Before you begin...
For those starting on social media for the first time, you’ll be tempted to post an update of what your business has been doing or a new product rolling out. Well, go ahead: you won’t hurt anything, but you’re not necessarily helping either. Without a business goal in mind, you are really only speaking about yourself, to yourself. The post will likely not be of interest to readers. At the very least, it will be quickly lost in the noise.
Know Your Goal
Most businesses are aware that they need social media. Your business probably has a presence on at least one platform. But may not have had a formal plan to budget time and advertising dollars to support it. You’re also going to need a system for evaluating the return on investment.
If you are getting serious about growing your business using social media, you’ll need to devote some time to planning. Without a plan, you won’t have enough time between building an audience, managing content, and interacting with followers to be everywhere at once. And blindly spending on ads will quickly deplete even the deepest pockets.
Even if you could be everywhere at once, it is not a smart move. Your audience is not on all the social networks and they won’t engage with content they’ve seen elsewhere. You don’t want to be wasteful.; opt for 2-3 social networks where most of your audience is and focus on creating quality content tailored to them.
Let’s repeat that: focus on content for THEM. You want your customers to feel engaged with, not just notified of your status–have a conversation.
In marketing, we call a specific plan a ‘campaign.’ Your campaign should have a desired result, a timeline, and a method, including identifying limitations. While Social Media may be a component of a larger campaign to acquire more customers, your campaign WITHIN social media needs to have its own goals as well.
Only with goals can you decide if the time and resources you spent yielded results. With consistent results, you can predict the timing and cost of future campaigns with much more accuracy. We speak more about the value of data-based decisions here.
Before engaging in any marketing activity, you need to establish what your goals are. Without first knowing where you’re headed, any path will do. Even if it were successful, you probably couldn’t duplicate the results.
For social media, the goals might be:
Brand awareness – getting the word out about your business, using social media as a PR channel
Drive traffic to your website or blog – increase SEO (for your site) and move visitors through the funnel to conversion
Target audience – discover who your followers and customers are.
Increase followers – expand your reach and build a community around your brand.
Convert followers into customers – getting more people into your sales funnel
Increase online sales – largely through ad buys, retargeting, and incorporating e-commerce
Customer Service – allow your business another customer service channel.
Social Listening – instead of being solution-focused or product-focused, devote time to reading what others are saying.
You can see how each of these affects measurable aspects of your business. Posting for the sake of frequency is not a sustainable practice.
What Does A Successful Social Media Campaign Look Like?
Only you will know if you are pleased with the goals you established and how close you came to meeting them. However, you can rely on experts to help you establish these goals. Marketing agencies specialize in digital marketing strategies and will design plans around your goals. Like the sales funnel, your strategy will change as you assess the traction you gain along the way. Having alternatives and being able to pivot is important.
What else do you need to do?
There are other considerations as well that you should consider.
Be aware of your competition and its social media presence. You can get an impression of how hard they are working to get the customers you want, and in some cases, you can leverage their work in creating a “lookalike” audience for your own messages. Just know that doing so means you are in direct competition for the same exposures, increasing the price.
Do an audit to evaluate your own presence, including the number of followers you already have.
Consult your Google Analytics and make note of how much traffic you currently receive from social media, if any. In order to have your social media track with your website, there are a few steps needed to sync analytics and social accounts. If you have not previously done this you’ll need to.
Consider processing your social media accounts through a third-party reporting system for additional insights. Some products offer additional insights.
Establish or refresh your accounts, making sure they align with current branding and usage guidelines.
Consider using an automated digital marketing tool that schedules posts, tracks results, and places new contacts into a list for additional follow up.
Ask how much knowledge, resources, and time do you have to devote.
Know your customer; you already have a good idea (and you’ll gain additional insights through social media marketing)
…All of this before writing your first post or video.
Fahrenheit Marketing can help with establishing goals, creating an accurate image of your target customer, and help you establish prudent budgets for reaching your audience.