So there is a lot of talk about social media and how it seems to be the wave of the future. Everyone has their basic list of do’s and don’ts. The big question is, what is really being done by businesses that are experiencing success using social media?
We read the stories about companies raving about how social media marketing has changed their life, shifted their business or increased their revenue by awesome percentages. What elements are they using in their campaigns? How can we replicate what they are doing and adjust it based on our industry?
I think I should first explain “success” in terms of social media. Each business that uses social media has a goal and this goal is specific to the individual needs of the company which means that success for me could be totally wrong with what you need from your campaign.
Some examples of these goals include:
- Increase brand awareness
- Repair damage done to your company image
- Improve customer service
- Attract more qualified leads
- Introduce a new product or service
So success would be different for each business and is determined by the purpose of their campaign or strategy.
Here are 10 essentials that need to be incorporated into your social media strategy.
Before you begin any type of campaign whether it’s social media, email marketing or whatever, you need to make sure your foundation is solid. Foundation in this sense is your online space or your website. Any online campaign or strategy leaves a breadcrumb trail straight to your website. Your website is the one place that you can have complete control over the user or visitor’s experience. You can have a killer social media campaign but if your website falls short all of your work will be done in vain.
Don’t believe the hype, just having a website is no longer sufficient. Buyers are smarter and have higher expectations than ever before. You have to give them value when they reach your website and you only have a few seconds to do so. In a short time-frame you have to show them how your business has impacted the lives of your buyers and just how kick-ass you are at what you do!
The Person Behind the Brand
Social media is about personal interaction. It’s about being able to connect more intimately with your audience and to do this there has to be a human face that’s visible on your platforms of choice. You need someone representing your brand that buyers can relate to.
It’s okay to get personal on social media as long as it’s done tactfully. No one wants to know about the fight you had last night with your BFF, but you can share things like what you’re currently reading or feedback about a great event you attended. People want to know that there are real people running your business that care about them and are available to answer questions or provide support.
Social media should only be a part of your strategy, not your only strategy so time management is important. It’s so easy to get caught up chatting with friends and fans or scrolling your timeline. Each day you should set aside a specific amount of time to manage your social media profiles. You can track yourself by using the stop watch on your phone, an alarm clock or even an inexpensive kitchen timer.
As mentioned earlier in this article you need to create a purpose for your social media marketing efforts. It’ll be really hard to develop a solid campaign if you don’t know what you want to get out of it.
No one likes a copy cat. Don’t build your campaign or strategy off another company’s swag. You need to figure out how to make your business message unique and memorable. Buyers can sniff out “bull” fairly easy these days so authenticity is key. Having your own voice doesn’t mean you have to do anything wild and crazy, sometimes just being genuine and caring is all it takes.
Conversation vs. Content
There is still a tug of war between marketers and social media experts on “Conversation vs. Content”. Some say that to get the best social media experience, the strategy has to be built around conversations and others say that content should be the priority. Both sides feel that both components are necessary, they just disagree on which one should have dominance.
I think that it starts with content so I guess you know which side of the fence I’m on. Great content will make it easier for you to have meaningful conversation that adds value with your audience.
Spread the Love
Social media is about sharing useful information so it’s okay to retweet or share content from other sources with your followers. This will show your buyers that you’re not there for selfish reasons and that you want to help them by giving them great content even if you didn’t create it. Sharing is definitely a sign of caring.
Life is About Choices
You can’t be everywhere so you have to choose which platforms you want to focus on. Your choice should be based on where your buyers are and not on the popularity of the platform. Spreading yourself too thin is an easy way to fail in running a great campaign.
What the Numbers Say
Tracking your results is a necessary yet tedious process. Staying on top of the numbers will help answer the following questions:
- Is my campaign working?
- Am I reaching the right people?
- Am I on the right platform?
- How is my timing?
Don’t Be a One Hitter Quitter
At the end of the day, my biggest tip is to hang in there. Growing a successful business is about both strategy and endurance. Don’t go into it thinking that one or two campaigns will drastically affect your ROI. These things take time and the numbers for each business are often different because of the many variables involved. After all Aesop said it best – “Slow and Steady Wins the Race”.