Over the last few years social media has been ingrained into all industries, nowadays if your company doesn’t have a Facebook or Twitter page you’re looked at like a Martian, whether your company sells electrical goods or plumbing services! Unfortunately, because of this mentality, too many companies have been approaching social media in a completely wrong and unsustainable manner.
What Some Companies Are Doing Wrong and What They Should Focus On
Counting ‘followers’ on Twitter and ‘likes’ on Facebook as the key metric for social media success is a classic mistake, sure by having a large number of these is a good thing, but it’s not the be all and end all. In isolation this doesn’t tell us a whole lot, how many of these followers have converted into leads? How many visit your website? By putting too much value into just the number of followers and likes you have you’ll be ignoring whether your customers are happy and if you’re social media campaigns are contributing to business success. Instead, focus on how many mentions, replies and replies you send to your followers on Twitter and the feedback metrics on Facebook for your page.
An important goal of social media is to drive traffic to your website, so use Google Analytics to see how much traffic is coming from your social networks and from which ones (click on Traffic Sources, Social and then Sources). By doing this and seeing the amount of time spent on your site, as well as the bounce rates, gives you much insight into how you’re campaigns are working and where you can improve.
If you’re just writing one blog post a year or a few social updates every month then you’re wasting your time, it isn’t doing any good for your company. Be consistent and don’t start and stop, it’s important your active in delivering regular blog posts and social media messages, but it’s understandable that a lot of marketing teams aren’t equipped to cope with this work-load on top of other duties. Which brings me onto my next point, social media is not a one-man project. You need to either build a team to focus on your social media targets, or implement strategies and share responsibilities across your existing team in order for your company to be able to perform consistently through this marketing channel. If you don’t have the resources for this then you can outsource your social media marketing to a focused digital marketing agency.
If your social media messages aren’t working as expected, have a look at your competitors’ social pages and see how they’re generating interaction with their audience. Make your business more fun and try some humour (companies such as O2 have been utilising humour to much success on Twitter recently!), brainstorm ideas of how to market the more exciting features and uses of your products or services.
If your content is great but your audience is yet too small you can advertise your social pages on Facebook and Twitter (as well as Linkedin) in order to attract new connections. You’ll expose your content to a larger audience who may start sharing and engaging with it. Social media gives people a platform to share their thoughts and values and also to help us learn from others. Use social media to help you learn from your audience and empathise with them, it’ll help you create content that will hold more value as social media strategies should be based around your audience’s needs and challenges. Authenticity is the key to connecting.
Finally, invest in good website design if you haven’t already. A poor looking website really negates the effectiveness of your social media efforts to gain leads!
The real usefulness of social media, which a lot of people seem to forget from a business sense, is the ability to engage with your audience directly, participating in discussions and creating new relationships. Bryan Kramer sums it up brilliantly when he says that “If you tweet, post, friend and follow people just to raise a number or better a score, you’re missing the point of social media” – there isn’t a score that truly reflects your connection and influence amongst your audience, but that doesn’t make it any less important to the success of your strategies.