More UK businesses than ever before are adopting social media as an essential component in their marketing toolbox, but many still remain in the dark about how to really make it work for them, or how to justify the resources spent on it.
For 2016, you should be looking at the following…
First and foremost, you have to be sure about what your social media profiles are for as a business. Potentially, you could be wasting time and money on an activity that, at its worst, could be harmful to your company. Unfortunately only around 16% of marketers are confidently able to determine their ROI right now.
There is a wide array of analytic software available that can help you to track the performance of your online activity – web hosting companies such as Midphase for instance assist with tracking visitor statistics, bounce rates and more. The same is true of analytics for social media – you can see how many people are coming through to your website from your Facebook page, which types of CTAs on your posts generate the best response, what time of day or week a post is likely to get the most engagement.
Use every tool at your disposal to see what’s working and what isn’t, so that you can justify ongoing usage and expenditure to stakeholders. It’s easy to get lost with social media – don’t lose sight of the fact that this still has to have a clear business goal for you.
If you view your social media activity solely through the prism of profitability then you could find it difficult to engage with people properly – social media users are often put off by naked sales tactics.
There are a variety of purposes you could put social media marketing to, from building a community around your brand to establishing authority in the marketplace, communicating better with your customers to gathering useful information about them. Think about medium and long term goals.
Which social media platforms are you using? Do any of your current profiles seem tired, or in need of a refresh? Perhaps there are some that could easily be closed down with little or no impact, allowing you to put more focus and resources elsewhere.
Different social media platforms suit different types of business – if you’re a fashion retailer for example, you need to be on an image-centred site such as Pinterest and Instagram, as well as YouTube.
The internet is a crowded place, and nowhere more than social media, where getting your voice heard can be difficult. As such, social media should be fully-integrated into your overall marketing strategy for maximum effectiveness. Now that you, hopefully, know what you want out of it, you need to establish some goals so that you can measure success.
So, if you want to use it to build a community around your brand then you might be thinking of the number of active followers, the number of comments a post receives, the number of people who watch live-streaming events, or the number of shares. Consider what your preferred audience is on each social media platform you’re using – what is the best way to reach them? What kind of content do they prefer? Who else do they follow and what posts of theirs do they enjoy?
Don’t neglect your other marketing. Ideally social media should merge seamlessly with your print ads, your local radio spots, your billboard campaigns, and whatever else you use, so that the different channels compliment each other.
One aspect where social media tends to differ from other forms of marketing is that it can involve all employees and all departments. Anyone from your company can help to build your brand by liking and sharing content on their own profiles and suggest posts.
You do need to establish protocols so that tone of voice is maintained and that all employees know what behaviour is expected of them when interacting with or representing the company on social media.
It’s easy, using social media, to learn what your competitors are doing, and whether there is anything you can learn from them in the way they interact with their audiences.
Pay attention to new innovations in the form – posts and analytics can now be automated, saving you time. Can you play around with different types of content such as video or infographics to freshen things up?
Organisations such as the BBC use a multitude of social channels and content to educate, inform and entertain, so perhaps the ultimate tip for marketing with social media is to never stop diversifying.