Social media is an extension of your business and can serve as your brand’s voice to the public. Your social media strategy must be aligned with your communication strategy, corporate brand promise and organizational strategic guidelines. Commit to creating and sharing valuable content. Focus on the needs of the customers and the buying cycle. Offer your customers something they can use or that provides value to them. Here are a few other tips to help your social media program.
Social media goals should be related to business goals. In other words, social media should serve to further a business interest and ultimately the bottom line. The goals should be action-oriented, concise, realistic, and measurable. Each goal should clearly convey its impact on cost or revenue or its alignment to other strategic initiatives. Social media goals can revolve around a wide variety of considerations such as brand awareness, website traffic, customer service or acquisition, or product launches.
Studies show that the type of followers a brand attracts on social media sites matters more than the number. Roughly 1% will generate 20% of a brand’s traffic by sharing content with others. Followers within this 1% are considered to be influencers and they drive a significantly higher conversion rate than other followers.
The key to leveraging the 1% is to connect with them in an authentic way, focusing on building relationships and not trying to sell them on the brand. Frequent interaction counts. It’s better to engage with your influencers on a regular basis in small doses than to overwhelm them with interaction on an infrequent basis.
Most social media budgets are part of a business’s overall marketing budget. On average, companies spend five to 15 percent of their marketing budget on social media. When developing your social media budget, you’ll need to allocate resources for social media specialists, content creation and editing, and graphic design. You may also need technical support resources and software subscriptions and tools.
Before creating your team, be sure that you’re clear about who your targeted audience is, how to engage them, and what your social media goals are. Social media knowledge and communication skills aren’t the only traits you should look for. Team members should be passionate about your business and brand and should be interested in communicating that passion to your target audience. They should also be detail-oriented and able to manage multiple tasks concurrently.
Specific responsibilities should be based on each team member’s strength and the goals of the social media strategy. Team members should have business-related skills, such as customer advocacy, writing, and editorial planning. The ideal mix of these skills will differ depending on what business objectives you are looking to achieve. Your team should also have at least one member who is comfortable dealing with data and basic statistics. This skill is crucial to measure campaign performance and ROI and also to identify and understand which efforts are working and which are not.
Part of your social media strategy should be to determine what you plan to offer your customers in exchange for the time they spend engaging with your brand. Today, it’s no longer enough to simply ask people to “follow” or “like” you. The social media landscape is getting crowded and people are looking for a compelling reason to be a fan or follower. Simply stated, they want to know what’s in it for them. You should create an obvious value exchange and communicate it in a persuasive and clear manner.
Below are some common value exchanges:
Once you have defined your social media strategy, assembled a social media team, and started building your social community, you may be tempted to coast. Community building isn’t easy and usually requires a long-term effort. Two of the biggest mistakes that derail community building are failing to maintain a social media presence and failing to monitor campaign performance.
Creating and maintaining an editorial calendar at least a month in advance will help guide your team on who will post what content and when and where they will post it. Editorial calendars can remove some of the uncertainty about what to post but they need to be flexible enough to accommodate changes in response to your community. Monitoring your campaign’s performance will help you understand what your community wants and what it doesn’t want, allowing you to focus on what works.
Social media provides an excellent platform to get your message out, respond to customers and obtain customer feedback. Many people make the mistake of assuming that since it’s free to create profiles and pages on social media, the cost of failure is minimal. While social media is less expensive than many other traditional forms of marketing, it still has a real cost in terms of time and resources. In addition, due to the nature of the medium, social media failures tend to spread much faster than traditional marketing failures. Your brand’s exposure to negative word of mouth and reputation damage can be much greater with social media campaigns. Therefore, it is imperative to implement a campaign that has adequate resources, a well-planned strategy, and a highly effective and knowledgeable team.
Programs such as the University of San Francisco’s Advanced Social Media Certificate can give you the skills and training you need to help you protect your brand while expanding your reach and minimizing the potential for ineffective or damaging social media campaigns.