Are you utilizing social media to its fullest potential? Many businesses say they have a social media presence, but are failing to use these sites to the fullest extent. Social media is a fast-growing set of communities that are easy to market to. In addition to paid advertising on these sites, users can “like” your business’s page and opt in to future marketing. The content is easily shareable, so your current followers can show their friends your content with only a few clicks. In the United States, 79% of internet users are on Facebook, so the majority of your customer-base is easily accessible. How can you maximize your use of Facebook, Twitter, and any other social platform that may arise to prominence?
Well Executed Social Media Marketing
There are four stages of social media marketing: listening, influencing, networking, and selling. All four of these are somewhat intertwined, but all of social media marketing begins and ends with listening.
How do you know what your customers want? How are you going to improve your product/service in a way that benefits them? People are going to talk about your business, whether you’re aware of it or not. Some commentary is positive. Some are neutral, and may contain questions a potential customer has that can be easily responded to by a social media manager. Other comments are negative and should be addressed immediately so followers know you’re hearing them. Think of it like a customer support hotline.
You have five goals for this stage:
- Track public perception of your company, brand, and product(s)
- Identify the topics you need to address
- Keep a track of where your industry is heading
- Perform customer research
- Conduct competitive research
- Reputation: How do people talk about you online? Is it positive or negative?
- Retention Rate: Are you keeping existing customers and followers? If not, why?
- Refund Rate: Are you able to resolve issues without having to issue refunds?
- Product Gaps: What are customers suggesting for new products/features?
- Content Gaps: What content should you develop to help resolve issues or answer questions before they arise?
A feedback loop is crucial to customer care. A feedback loop is for your customer service team to respond to customer’s questions/negative comments in the best way possible. First, your social media manager will respond to these comments to let the person know that your company is listening and you want to help resolve the issue. They will then hand off the issue to the team they feel is best suited to help the person in question: customer care team, content team, or product team. The team responsible will then aim to address the issue, hoping to resolve it within 24 hours.
You’re always listening to customers, but at some point you need to begin influencing them as well. Since you’ve been listening to them and know what they think, this should be easy to do. Adding your voice as an authority-figure in your industry is the next step. There are many signs your social influence is growing, beyond follower count. Retweets, shares, hashtag usage, number of people clicking on your links … the list goes on and on.
- Increase engagement
- Start conversations about topics that are related to your business/industry
- Boost traffic to your site
- Build awareness to your products/services and offers
- Grow your retargeting list
- Site engagement rates: are you getting more shares and comments?
- Traffic by channel: traffic to your website from your social media channels should increase over time
- Offer awareness: people see and respond to the offers you make online
- Retargeting list growth: through retargeting, you are able to get your offers in front of people who are most likely to buy from you–and they respond by downloading lead magnets and subscribing
A big part of social media is being social, and it should be no different for your business. Being a social business is not all that different from being social on your personal accounts. If you think of your personal Facebook feed, you probably not only share status updates, but also pictures of what you did last weekend, funny videos of cats, and maybe even a news story or two. Everything you share is something you enjoy or find important enough to show your friends. The same goes for your business’s page, the only difference is everything shared on your business’s page should relate to your business.
- Share content that fills gaps in your in-house made content. This should relate to or target people at all different stages in the marketing funnel and skill levels
- Create goodwill with brands that are similar to yours
- Foster relationships with other brands to turn them into profitable partnerships
- Number of inbound links: a strong network will result in more links to your content and your website
- Number and description of earned media mentions: consider relevance and value of your mentions, and who they’re from
- Number and description of earned partnerships: are you reaching out to them or they you? How relevant are those brands to you?
You’ve been listening, building authority, and establishing relationships. Now is the time to start putting offers in front of your followers to convert them into customers. To do this, use as many channels as possible to maximize your reach. For example, if you’ve written a blog post, share it on your Facebook, twitter, and instagram, rather than just one or two. From there, your audience will click on the link to your blog, which contains an offer. If they enjoyed the content, they may even share the blog post with their own audience.
- Generate leads to grow your email list
- Acquire new customers and upsell/cross-sell existing customers
- Increase buyer frequency, turning one-time buyers into raving fans
- Number of leads: over time, your email list and follower counts should grow
- Offer conversion rate: are your offers converting to sales? If no, is your offer relevant to the prospect’s bottom-line desire?
- Buyer recency and frequency: Customers should buy repeatedly and often
Public Relations vs. Community Manager
There are two departments in charge of social media marketing: public relations and community management. The two overlap in that they both interact with your customers and represent who your business is, but they have different focuses. Public Relations focuses on the large scale. They are in charge of creating a positive brand perception. They make sure the overall image of the company is favorable and work to maintain that image. A community manager focuses on the smaller, more intimate interactions. They usually run the social media accounts and encourage member-to-member relationships.