Social media marketing is here to stay and has become one the most commonly used avenues to acquire new customers and leads, with over 93% of marketers leveraging it as a key channel.
As research on the effectiveness of social media marketing continues to pile up, it’s becoming apparent that there is a host of benefits that come along with this marketing tactic such as:
- Efficiency – Social media marketing increased traffic for over 78% of marketers with as few as 6 hours a week dedicated to social media management.
- Improved Brand Loyalty – A whopping 53% of Americans who follow a company on social media are more loyal to that brand.
- A Wider Audience – 81% of key decision makers utilize the information found in online communities and blogs to inform their purchasing decisions.
- Better Customer Vetting – Buyers who feel a strong connection to a brand are 60% more likely to buy from that brand and even pay a premium for it when compared to buyers with a weak brand connection.
Putting your resources into social media marketing can be one of the most profitable decisions your company has ever made – if done right.
In this blog post, I’ll discuss how you can create a profitable social media marketing plan. Included are a few tips on content, measuring ROI, and several tools you can use to make your social media campaign work to yield positive results.
7 Key Strategies to a Profitable Social Media Marketing Campaign
1) Do Your Research: Understand the importance of knowing your audience and creating detailed, comprehensive buyer personas.
Make sure you understand your ideal audience and find out where they are spending their time on social media. While social media moguls Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are pretty standard presences for most businesses these days, there may actually be an entire social media platform dedicated exclusively to your market.
There are an ever-growing number of these niche social media platforms: WAYN for travelers, Gaia Online for gaming, Flixter for the film industry, LawLink for lawyers, Ozmosis for healthcare professionals, All Recipes for cooks, just to name a few. Platforms like Reddit are also worth considering as they feature subgroups that cater to almost every interest imaginable.
Beyond finding the right platform, knowing your audience can also give you insight into how you can best appeal to them. Do they prefer a professional, rational tone that gets straight to the point or are they more responsive to a light-hearted voice with flashes of personality?
And going even further, what types of content do they engage with the most? Are they into short and snappy blog posts, long and detailed guides, or well-produced videos? Be sure to vary your content mediums along the way to keep it fresh, but knowing what your ideal customer responds to most can help you decide where to put the bulk of your efforts and which pieces to feature on your social media pages.
2) Produce Your Own Content: One of the most important strategies for building an effective social media presence is to invest in producing your own content, such as:
- Blog posts
- How-to guides
- White papers
Creating your own high-quality, relevant content and then linking to it through social media will help position your authority and increase engagement. Make sure you’re sending traffic back to targeted landing pages to help with conversions as well.
3) Complete Your Profile: This one may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at just how many companies don’t take the time to add simple information like their business details, a mission statement, email addresses, etc. Some don’t even link back to their main website at all.
Neglecting to take the time to add these small details can incur missed sales and leads opportunities. In other words, make it as easy as possible for people to get in touch with you.
4) Format Your Profile: Make an effort to ensure that all of your images and graphics are formatted correctly on your social media site. Uploading pictures without checking to see that they appear correctly can lead to blurry, stretched, or squeezed pictures that might make your business look less trustworthy and just plain sloppy.
Keyword optimization also plays a part here. This one should be second nature by now but be sure to optimize your pages for select keywords in your market. A well-crafted keyword strategy can make a huge difference when it comes to how search engines rank both your website and your social media pages/updates.
5) Don’t Be Too Self-Involved: The point of a social media presence is first and foremost to bring in more business. But that doesn’t mean you should make it all about your business. To be frank, most people don’t care about you or your products; they’re more interested in themselves (i.e. “what’s in it for me?”).
That’s why what you decide to share on social media should follow the 80/20 rule: 80% of content should be value-based material not specific to your business, and 20% can feature more promotional content. That way your audience stays engaged longer while still getting a taste of what you have to offer.
In that same vein, don’t be shy about sharing, liking, re-tweeting and up-voting posts from other sources as well. While doing so might not be directly promoting your own content, curating high-quality content from a thought leader or other trustworthy sources can help boost engagement and get more people to follow you in the process.
