content as needed.
By looking at your analytics, you can see which posts experienced the most engagement, the impression potential, and the corresponding times.
From here, you can easily set your posting schedule to put yourself in the ideal position to gain traction, based on historical data.
The system gathers insights on each move you make with your social media accounts. In turn, your strategy is in a constant state of refinement.
Every social media marketing strategy will vary based on a wide range of factors. In order to improve your traffic numbers, you need to understand the metrics pertaining to the best times and places to post your content.
2. Engage wisely
As your following grows, engagement levels will follow suit. When this is the case, you need to make a point of interacting with your following. According to a survey conducted by Social Sprout, 90 percent of respondents claim to have used social media as a way to communicate directly with a brand.
If one of your goals is to improve customer service, this phenomenon can be easily used to your advantage. Perhaps the best example in this regard is JetBlue. By keeping a close eye on how their following engages with them on social media, they are able to respond quickly in a personalized fashion.
A speedy response to social media does more than just sort out individual queries; doing so in a public arena shows the world that you value follower interaction.
Now, keep in mind, the internet is full of trolls and bullies. That being said, you shouldn’t necessarily respond to any and all engagement. Each response to customer sentiment should be strategically planned to help the big picture and achieve your chosen goals. The bigger your following gets, the harder it will be to keep track of interactions. For this reason, you must implement a reliable alert system to inform you when people engage with your account when you get mentioned by influencers, or any other instance when your name comes up.
Talkwalker Alerts is the (free) Google Alerts of social media—it makes the process of mention monitoring incredibly easy and convenient for brands by enabling you to filter notifications based on a number of factors like brand name, keywords, topics, competitors, and more. Upon choosing your criteria directly from the homepage, you will receive email updates with the latest content sorted by engagement levels. This way, you don’t have to spend your time looking through each and every piece of sentiment to classify them based on importance.
Contrary to Google Alerts, you can choose how frequently you receive notifications. Once you connect your email address, you can get the information in real time, daily, or weekly. You can also elect to include updates and mentions directly from Twitter. All of these can be pushed to your phone as notifications for instant action.
If you want to get even more specific, you can use Boolean operators to customize results for insights on SEO, influencer marketing, and content management.
The beauty of social media is that brands can now interact with people in a public place where the world can see it. Regardless of the brand, one of the most common social media goals is to improve engagement. The key to doing this is knowing when and how to interact with users. Using an alert system is critical to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
3. Fit your content into the social sales funnel
If you run a business page, your ultimate goal is likely to boost sales. Now, the social media sales funnel is a bit different to the traditional one. While the general aspects of the funnel are the same, there are a number of particular metrics to consider on social media.
Remember, most people don’t go on social media to be explicitly sold to. So, placing excessive focus near the bottom of the funnel will likely give you some issues in other areas. With each and every piece of content you create, you need to have well-defined goals for how exactly it will factor into the funnel.
When you are trying to raise awareness, your content should ideally work to educate readers and build relationships with buyer personas. Publishing content like blog posts, informative videos, and infographics are great for this purpose.
As you advance down the funnel into the consideration stage, you should work to solidify your status as an industry expert. Content like case studies, testimonials, and tutorials are ideal.
When it comes time to focus on making sales, your content ideas need to set up the final process someone takes before becoming a customer. This is in regards to actions like requesting a quote or consultation.
Now, the most important part of this concept is understanding the role of your content and how it works as a single unit to improve the bottom line. For professionals, using social media analytics tools like Hootsuite is critical in measuring how your posts are contributing to sales numbers.
Hootsuite enables you to gauge reaction sentiment for each of your posts. From here, you can equate these metrics to see which ones are causing people to take action in moving along the sales funnel. Without these data-driven insights, it’s difficult to know what is working and what isn’t.
Social selling can be a fickle endeavor. Identifying the patterns and common threads for what translates to sales is a task that never sleeps.
Over to you
Even though every social media marketing strategy is different in its own right, the overarching goals are pretty similar across the board. The tricky part is understanding the specific details on how to reach them.
Through thick and thin, if you can engage with followers properly, post the right content at times likely to get mass exposure, and leverage your messaging to feed into the bottom line, success is right around the corner.
Pratik Dholakiya is the co-founder of E2M, a full-service digital marketing agency, and PRmention, a digital PR agency. He regularly speaks at various conferences about SEO, Content Marketing, Growth Hacking, Entrepreneurship and Digital PR. Pratik has spoken at NextBigWhat's UnPluggd, IIT-Bombay, SMX Israel, and other major events across Asia. As a passionate marketer, he shares his thoughts and knowledge on publications like Search Engine Land, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, The Next Web and the Huffington Post to name a few. He has been named one of the top content marketing influencers by Onalytica three years in a row.