Everyone is on social. Social is important. Social is a channel that your customers expect you to be active and engaged on. I mean, all the cool kids are doing it, right?
But as with so many other social endeavors, for a lot of marketers, social media leaves us feeling a little overwhelmed, a little lost, and a little out of the loop.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like my high school lunchroom nightmares all over again.
Social media marketing doesn’t have to be painful though—or futile. Just like surviving the interpersonal buzzsaw that is secondary school, it’s all about finding your tribe, doing what you love, and embracing what you’re good at. So, let’s start with some soul-searching. Here are ____ questions to ask as yourself as you embark on a social media makeover.
What’s your personality?
Social media channels were not developed with businesses in mind—they were developed for actual people (yes, even LinkedIn). Businesses just realized there was a big party going on without them and showed up late. So, your brand becomes extra important when you’re creating and sharing content on social. No one logs in to Facebook looking to weed through pendantic text about product benefits, software specifications, or straight up sales pitches. They want to be entertained and engaged. Find your voice. Relate to your audience. This doesn’t mean you have to become the class clown—serious kids have their place in the lunchroom jungle too. Just be sure to define what your brand personality is before you develop your social strategy, then, let that freak flag fly.
Where are your favorite hangouts?
Just like different high school groups clearly stake out territory, there are special corners of the web for all kinds. Point being, there are lots of social networks; you probably won’t fit in in every one. Take a step back and think about what your brand does, and who you are marketing to. If you’re B2B, and you sell software, you probably don’t have awesome content for Instagram, and your potential buyers likely only know Snapchat as one of the most annoying things their kids do at the dinner table. LinkedIn though, will likely be a sweet spot to reach your audience. Spend time on the places where you’ll actually cross paths with your people.
Who do you really want to be friends with?
Remember those magnetic people that you wanted so badly to be friends with? They weren’t necessarily the cool kids—they were the ones who didn’t care. They knew exactly what they were about, and they were excited to tell you about it. The world of social media has this same beyond cool crowd. They’re known as influencers, and trust me—you want to be friends with them. Influencers on social media are individuals (actual people, not brands) with an active presence and a significant and engaged audience. They’re people other people listen to, and positive mentions from the right influencer within your industry or topical space can pay big dividends for your brand.
We all trust our friends (or the people we’d love to be friends with) long before a brand when they say a product is awesome; the power of influencers is that they offer this social proof. But, how do you go about catching the attention of these social media rock stars? There’s a few ways to do it, but it all comes back to genuine engagement. Start with always being responsive to these individuals if and when they do mention or share your brand’s content. And be reciprocal! Follow them, share their posts, comment on their content. Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out, especially if you know they already use (and like) your product. Ask them to talk about and share a recent product enhancement or a key piece of content—or better yet convince your influencer to create content for you. And remember, a little incentive will never hurt (read: get the gift cards ready).
Are you hanging out with the wrong crowd?
Did you ever hang out with a group of kids that you had the sneaking suspicion would ditch you without a second thought the second a better offer came along? You might have some similar frenemies among your brand’s social media followers—and Mom and Dad were right all along: you don’t want to waste your time on them.
Social media followers come to you in all shapes and sizes, and for all kinds of reasons. Maybe you ran a giveaway contest on Facebook five years ago when their rules about those kind of things were way more lax. Maybe you’ve been running some paid advertising that’s bringing in a crowd. Or maybe you’ve added to your product mix (or gone through a merger) and you really don’t want to be talking to the same people you have been in the past. If you’re in a situation like this, the size of your social media following might be irrelevant, because chances are, you don’t have engaged followers. Make the effort to start weeding through your crop of social media followers, and figure out who you real friends are. Who’s liking your posts, sharing your content, mentioning you in their own posts, or taking the time to comment? These are the people you want to surround your brand with, and it’s the users who are demographically similar to them that you want to add to your following. And, if you have any true bullies in your followers, it’s okay to block them.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Having clear goals and staying focused on them is the best way to survive the social chaos of high school hallways unscathed. Turns out, it’s the best way to make efforts on social media an asset for your brand as well. The best way to build your social presence is to go in with a plan. Decide why you want to be on social: do you want to build brand recognition, generate leads, provide customer service, or something else? Unless you’re a huge brand with lots of resources, you won’t be able to do all of this. Then, determine where the people you want to talk to are (see #2), and decide which channels you are going to focus your time and energy on. Next, start thinking about the type of content you’ll post and how you’ll go about scheduling. Come up with a regular posting cadence specifying what type of post you’ll share on each channel and at what time—trust me, if you don’t, you’ll find yourself constantly paranoid about whether or not you actually scheduled that post or not. Make sure everyone involved knows what they’re responsible for, and keep lines of communication clear among the team. Finally, think about metrics. Set specific, numeric goals around your social efforts, and figure out how you will measure those.
Tracking how social efforts are contributing to larger organizational goals is key to refining your efforts and getting buy-in from the people holding the purse strings. Leveraging UTM parameters is a great strategy to track whether or not your social posts are enticing your followers to do what you want them to, and what kind of social content is resonating. UTM tags can tell you which specific posts, as well as broader networks, are driving traffic back to your websites—and ultimately leading to conversions. It’s one of the few effective means of cutting through the chaos of social media, and offering concrete evidence to what your efforts are accomplishing.
Ready to go flaunt those social (media) skills? Give CampaignTracker a try to make sure that you’re keeping tabs on all of your well-planned efforts—all the cool kids are doing it 😉