The 7 Steps for Leveraging Social Media Marketing

Although free to setup, social media campaigns take valuable staff resources to manage, and the ROI is not as apparent. While launching a social media campaign likely won’t bring leads and sales pouring in your door tomorrow, when you implement a few social media success strategies, you’ll find it much easier to drive a positive ROI with social that benefits your organization for years to come.   

1. Reframe your outlook.

Many businesses fail at social media because they think it means Facebook or Twitter. Social media is actually much more than that. Rather than putting labels on social media, think of it as a concept. Social media is actually about engaging with your audience in a broader way. Traditional media has always been one directional—you place an ad, the customer calls, and you have an offline private conversation. Social media is the first time where businesses can interact with their community in a public online forum. That openness and transparency is scary to many business owners, but it’s exactly what customers crave. 

2. Start small.

As you delve into social media, begin with the platforms that can make the biggest difference for you. Usually, this means starting with the three main platforms that can drive results and interaction: Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Depending on your business model, there may be others; however, if you are just getting started, this is a great set to begin with.

  •  Facebook: Facebook has a high adoption rate and people of all ages spend time on this social media platform, thus giving you great exposure.
  •  LinkedIn: While LinkedIn is not consumer-focused like Facebook, it can help with B2B sales, vendor connections, recruiting, and other business needs.
  •  YouTube: Although a bigger investment than the others, consumers resonate with different types of content, and YouTube videos tend to pay off in the long term. 

3. Don’t be boring.

Guess what … your brand, services, mission statement, and corporate values are boring. Although they may represent you as a company, they don’t represent the human element and personality of your team. Social media is about not only building a community, but also engaging your customers. Doing that requires that you show some serious personality.

Strategically decide what your company’s culture or persona will be and then post interesting content that relates to that. This means getting outside your comfort zone and talking about things that interest you as a company, not about your industry, products, and services. 

4. Don’t over-invest.

As you delve into social media, don’t rush out and hire a full-time person to manage it. Instead, start by looking around your company and finding someone (or a team of people) interested in the additional responsibility. As your social media presence grows and becomes successful, you can see the business case for growing the department. 

5. Look beyond the “likes.”  

Judging a social media campaign solely by the size of your Facebook likes is a bit backwards. In order to measure a successful social campaign, here are a few of the major metrics that social media can influence, and that you can measure:

  • Reach, Likes, and Shares
  • Social Referral Traffic and Goal Completions (Measured through Google Analytics)
  • Social Media Leads
  • Increased Search Engine Rankings &New Inbound links
  • Increases in Branded Traffic (Measured by Google Analytics)

6. Measure your results based on goals.

Now that you know that results are more than just “likes,” decide how you are going to measure results before you start any social media activity, as well as the specific metrics you’ll use to determine success. Social media is just like any other marketing initiative, which means you have to answer some key questions, such as “Why are we doing this?” and “What are we hoping to get from it?”  For a free measurement tool, use Google Analytics. For standardized reports, consider using an out-of-the box report suite, such as Sprout Social or Raven Tools. 

7. Commit to it.  

Too often, a small- or medium-sized business sets up a Facebook page, goes gung-ho with it for a few weeks, and then gets busy and forgets about it. That sends a negative message about the business. To avoid this scenario, start small with activity you can handle and stick with it. Post something daily, or at the very least weekly so your company can stay relevant.

Natalie Henley is the vice president of Client Services at Volume 9 Inc. Volume 9 creates custom search marketing campaigns for clients, including a mix of SEO, paid search management, social media, local search marketing and website development for over 100 clients and 200 managed websites. For more information, please visit www.volume9inc.com.

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