Almost every kind of business is jumping on the social media marketing(SMM) bandwagon nowadays, and if you haven’t yet, it’s probably time to reconsider your decision. Before you dismiss SMM as yet another internet hype, let’s look at some data provided before we help you with some guidelines on how to get started.
The Data Don’t Lie
Social Media Examiner’s sixth annual social media study showed that 92% of marketers concur that social media is important for their business, and that social media marketing efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses. Whether you are looking to increase traffic to your website, convert browsers to sales, add on to your list of leads or build credibility to your brand, there is a way with social media. And to add the cherry on the cake, your efforts will be measurable. Sounds good yet?
How Do I Start?
If you are new to SMM, fear not, because so many people use it these days means you can find tonnes of free resources to help you. It’s a huge topic, but you need to know briefly what your goals are, the resources you need, the tools and channels available and how to measure your returns.
If not, you can always pick our brains here at Pixel Tie for some quick guidance:
Do not make the mistake of some businesses who jump on the SMM hype to start a Facebook Page and then let the account sit in neglect. Always start with your goals. Ask yourself what do you want to achieve?
2) Choose the right channel for your target audience
If you still think Facebook and Twitter are the only two social media channel, you probably got to expand your social media vocabulary. While Facebook is still one of the most popular social networking sites, it may not be the best channel if you are a law firm targeting companies who need legal advice.
- Facebook – a pioneer you can’t neglect. There are more than 1 billion active user accounts on Facebook and continues to be one of the largest social media platform. Facebook Business pages offer companies an easy way to start a presence on social media, build up a user community and engage feedback. You can also use advertising to target relevant audiences as well as bring traffic to your site by publishing quality content.
- Twitter – With a 140-character limit, the platform is useful for providing updates, bite-sized news and tweeting opinions. It’s great for building up a brand or as an authority in a specific topic by attracting like-minded followers. You can also use promoted tweets to reach a wider audience, as well as categorise your followers into Twitter lists for various uses.
- Linkedin – Standing apart from other social media channel is Linkedin, which markets itself as a ‘professional’ network focusing more on B2B connections. While most individuals use Linkedin as an online resume, the ‘professional’ nature of it makes it a credible tool for businesses. Other than building a company page(lead gen!), showcases your company’s projects and portfolio, gives you a publishing platform and gets you quality leads through relevant interest groups. If you are looking at B2B marketing, Linkedin tops the rank in quality leads.
Other than these 3 major social media platforms, there are various others, depending on how you want to reach your audience. Prefer video to words on a page? You’ve got Youtube and Vine. Fancy longer form content or content communities? Then you should try out Medium and Quora.
It’s not going to be easy, this much we can say about a SUCCESSFUL SMM campaign or strategy. It’s not just about money’ in fact, it’s less about the money because a well thought-out strategy can be much cheaper compared to traditional marketing tactics. Resources you need to employ includes manpower to produce content (posts, copywriting for ads, sharable content), engagement (prompt replies on your company pages), PR training (for consistent brand strategy and voice) as well as metrics to measure your investments.
And the most important of all… Time. Why? Because it makes no sense to spend huge on advertising to get thousands of irrelevant ‘fans’ or ‘followers’ overnight to like your page. Time is needed to build credibility and trust and you can’t just ‘engage’ people by being present for one week of your entire Facebook life.
So if you don’t plan, then plan to fail. The success of a social media marketing strategy requires consistency and measurement so allocate an appropriate amount of time for that. Ideally, you need about 2 hours per day on implementation (crafting your headlines, copywriting a brief synopsis of your post, finding an ideal picture, boosting your posts with ad-spend) and an extra hour a week for reviewing your strategy on Mondays, and an hour on Friday for measurement.
And if managing all that social media accounts all at once sounds too daunting for you, consider using Buffer or Hootsuite as a centralised dashboard for managing all your social media accounts, scheduling posts and measure the impact of your marketing effort.
4) Measuring your ROI
Yes, we’ve kept this part to the last, because we know its probably every marketer’s concern and Key Performance Indicator (KPI). Well, similar to measuring the returns on User Experience Design, the returns on your SMM efforts are concrete and definitely measureable. There’s probably hundreds of ways to do it, it just depends on how much time and resources you have. First, let’s divide it into the good ol’ quantitative vs qualitative.
Measuring Social Media Marketing ROI
|Followers/Fans – the most direct metric most marketers look at but shouldn’t be used as the only way of measurement. This is due to the ease of using ad-spend to boost the number.||Sentiment analysis – sentiment analysis goes beneath the number of shares and mentions of your brand to analyse the emotions and opinions behind.You can either use automated tools such as Social Mention and Icerocket, or simply set up a few manual ones of your own to monitor keywords or your brand name.|
|Engagement – provides a more meaningful measurement as it gives you an idea whether your audience care enough to respond. You can measure engagement by number of shares, retweets, likes or how long someone is staying on a page to read your content.||Social Evidence – these comes in the form of positive reviews, testimonials and recommendations. What’s important, they are obvious as well. Remember to optimise these positive feedback by taking a screenshot and re-using them on your website or social media channels.|
|Influence – influence borders on the qualitative side, but some tools have attempted to put that down to a number. One such tool uses a klout score to determine the influence you have to drive people to action on social media.|
|Click-through rates (CTR) – CTR has been around since digital ads came about, and continues as a great measurement as social media content becomes ‘ads’, driving people back to your website.|
At the end of the day, remember that metrics and data are just numbers. Try not to be too caught up in measurements. You need to ask yourself what you can do with them – Can it be used to improve your strategy? Transform those numbers into a sales proposal? If you realise that there are no key insights from the metrics you are looking at, then you might want to reconsider using it at all.
Social media marketing when done right can lead to more customers, conversions and build brand reputation. It becomes even more effective when used together with a comprehensive digital strategy. If you’re interested to find out more, feel free to contact Pixel Tie for a consultation.