Social Media is an important part of your overall marketing strategy. At least 73% of adults have some type of social media account, so it’s a great way to engage with your current consumers as well as introduce yourself to new ones.
However, just having a presence or even a large number of followers doesn’t guarantee success. You need to start conversations, generate interest and grow your audience. And that needs to be approached methodically and systematically by:
- Determining an overall social media strategy
- Following rules and best practices for Facebook, Twitter and other Social Networks
- Analyzing posts for key performance indicators and adjusting as necessary
Setting a Social Media Strategy
Just like any other aspect of your business, you need to determine your goals. Do you want to build awareness, drive traffic to your site or store and/or convert prospects to sales? Whatever your goals are, just be sure they are specific, realistic and measurable.
Next, take a look at what you are currently doing on social media. See how many followers you have right now, which social media sites your target audience uses and how your social media presence compares to your competitors.
Finally, develop a comprehensive content strategy. Decide what type(s) of content you should post and promote and how often. A good way to keep it all organized is to create an editorial calendar. List the posts you plan to make by date and include which venue you will utilize (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) as well as any assets needed.
Following the Rules for Social Media
Facebook, especially, is known for changing its News Feed algorithm quite frequently. Make sure to keep tabs on any updates and adjust your posts accordingly.
For example, in January 2014, Facebook altered the algorithm to decrease the importance (or weight) of status updates of pages by 40%. In April, they also began to crack down on “feed spam” and identified certain tactics that would negatively impact post reach, such as “like-baiting” (asking readers to like, comment or share a post to gain distribution) and posting frequently circulated content.
Most recently, the News Feed algorithm was updated to ensure users are seeing stories that are important to them by giving more weight to “high quality” content; i.e., content that is timely, relevant, from a trusted source and more likely to be shared and/or recommended to others.
Analyzing Social Media Data
Once you’ve made your posts, now is not the time to sit back. Track how they are doing by looking at some key performance indicators.
For Twitter, see how many people have followed and unfollowed you over time. The larger the reach, the better chance you have of meeting your goals. Twitter currently boasts more than 550 million active users. Of these half a billion users, 67% of them are more likely to buy from brands they follow than from brands they do not. Also look at how often you are tweeting and see if there is a correlation with follower growth.
How engaged are your followers? Do they mention your company’s handle at the beginning of a tweet (@reply) or inside of a tweet (@mention)? Do they retweet your content? You can try to promote retweeting by tweeting interesting links, including retweetable words (ex: “please,” “retweet,” “you”) and actually asking followers to retweet – it increases the chance of retweeting by 160%.
Lastly, monitor brand mentions. See what people are saying about your brand and gain insights into what you’re doing well, what needs improvement and who your current and potential customers are.
For Facebook, become familiar with the Insights section of your brand page. Here you can find a number of metrics. It’s best to determine which ones align with your social media goals and focus on those. Like Twitter, you’ll probably want to track page like growth over time. Reach is another key metric, as it shows the number of people who saw your post.
Facebook also places huge importance on engagement. In order for your posts to show up in your followers’ News Feed, your followers need to be liking, sharing and commenting on them. Measure your post clicks, likes, comments and shares to see how your audience is interacting with your brand. The more shares you have, the more your reach increases.
Staying the Course
The work of a good social media marketer is never done. Strategies and posts need to be constantly analyzed and refined to ensure you’re following the path to success. Let us help you stay on course. Contact us to learn more about our social media capabilities.
By: Mike Adams.