Social media has had a huge impact on marketing and communications since its inception. Over 2 billion people use social media, meaning a significant portion of the world’s opinions, thoughts, and purchases are being influenced by social media.
As a promotional tool, social media is invaluable. It allows you to communicate with your prospects in a unique and useful way at every step of the inbound marketing methodology, but only if used effectively. For this reason, it’s smart to use social media management services, but should you opt to manage it internally, you should use a three-step approach in managing your social media; social monitoring, social publishing and social reporting.
Do your research
Social monitoring is the research stage of your social media management. When doing social monitoring, you should gather info about your buyer personas, and find out what they respond to. Set SMART goals that you want to achieve through social use. Segment your audience with methods like Twitter lists and business groups so you can research them more effectively.
You should also develop a social monitoring stream. This way, you can monitor everything relevant to your industry in one list based on hashtags, keywords, or other criteria. It’s good to use the long-tail keyword here, as social media allows people to follow more niche interests. If you’re too general, you'll get lost in the noise.
It’s important to be patient when doing social monitoring! Listen to what others are saying before you dive into the conversation. You’ll find it’s far easier to join a conversation than try to start one. Engage your audience, don’t wait for them to engage you, and be sure to personalize your responses. Few things are more off-putting than canned, copy-and-pasted social media replies. Make your audience feel special.
Deliver your content
Once you feel you’ve adequately monitored the discussion, it’s time to get publishing. It’s important to unify your social messaging practices, so developing a style guide for your business is a good best practice. It’s also important to unify your profile design - including a consistent logo, concise description of your company and a link to your website on every social account.
While your style should be consistent across all three platforms, your content shouldn’t be. Each social media platform is very different, and your content should reflect this.
Twitter, for example, allows only 140 characters or fewer in each post. Keep your statements brief and to the point.
Facebook, on the other hand, is more personal and doesn’t have a character limit. Don’t go overboard, but you can be more personal and playful on your Facebook posts than your Twitter.
LinkedIn is far more professional than Facebook or Twitter, but it's not as limited as Twitter. Here your posts can and should be more long-form and in-depth.
You should also publish content frequently and consistently although this varies based on the platform. In general, you should post tweets about four to six times a day whereas it’s best to stick to two posts a day on Facebook. Two posts a week is your best bet for more professional social media platforms like LinkedIn and Google+.
Analyze what you’ve accomplished
Once you’ve been publishing for a while, you should measure your performance through social reporting. Measure the impact you’ve had through social metrics like an increase in follows, shares, and likes. See if you’ve met or exceeded the benchmarks and goals you set earlier. Judge if you’re getting a good return on investment (ROI) relative to the amount of time and effort you’re spending.
There are several metrics to analyze when doing social reporting. Consumption, or how much your content is actually being clicked on and read, is a staple to analyze, as is social sharing. How many people are reading your content, and who decides to share it with their followers? Measuring lead generation by checking clicks on your call-to-action is important as well, and of course, how much revenue you’re generating by converting leads to sales. These four aspects cover every step in the inbound methodology.
Checking your results frequently and consistently should be a top priority, and is one of the most useful benefits of using social media management services. Once you’ve found what works and what doesn’t, adapt your plan and start from the beginning - listening, writing, and analyzing your results to keep growing your social presence.
If you'd like help with online marketing for your business, including social media, contact us at Half a Bubble Out.