6) Study the Ins and Outs of Each Platform: Each social media platform has its own personality, rules, and faux pas unique to that individual channel. Knowing the dos and don’ts of each can really save your authority (and boost your business) in the long run.
- Don’t post too often on Facebook. Companies with less than 10,000 followers receive 60% fewer interactions per post when they post 60+ per month.
- Don’t focus on just selling on LinkedIn. Instead focus on building meaningful relationships, sharing relevant content within groups and being helpful.
- Don’t rely on just automation for Twitter. Don’t you hate it when you follow someone, and you automatically get a direct message that promotes their products/services? Or that your tweets automatically get retweeted and ‘loved’ when you post? Most people do. Make sure you are authentic and always thinking about how you can humanize your brand.
Take the time also to learn ways to make your content sharing even savvier (e.g. research hashtags, learn how to schedule posts to save time, link directly to blog posts, include images, etc.). Doing so will not only make sharing content easier, but it’ll also help build your business’s authority.
7) Be Consistent, Ubiquitous, Entertaining, and Responsive: Just like any successful marketing campaign, creating a social media presence that builds an audience and brings in leads takes hard work and dedication. That means posting on a regular and frequent schedule for every platform, not just a few.
Be aware of the different lifespans for each social media platform too. For example, a Facebook post is estimated to have an average lifespan of 90 minutes while Tweets, on the other hand, are said to last only 24 minutes. That means to make your Twitter account effective; you’ll have to send out more tweets than Facebook posts.
While timing is important, being entertaining maybe even more so. That means engaging viewers with content that grabs their attention. Well-crafted headlines, bright and attractive photos, and situational language that captures the attention of your audience are all necessary for crafting content that keeps them on your page.
And finally, comes the real “social” part of your social media presence: engaging directly with your target audience. Respond to direct messages, get in the conversation by chiming in on comments, like posts, and engage with others outside of your network.
3 Ways to Help Measure Your Social Media Marketing ROI
In order to fully understand the impact your social media presence has on your business, you need to know how to accurately calculate its ROI.
Here’s a list of tips that will help you put some numbers to your efforts and help you see just how powerful social media marketing can be.
1) Look Past Vanity Metrics (e.g. likes, shares, followers, and page views): One mistake that many marketers are making is using vanity metrics as a way to present the success of a social media marketing campaign to C-suite executives. While these numbers might show a growing audience, it’s unlikely that this will translate well for the executives you’re reporting to. Instead, they’ll be looking for numbers tied directly to sales and revenue, and that’s what you need to aim for.
2) Last-Touch vs. First-Touch Metrics: A good chunk of ROI data is based on last-touch metrics. This type of reporting gives you an indication of where a prospect was before they decided to buy, opt-in, sign up, or move on to other content. It can give you a good idea of what it was that made them move further down the sales funnel. That way, you point to one piece of content or action that drove sales and leads.
First-touch metrics, on the other hand, is an investigation into how the buyer’s journey actually started, not ended. For many marketing campaigns, social media platforms represent the top of the sales funnel rather than the end of it. That means that even though a social media presence may have started a buyer down the road toward a sale, it typically won’t be counted in the marketing data, leading it to appear to have a low ROI.
Your job in creating a successful social media marketing effort is ensuring that your calculated ROI includes first-touch metrics to give a fuller picture of just how much social media is contributing to your marketing goals, whether they be sales, conversions, or opt-ins.
3) Additional Metrics: If you want to get a truly clear picture of how your social media marketing efforts are performing, make sure to invest in ways to track the following as well:
- Visits per social channel
- Engagement rate
- Number of leads
- Number of sales
- Amplification rate
- Revenue per visit
- LTV per social channel
Social Media Tools to Check Out
Below is a list of tools that can help you take your social media marketing efforts to the next level (check out this blog post by Buffer to see additional tools as well as how you can use them to your advantage):
See something I missed? Share your thoughts with me below.