For those of you posting for your business without a social strategy stop immediately! We have a saying in the Connect Plus offices, “Doing social media is easy. Aligning your social investment to business goals to drive desired outcomes takes more than a pretty Facebook page!”
We sit down with numerous businesses to look at various aspects of their social media and we always come back to three simple questions (the answers may take a little longer to answer!):
- What are your business goals?
- How will social media help us deliver our goals?
- How am I going to resource our social media?
So let’s break those down further.
What are your business goals?
Where do you want your business to be in 3 years, what are your goals re sales, customer service, team development etc. We all have a business plan (and if you don’t we need to have a chat about that), or a basic roadmap of why we are working and what we want the end result to be. So now we have the answer to the first question it’s time to ask….
How will social media help us deliver our goals?
Social Media connects you directly to your customers, it’s the fastest way to find out what customers think of your product or service, just ask your local café. But why else would your business engage in social media marketing?
Richer Customer Experiences: Social media, at its core, is a communication channel like email or phone calls. Every customer interaction you have on social media is an opportunity to publicly demonstrate your customer service level and enrich your relationship with your customers. For example, if a customer complains about your product on Twitter, you can immediately address the comment, apologise publicly, and take action to make it right. Or, if a customer compliments you, you can thank them and recommend additional products. It’s a personal experience that lets customers know you care about them.
Improved Customer Insights. Social media also gives you an opportunity to gain valuable information about what your customers are interested in and how they behave, via social listening. For example, you can monitor user comments to see what people think of your business directly. You can segment your content syndication lists based on topic and see which types of content generate the most interest—and then produce more of that type of content. You can measure conversions based on different promotions posted on various
Increase Brand Recognition: Your social media networks are just new channels for your brand’s voice and content. This is important because it simultaneously makes you easier and more accessible for new customers, and makes you more familiar and recognisable for existing customers. For example, a frequent Twitter user could hear about your company for the first time only after stumbling upon it in a newsfeed. Or, an otherwise apathetic customer might become better acquainted with your brand after seeing your presence on multiple networks.
Improved Brand Loyalty: According to a recent report, brands who engage on social media channels enjoy higher loyalty from their customers. The report concludes “Companies should take advantage of the tools social media gives them when it comes to connecting with their audience. A strategic and open social media plan could prove influential in morphing consumers into being brand loyal.” There have also been numerous reports indicating that people who follow brands in social are more loyal to those brands.
Higher Brand Authority: Interacting with your customers regularly is a show of good faith for other customers. When people go to compliment or brag about a product or service, they turn to social media. And when they post your brand name, new audience members will want to follow you for updates. The more people that are talking about you on social media, the more valuable and authoritative your brand will seem to new users. Not to mention, if you can interact with major influencers on Twitter or other social networks, your visible authority and reach will skyrocket.
Decreased Marketing Costs: Even paid advertising through Facebook and Instagram is relatively cheap (depending on your goals, of course). Start small and you’ll never have to worry about going over budget—once you get a better feel for what to expect, you can increase your budget and increase your conversions correspondingly.
Better Search Engine Rankings: SEO is the best way to capture relevant traffic from search engines, but the requirements for success are always changing. It’s no longer enough to regularly update your blog, ensure optimised title tags and meta descriptions, and distribute links pointing back to your site. Google and other search engines may be calculating their rankings using social media presence as a significant factor, because of the fact that strong brands almost always use social media. As such, being active on social media could act as a “brand signal” to search engines that your brand is legitimate, credible, and trustworthy. That means, if you want to rank for a given set of keywords, having a strong social media presence could be almost mandatory. (PS: Don’t forget to add a social media feed to your website – it’s all about marketing integration!)
Increased Inbound Traffic: Without social media, your inbound traffic is limited to people already familiar with your brand and individuals searching for keywords you currently rank for. Every social media profile you add is another path leading back to your site, and every piece of content you syndicate on those profiles is another opportunity for a new visitor. The more quality content you syndicate on social media, the more inbound traffic you’ll generate, and more traffic means more leads and more conversions.
Higher conversion rates: Social media marketing results in higher conversion rates in a few distinct ways. Perhaps the most significant is its humanisation element; the fact that brands become more humanised by interacting in social media channels. Social media is a place where brands can act like people do, and this is important because people like doing business with other people; not with companies. Additionally, studies have shown that social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing, and a higher number of social media followers tends to improve trust and credibility in your brand, representing social proof. As such, simply building your audience in social media can improve conversion rates on your existing traffic.
More Opportunities to Convert: Every post you make on a social media platform is an opportunity for customers to convert. When you build a following, you’ll simultaneously have access to new customers, recent customers, and old customers, and you’ll be able to interact with all of them. Every blog post, image, video, or comment you share is a chance for someone to react, and every reaction could lead to a site visit, and eventually a conversion. Not every interaction with your brand results in a conversion, but every positive interaction increases the likelihood of an eventual conversion. Even if your click-through rates are low, the sheer number of opportunities you have on social media is significant
And while this list highlights the huge potential for social media marketing to deliver your business goals, there is still a lack of understanding on how to achieve successful outcomes.
So on to the last question, and this is a biggie and key to your business success.
How am I going to resource our social media?
This is a biggie, we often get told; my daughter will look after it, or we’ll get our receptionist to look after it. Which is fine in itself but do you get your daughter or receptionist to run other aspects of your marketing or customer service. Social Media is the most interactive customer and marketing channel there is so it’s important that you resource it wisely. If your daughter (or son for that matter) or your receptionist is in charge of social media for your business give them the tools to succeed. Ensure they get training, have a clear understanding of what your business is wanting to achieve and as importantly what the right social platforms for your business. Making a mistake online doesn't go away in today's digital era so it's more imperative than ever to ensure that your online brand isn't damaged through a bad social media game.
So let’s have a chat about your social media marketing. Connect with us today and unleash the power of what social media can deliver your business.