Social media marketing isn’t less “real” than traditional marketing—set real business goals before you dive in.
Post consistently, both in frequency and voice.
Track your efforts with analytics, adjust your game plan accordingly.
Social media is an incredibly powerful marketing tool when used correctly.
At the same time, many people are intimidated by Facebook, Twitter and the like for business purposes—even if they use them daily for personal reasons.
Leveraging social media properly is much more involved than you might initially think. A really effective social media strategy is more than counting up your tweets at the end of every week and waiting for cash to shoot out of your printer like a slot machine.
To hell with the complexities. Here are 3 smart tips that will get you on the right path with your social media strategy.
Starting with real business goals is the most important piece of advice in this post. Social media goals should be directly related to your business’ overall strategy to achieve growth.
Your social targets should help attract, convert, or retain visitors. That’s not to say that having 5,000 followers on Twitter or 5,000 likes on Facebook isn’t a worthy goal in its own right. It just needs to be a means to an end.
When pondering your social media goals, ask yourself:
You probably noticed that real, effective social strategy isn’t much different from any other marketing strategy. You need to consider your audience, their questions and interests and set a specific plan for how you want them to interact with you.
We can solve this issue right off the bat by knowing your audience and being tuned in with their interests. Some audiences want fun, sarcasm, or witty banter. Others require seriousness and technical info.
Use a voice that will resonate with your visitors—not a voice that you think sounds right for your company.
Also, have a posting schedule that will be consistent without becoming a burden.
Everyone knows that you shouldn’t be using your social platform to pitch fastballs about your products or services in a direct way, but even too many fun and engaging posts can start to saturate your followers.
You don’t want to burn out your audience. However, there are no hard and fast rules here. It’s up to you to be aware of your followers and their preferences.
To be clear, when I say “posting schedule” I don’t mean you commit to mashing out a couple tweets every Monday morning.
Your posting schedule is a thorough plan with effort put into it. You need to determine how your social media accounts will share and promote your blog posts, when users are most active and receptive to your message, and a million other factors you might not have thought of.
But you don’t have to do it alone…
No marketing effort is complete without metrics. Use analytics to track user behavior and adjust your plan to make sure you’re getting the most out of your social media accounts.
Facebook and Twitter have built in analytics reporting, but be sure to couple that info with additional website data.
Robust analytics will ensure that your social strategy is working towards the goals that you set earlier. Check your analytics, and check often.
Don’t hesitate to adjust as necessary. Your audience could grow and evolve…or they could stay the same. It’s vital that your social strategy continues providing the content and messages they want to hear.
Picture the successful band who releases 3 kickass, multi-platinum albums over 8 years—then caps off the decade with an absolute train wreck of an experimental collection that alienates a huge portion of their fan base.
The online equivalent that I see occasionally is the blogger who gradually builds a titanic following, then drifts away from what made him popular in the first place because he doesn’t keep a finger on the pulse of his followers.
What started off as a site dedicated to social media marketing devolves into something completely different, turning off the folks who just want to learn about marketing. Please stop talking about meditation and get back to Facebook and Twitter!
Or, your audience might want the exact same content for the next decade. It’s impossible to predict without watching the way the wind blows.
Key takeaway? Your online audience is fickle. Use analytics to keep up with changes in the current—all changes you do make should be tactical, not accidental or knee-jerk.
Your social media strategy is nothing without execution. There’s a boatload of tools to help you—including blog plugins that automatically share posts, among others. But the main responsibility for meeting your social goals falls squarely on your shoulders.
Social media marketing is far from autopilot—you definitely get out what you put in, so make sure you’re putting in as much effort as your other marketing channels.