With over 3.4 billion active social media users, it’s no wonder that brands and companies are flocking to social media platforms for marketing. Additionally, 54% of all social users use social media to research and purchase products. With today’s technology, businesses can reach their customers at any time of the day, directly on their screens. They can create a meaningful connection with these individuals, regardless of where they are in the world.
Social media is a gold mine for marketers, and these five simple tips can help you launch a successful marketing campaign.
1. PRACTICE PATIENCE
Social media can offer instant connections and conversations with followers, but the results of campaigns are anything but instant. People often jump into social media marketing expecting their goals will be met quickly, and aren’t prepared for the time and effort it takes to cultivate a strong brand and following online. Whether you are just starting your social media campaigns or are merely looking to expand your presence, remember that good things take time. Social media is a long-term commitment that takes continuous effort — don’t toss in the towel early.
To Do: Instead of focusing on following masses of people, look for places where communities thrive (think Twitter chats, active Facebook professional groups, and LinkedIn Q&A forums.) By offering something of value, like answering a question, asking one, or even pointing to a great article that you found useful, you can start becoming an integral part of that community and bypass the stigma of “pushy marketer.”
2. RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH
One of the most compelling things about social media is how it is continuously shifting. Best practices on a platform one month can completely change in the next month. Research (constant research) is an essential key to success on any social media platform. When you are researching your different sites, find answers to some of these questions:
- On what platforms are your intended markets most active?
- What kind of content performs best on these sites?
- Currently, what are the best practices for times to post?
These questions are stepping stones to setting up your brand online. For the best chances of success, you should return to these questions frequently and update your answers as you learn more about each site and what content has been drawing the most engagement.
To Do: Check out sites like Quora and even Reddit to find out what issues and sticky situations your target market is trying to solve. By learning the answer to the crucial question: “What is keeping them up at night?” you can start to create buyer personas that go beyond just simple demographics.
3. TRACK THE RIGHT METRICS
Determining the success of your efforts on social media can be a tricky path. It’s vital to sit down and discuss the key performance indicators (KPIs) that you will use to track your transformation. Often when people first start using social media strategies, they get wrapped up in what we call “vanity metrics.” Vanity metrics, while flashy on the outside, are only surface-level measures of your success. Some examples of vanity metrics include:
A brand that has a large number of views on posts might seem like they’re performing well; however, this metric doesn’t shed any light on whether their posts are truly driving traffic to their website or products. Instead, focus on metrics such as these:
Engagement is an umbrella term for the total amount of interactions your post gathers. This metric includes shares, comments, and reactions to your content. The higher the level of engagement on a post is, the more likely your content resonates with your intended audience.
This metric allows for quantifiable data that shows just how successful your campaigns are at generating leads.
Tracking the followers of your account and comparing that to competitors can offer insight on the success of your campaigns. If your competitors are gaining way more followers than you are, and are engaging these followers more successfully, then you may need to tweak your strategy to better interact with your audience. An excellent tool for tracking analytics: Brandwatch. Thousands of brands use this tool, which offers in-depth data for you to analyze.
To Do: Setting expectations early on is key to understanding which metrics can and will matter to your brand in regards to social media. For a simple SaaS application that’s easy to download, you may be able to track downloads, but for a larger, more complicated B2B sale, the cycle can take weeks or even months to see social media impact. In the latter scenario, it’s more likely you’ll want to track brand recognition and engagement.
4. LATHER, RINSE, REPEAT
Social media isn’t one-size-fits-all. Trends change quickly, and staying on top of best practices on each platform takes some work. It requires constant tweaking to update your campaign strategy and the changing preferences of your audience. Remember to always be tracking your performance and changing your strategy to best optimize your brand for success.
To Do: It WILL be tempting to post more to get better results. Unfortunately, in the world of B2B, this often backfires, as people go to social media in large part, to interact. Do not apply B2C trends to B2B social media marketing, as everything from engagement to web traffic, will be far lower. Even posting times are impacted by consumer vs professional social media marketing, and further by industry. Stay on top of all of it.
5. ASK FOR HELP
It’s impossible to know everything when it comes to social media. Stay humble and accept that you will need help to reach the levels of success you intend. Ask friends for tips, take online certification classes, or even hire a kickass agency to help optimize your social media marketing strategy for you (ahem Red Branch Media). It takes a team to manage your social media accounts. Work with those around you to help bring your brand to the next level.
Success on social media takes practice and patience. Taking the time and effort to analyze your campaigns and metrics provides invaluable insights into whether or not your strategy is resonating well with your audience. Remember that just because the shoe fits for one platform doesn’t mean that it fits for all the others.
To Do: Create a “living” social media strategy and add to it as you continue your social media marketing education. Hear a great tip? Add it in, but more importantly, examine the “why” behind the tip. Did you just find out videos for your company do really well on Saturday? Why is that? How can you leverage it in other areas? What does it tell you about your target prospects? When you start looking at the why behind what succeeds and what fails, you’ll take your social media marketing to the next level.
This article was originally published on the Red Branch Media Blog by Jake Johnson.