You’ve got your social strategy in place.
Your goals are SMART.
You’ve researched your market and know which channels your ideal customers hang out on.
You’ve been lurking around your competitor’s accounts gathering insights and noticed a few gaps in their engagement.
You’ve even smartened up your profiles. Some nice photographic real estate there and your products look good too.
So when you look at the numbers drifting in on your analytics dashboard, why are you hearing the digital equivalent of crickets?
Some well placed ads maybe pushed the needle a little; but this is not what you might call Return On Investment.
So what’s next?
Is there a simple insight that you might be missing?
Social Media May Not Work Quite How You Think It Does
Many business owners look at social media as a broadcast medium. You’re getting your message out to your followers. Your customers are sitting there waiting for your next breathtaking announcement.
Unfortunately, unless you’re already a major brand with years of expensive advertising and customer loyalty behind you, very few people will notice.
A lot has been made of the power of social media and the ability to target advertising with laser accuracy on particular demographic groups. This is social media advertising, it can be expensive but it works. If you set it up right, you can get a lot of valuable data from it.
However, a lot of businesses miss the point about social media. The clue is in the name, it’s social.
This One Insight Can Be A Game Changer
Your social media audience is not necessarily your customer (ideal or otherwise). Your audience is people who are interested enough in your content to share it with their friends and business associates.
Your social strategy must be all about making that an appealing prospect.
- It should be easy to share.
- You should be able to measure the engagement activity
- It should be something that makes them look good too
In a crowded social media environment, just promoting your product is not going to cut it.
The valuable friends, followers and connections you have on social media are real people.
- They like cats (or dogs!)
- They want to be amused
- They want to learn something new
- They want to share exhilarating experiences
- They may even be looking for stuff to share on their own timeline
Once they feel comfortable and trust you, they’ll be happy to go to some of your website content too. This is where they find out more about you and your business.
Remember, the links they follow to your website may well have been shared by one of their friends.
Social media is a network not a bull horn.
A Holistic Approach to Social Media Engagement
This is all about making your website the core of your online activity.
It’s a value forward strategy.
Remember the 80% rule! The majority of your social media posts should be valuable to as wide a demographic as possible. People should be looking forward to your next Tweet. 20% can be more directly promotional. Things like guides to the best use of your products, done right, can fall between these two. Particularly if you include a picture of the office cat!
Your audience will come from a wide range of demographics. The trick is to work out what content is working for each channel/demographic combination in line with your SMART goals.
Keep Track of Engagement With this “Short-Cut”
Use a URL shortener to track who, where and when people clicked on that custom address. You can have different links for the same destination to reflect which channel they saw it on.
You share your valuable content and track engagement.
This could be visits to a page, shares of your links or even likes. So long as you’re recording the channel source and engagement metrics you can start doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
You can track links to other people’s content that you share too. Adding a bit of curation to the mix can save a lot of work!
The people who are interested in your product related content are your leads.
You bring them in as subscribers and purchasers. You can set up content funnels with landing pages specific to the source of the lead. If they click on an image on Twitter but arrive at a landing page that looks completely different, they’ll be a lot less likely to sign up.
Don’t neglect the rest!
A Successful Social Media Strategy Is Not Just Sales And Leads
Your social media accounts are where you engage with your audience. This is not a one way conversation. You are building a community around your brand.
If someone replies to a tweet, make it clear that you’re happy to talk.
Don’t take the “likes” for granted either. If someone has taken the trouble to click that button, they have at least read what you wrote and were interested enough to engage. Drop in on their profile, see what else they’re interested in. They may be sharing things that you can engage with. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Customer service is an area where answering questions in an open and authentic way makes a big impression. Avoid boiler-plate cut and paste responses. Remember some of your next customers may be watching.
If someone shares your content, see if there is any way you can return the favor. The right people are the ones who appreciate that sort of attention.
Your content is where your customers will find you, make it easy to share. Use the right image formats for the platform. Badly cropped images can make your sharer’s timeline look bad – they won’t want that!
Have fun and be positive
Remember, regular social media users are always looking for ways to be entertained and informed. If you can use your natural creativity to attract the right attention then this will do more for your brand than any amount of scheduled, repetitive promotions of your products or services.
Have fun, and treat the time that people devote to reading your content with respect.
It’s Time To Get The Conversation Started
There’s plenty of advice on how to create a social strategy and sites full of social media marketing tips out there.
This is all good stuff but remember that no matter how good your social strategy, it’s up to you to make it work for you and your business.
You have to share valuable content, track the engagement statistics, and feed this into your ongoing research and refinement.
Long story short, a holistic approach to social media is all about conversations with real people.