Did you know that 74% of people now use Facebook for professional purposes*and that over 3 million businesses advertise on Facebook worldwide**?
Yet some of the biggest questions and comments that we get from clients include:
- Why social media?
- I do not seem to get results on social media, I know I need to do it, but it doesn't seem to work for us.
- How do I measure the results from social media?
- Does social media work for B2b?
Like other forms of marketing and PR, social media can feel like something you know you need to do but is tricky to go about it correctly. This can result in ad-hoc activity with little to no effect. It can be difficult to attribute the results and measurement can be confusing.
So why is social media marketing so important? How do we do it effectively and how do we measure the results?
Let's start with why social media should be part of your marketing mix
Social media is different from traditional SEO and Google Adwords marketing. Rather than someone punching in keywords and finding you, with social you have the opportunity to find new customers through data held by the social networks, such as Facebook & Twitter.
If you know the key demographics of your target audience, you can serve content to thousands of people, promoting your brand and driving traffic to your website. We can target things like interests, job titles, gender, age and much more, opening up endless opportunities for getting your message across to the right people.
While some social networks can be perceived as B2C or B2B, these stereotypes can be untrue. For example, nearly everyone has a Facebook account and most people check their account for at least one hour per day***! Additionally, people also give away a lot of information on their Facebook profile, from where they work to what industry they work in. This allows B2B companies to tap into this platform with potentially better results than say using traditional B2B networks such as Linkedin.
Here are our top reasons for businesses to use Social Media (check back as we will be writing articles on these specific topics soon!
- Relationship building
- It allows your business to express personality
- It can help drive traffic to your website
- It can help with SEO
- You can respond to complaints quickly
- It builds brand loyalty and repeat business
- People can easily recommend your service
- The advertising ROI can be incredible
So now that we have covered why social media is so important, how do we go about it effectively?
It all starts with a solid foundation. We recommend the following before commencing with a social media campaign:
- You must have a responsive website representative of your brand, presenting your companies personality in the best possible way.
- We recommend that your website has some form of analytics integrated, we recommend both Google Analytics and Heap.
- We recommend having an active blog, this will serve as a good source of shareable content on your social platforms.
- Creating a landing page to try and generate leads is also important. This will be a good place to link to when it comes to selling your service or products on social media.
- You need to identify which social media platforms would work well for your business. As a rule, Twitter and Facebook are a good place to start for practically all businesses.
- You need a social media plan. This can include an initial strategy, with tangible goals that you can easily measure. Check out our article on this for more information.
- We would recommend making use of automation apps such as Hootsuite in order to schedule content across your social platforms.
Top tip: If you need a new website, try Squarespace. It is easy to use, easy to manage and fully responsive.
Once the above points are in place, it is time to start posting to your social accounts. For the time being, refer back to your strategy and try to keep things consistent. Building up your following and keeping them engaged should be the goal at this stage. Experimenting with advertising is also recommended, ideally a Facebook "page like" campaign to build up your audience.
Get to grips with Hootsuite and try to plan your posts one week in advance. When it comes to posting, it is important to promote a range of content to your audience. 3rd part content, links to your blog and light-hearted posts should be a priority, with sales posts restricted to a couple per week initially. Focus on building your personality and tone. Include images in your posts and try to encourage comments.
Your next advertising experiments should be to "boost" a Facebook post with a limited budget. Play around with the audience demographics and see what results you get. Ideally you should boost a post that makes people curious about your content, perhaps an interesting blog article, or a link to your optimised landing page.
If you have followed the heap tutorial (initiated during account creation), you should have setup a number of "events". Using the reporting feature, within seconds you can measure what your social traffic is up to and how many events were completed by this traffic segment.
Twitter Analytics gives some very interesting data that you can use to improve your tweets. It clearly presents your most popular tweets, tweet impressions, and audience demographics. Use this information to replicate success.
Top tip: Heap and Google Analytics are both free and farily easy to setup - even without a web developer.
Facebook insights also offer similar data, additionally, if you have tried advertising, use the advert manager to assess spending, cost per click and actions generated from each of your adverts. Which ads worked best?
Measuring your social activity will enable you to make intelligent decisions about advertising spend, how much you want to post, how many resources you want to allocate to this channel and much more.
Don't forget, social media should be integrated into your other marketing efforts, e.g. email marketing, your website and direct mail. This can be achieved with links to your social profiles and social feeds on your site.
Top tip: You can import your email marketing list into Facebook & use this to build lookalike marketing lists as well as serving your list adverts.
We have only just scraped the surface in terms of what can be achieved with social media and I am sure this article will raise even more questions. We will aim to keep this article updated and will also create new guides on some of the topics raised.
At SocialSidekick we are always on hand to discuss your social media marketing needs. Services such as ours are a great way to get started with social media marketing, providing you with guidance, a plan and managed posts.
Keep checking back on this article for future updates.