Delivering a return on investment with social media is a strategic choice. It’s a choice that requires planning on your part to see it work. Are you ready?
First you need to know why you’re on social media in the first place.
Many organizations have a presence on social media out of necessity and to simply stay relevant and ‘seen’. This is a totally acceptable reason btw. Be where your competitors/customers are (so they say). Other reasons could be:
- Make sales (directly through social media)
- Educate prospects
- Lead generation/List building
- Generate awareness (of your brand, product or service)
You don’t have to pick just one but you should have one or two overarching goals.
There are several experts out there with tips on how to craft better posts. If you’re a new business it may take a while to find your ‘groove’ but it’s important to find it. You’ll want to look at the following areas:
- Post type: There are several types of posts out there like polls, quotes, stats, info sharing (links), selfies, behind the scenes, videos, etc. Find a blend that work for your audience and get them engaged.
- Post copy/messaging: Think about the language you’re using. Avoid any jargon or technical terms, determine a length of copy and maybe even a format.
- Post visuals: Try to find a blend of design that fits your brand. Photography versus illustration? Professional stock images versus self or amateur photography?
- Post frequency: I don’t anyone that anticipates company social media posts but people will notice the absence if you’re suddenly not there. So decide how many times a week or day you want to post.
Three tips as you get going!
1. Loosen your brand a bit on social media (just a bit). It’s important to make sure your brand is recognized, but design constraints can sometimes impede engagement. You want to be loose enough to take advantage of spontaneity but not so loose that your brand gets lost in the message. This can be a tricky thing to understand right away and may take a bit to find that balance. Don’t sweat it!
2. Do not rely on your designer to create all your social media images as it creates a bottle neck. Save their time for special social media campaigns that you want to be on point. Instead, look at creating templates in Canva or another easy design program. If this scares you, have your designer make up some templates for you to use for specific post types that you can change the content and post on your own.
3. Schedule time to look at social media. Block it off and make sure you have an end-time too (can be a bit of a rabbit hole). This time should be spent reading comments, responding to comments, liking, following, etc. Just generally engage on your channels! Build connections with your die-hard fans and partner with other businesses – these are the ones that share your content, make helpful and supportive comments and essentially increase the reach of your post
Then you need to have a list of actions that you can track via social media e.g. visiting a page, clicking a button, etc. Each post should have a purpose with some kind of call to action. This is easy to forget (I forget too sometimes) but if you plan it out in pieces your posts will come together like a puzzle:
Be specific and think of it as a ‘next step’ for your audience. Your CTA could be to Like, Share, Comment, Visit a link, Download something, Send an email, Watch a video, etc. But make sure you actually tell them what to do with what you’re giving them!
Also, get your links ready. For example, you should have the URL of the landing page included in the post. If you are tracking the links based on channel or campaign, make sure you’re using the correct URL that correlates to the channel and CTA that you’re measuring. Have those URLs in a spreadsheet and on-hand. It will make your social media scheduling so much easier. This is especially important if you’re using UTM tracking.
For Instagram, make sure you use a platform that allows you to direct to different URLS/links. I’ve tried these but there are others:
I also like to use a program to schedule out a certain percentage of my posts. I use Hootsuite but again, there are others you can check out e.g. SproutSocial.com. I like to make sure that some of my content is current and personal so I leave room for those types of posts as it allows me to better connect with my community.
The last piece is to track, measure and record the results. You should measure the effectiveness of your CTA among other things and there are a plethora of ways to do this. You can do this through Google Analytics if you’re tracking links or using tags. You can do this through your social media platforms (but then you need to export and consolidate) or you can do this through a social media manager program like SproutSocial which has built-in reporting. I always find it best to track in an excel sheet as platforms change and often there is additional data that you want to add. For example, a sale may contribute to an increase in clicks and sales. Keep tracking of this can help you make future decisions around timing and tactics.
The last part of this, and the key to this puzzle, is to add a dollar amount to the actions taken. This is a combination of applying experience and guess work as you should know how much incoming clients are worth to your business. How much is it worth to grow your email list? Build your following? Educate prospects? Whatever your original goals were. This is all part of your sales funnel or pipeline and it often takes time to figure this part out. But it’s absolutely key if you aren’t doing any actual selling on your social media. As you measure you should also be applying these amounts to your funnel and tracking the accuracy as you go. This seems a bit like hocus pocus, however, if you feel like the task is impossible it’s likely you have a few gaps in your funnel and you should look at what these gaps are and how to fix them. For example, you might be missing the step that moves social followers to an email list, or your email list to booking a call or making a purchase. Closing the loop in your marketing makes it easier to see the ROI and apply it to new customers.
So, it may look at first glance that social media is a fun and frivolous job, and for some it may be, but NOT FOR YOU. Take a look at each of these steps and take stock in what you’re posting and what you (as a business) are getting back from your efforts. Good luck!
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