The Insights you Need to Build a Strong Social Media Strategy
Earlier this year, Social Media Examiner released their 2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, analyzing how marketers are using social media to grow their business. The report states: “the top social media questions marketers want answered can be summarized with the following keywords: tactics, engagement, measurement, paid, and audience—in that order.”
In the report, Social Media Examiner lists the top issues marketers are facing today with social media marketing. “At least 87% of marketers surveyed felt they're struggling to answer all of the following questions.” With the end of the year quickly approaching, we’ve decided to provide our own answers these questions, giving you the tools you need to develop a strong, strategic plan to hit all your social media marketing KPIs in the new year.
#1: TACTICS: What social tactics are most effective?
According to the report, “the number-one question marketers want answered (93%) is which tactics work best. This isn't a surprise, given the constant changes taking place across many social networks.” The most important things you can do is try following these core principles:
Make sure you are sharing content that will add value to your followers’ lives. High value content such as blog posts, articles, white papers, videos, etc. are made for more than just your website. They also make for compelling and shareable social media topics which will capture the attention of current and potential followers, who will ultimately convert to paying customers (if all goes as planned.)
Social media is no longer optional for marketers – it’s a must. Aside from a company’s website, social media profiles are amidst the top research tools consumers utilize when they are first introduced to a new brand. They want to get to know you and hear what you have to say in order to form an impression, making it crucial that everything you have to say has a purpose, and adds value to their lives.
“Make sure you are sharing content that will add value to your followers’ lives.” – click to tweet
Be conversational, and not overly promotional: Consumers primarily go onto social media sites to be part of the day’s conversations (if even as a spectator.) Therefore, make sure your channels reflect the same conversational tone they’re used to seeing with peers.
To go along with this more casual persona, further build your credibility by ensuring your posts are not too promotional. The key here is balancing posts explicitly about your brand or product with industry news and the like, and sticking to what you know (while always making sure it ties back to your brand.) Not doing this risks leaving your audience scratching their heads, or just losing your audience altogether, which eliminates the potential for building interest or credibility with your brand.
#2: ENGAGEMENT: What are the best ways to engage my audience with social media?
“Figuring out how to best connect with people remains high on the list of questions marketers want answered (91%).”
CTAs, surveys, asking questions, running contests and giveaways – these are all ways in which you can engage your audience. Doing these things invites your followers to contribute content to your social media profiles by way of comments, likes, and shares. Even a simple invitation such as, “let us know what you think in the comments,” can spark engagement with your audience. Another more blunt way of doing this is to tag specific people in your posts. For example, when sharing an article, mention the author’s name in your post. This invites the author’s participation in your conversation, and leverages their audience should they choose to engage.
Another powerful engagement tool is video. Posting videos to your social networks draws followers in, really giving you an opportunity to make your message stick. According to 3M Corporation and Zabisco, “90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text.” Beyond that, Simply Measured found that “just one month after the introduction of Facebook timeline for brands, visual content -- photos and videos -- saw a 65% increase in engagement.” If video marketing is not already a major part of your social strategy, it’s time to kick it into gear.
“CTAs, surveys, asking questions, running contests and giveaways – these are all ways in which you can engage your audience.” – click to tweet
Twitter Poll Creator
#3: MEASUREMENT: How do I measure the return on my social media marketing?
“A significant 89% of marketers want to know how to measure their return on investment for social media activities.”
It does seem like it would be hard to truly measure the value social media marketing brings to your business, especially when it comes to return; but it is possible. Here are a few things you can do to track your success, and make a solid case for your performance:
Set quantifiable goals. Whether you decide you want to increase your following by x% over the next 12 months, drive a certain number of people to a specific asset via your social sites, or even want a set number of your audience members to convert into leads over a period of time, it is important to define these goals ahead of time to have tangible evidence of your social media marketing strategy’s success.
Track your conversions. This ties back into our point about including a CTA in your posts. If your audience clicks the link you’ve included, then goes on to spend time on your website, and beyond that makes contact with you or meets your criteria to move to MQL or even SQL status, it’s easy to associate the part your social media strategy played in converting these leads. Even more so, if these leads convert into an opportunity, and ultimately a sale. Tools such as Google Analytics can inform you of when your social media sites acted as the referring links.
Stay on top of your insights. All social media channels today include some level of performance insights. Analyzing your performance regularly (we’d recommend weekly, or monthly at most,) will help you to not only compare engagement for that timespan, but also how it impacted volume of overall company engagement. Sharing these insights with key stakeholders on a regular basis will make the value social brings undeniable. Another benefit of staying on top of your insights is the ability to be more agile when it comes to making adjustments to your social strategy. It’s simple: do more of what’s working, and less of what’s not.
“Analyzing your performance regularly help you to not only compare engagement for that timespan, but also how it impacted volume of overall company engagement.” – click to tweet
#4: PAID: What are the best ways to use paid social media?
“Determining how to use social media ads is a big question for marketers (88%).”
Paid social media is an inexpensive and, when done right, an effective way of reaching your target audience. If you are just starting out on your paid social journey, here is what we’d recommend:
Know where to start. We find that, as of today, the most intuitive and effective paid social is achievable with Facebook’s Business Manager. Business Manager makes it easy to build new ads, or put money behind any of your existing posts that seem to be performing well (which Facebook refers to as “boosting” a post.) The Ads Manager within Business Manager is an easy to use, step-by-step tool that allows you to identify your objective (either Awareness, Consideration, or Conversion,) set your audience and Ad placement, establish your budget, and finally build your own, custom Ad.
We recommend starting with Facebook’s paid tool because of its user-friendly nature, and success rate; it’s also where most marketers are finding success. According to the Social Examiner report, “Facebook is the most important social network for marketers by a long shot: When asked to select their most important platform, 62% of marketers chose Facebook, followed by LinkedIn at 16%.”
Create clear goals (just like you’re doing with organic social.) Once again, be sure to lay out your goals with paid social. What do you want to achieve? Who are you trying to reach? Setting guidelines and adjusting as you go, when needed, will put you on the road to success.
Facebook Ads Manager Tool -- Campaign Objective
#5: AUDIENCE: How do I find my target audience with social media?
“Locating ideal customers and prospects is a big concern for marketers (87%).”
With so many consumers active on social media, reaching those who mean the most to your brand may seem daunting, or even impossible. Luckily, social networks are built for finding your audience.
Built-in tools: like the audience builder in Facebook’s Ads Manager, the built-in tools social media platforms have allow you to get pretty granular with targeting when launching paid campaigns. The algorithms built into social media platforms make it so “the powers that be” know a scary amount of information about all of us. Marketers can use this to their advantage, targeting campaign by location, demographics, behaviors and interests.
Facebook Ads Manager Audience Definition Tool
Hashtags: Another way to get in front of your target audience (at no cost at all,) is by using hashtags in your posts. Social media influencers use hashtags galore, and for good reason. Professionals turn to social media when digging further into a topic, to see what peers and industry thought leaders are saying. Social media searches are driven by hashtags, meaning they are crucial to landing in front of your target audience. Think of your keywords, use tools such as Hashtags.org to confirm the popularity of the words, and insert them where it makes sense into the body of your posts, or simply add them to the end to ensure your posts pop up in social media searches. Bonus tip: also include these keywords or hashtags in your social media biographies so your company’s profiles will come up in web searches.
“Professionals turn to social media when digging further into a topic, to see what peers and industry thought leaders are saying.” – click to tweet
Do you have anything else to add to our answers? Let us know in the comments!