Social media use by businesses has continued to expand in 2016. It’s becoming inevitable – in the age of advertising, every company will eventually take to social media. In fact, in the US, 88% of companies use some form of social media advertising, and the number is growing.
But not all companies do social media well. Even major brands struggle with these platforms. It’s about more than voice and verbiage (even though we have guidelines for those); it’s about fostering connections.
So how can a business use these platforms for effective social media campaigns?
Here are 5 actionable steps.
1. Have a Purpose
Like any business endeavor, social media outreach is an endeavor. If a company is going to start a social media push, it should happen in accordance to with SMART goals. Make sure that the business’s objectives are:
- Specific: Goals should be direct. “Growing online presence,” is not specific. Instead, aim to increase engagement metrics (FYI the link is to a free download page) by specific amounts.
- Measurable: Target specific metrics, like the click-through rate. By definition, metrics are measurable.
- Achievable: Be reasonable. A small website will likely not grow from 40 views/week to 10,000 views/week in a matter of days. Work with the marketing teams and available data in order to produce achievable objectives.
- Realistic: Be realistic as well as reasonable. The business may have data and the potential to increase conversions by 200%, but what kind of commitment would it take? How many resources will it take? Would employees need to take on extra duties? Would that be a realistic change?
- Timed: Set up a start and end date. That gives the company a finite set of data to examine at the end of the campaign. Did marketing hit it’s objectives? Were goals attained? If so, awesome. If not, what went wrong?
Set objectives before jumping onto social media, and hold the sales and/or marketing team accountable for them.
Don’t gloss over this step. Do the work. Not all social media is the same.
Make sure to research which platform is the most effective social media channel for the company’s message. Try to align the company’s page with other groups or thought leaders on that specific platform. If the company sells auto parts or services, make sure to find groups where auto enthusiasts or dads-in-need tend to post or browse. Facebook may or may not be the best option. Or maybe the company belongs on Pinterest.
3. Take Action
There are innumerable amounts of business advice online, but they all boil down to the same principle – STAY INVOLVED. An inactive company page is about as useful as an inactive light switch. Keep the company’s pages up-to-date with popular content and newsworthy events, and respond to clients when they reach out on these platforms. Don’t let these pages sit idly by.
4. Make it Meaningful
Invest some time in the process. Do keyword research. Review current content trends. Add the company experts’ knowledge and experiences to conversations. Set aside a certain amount of time every day to follow up on social media interactions. Remember, customers engage with content that shows:
- Functional Value – does the post offer a solution?
- Monetary Value – does the post offer a deal?
- Social Value – does the post engage with viewers as people?
- Emotional Value – does the post tap into some sort of emotion?
5. Never Stop Prospecting
Ultimately, businesses use social media to interact with potential customers. Some companies use social pages to find these customers, and other companies use these sites to handle customer service. Customer service will help delight fans and encourage repeat customers, while sales-based pages push to reach new groups. Whatever the company decides, make sure to stick to the plan. Diligent social prospecting will increase the company’s customer base, brand awareness, and customer satisfaction.
Social media is a great compliment to an inbound marketing campaign and a content marketing campaign. But what should social media posts say? How should they say it? Are the posts aligned with company values and language?