The point of your business spending time and resources on social media is to get more brand recognition and more customers, right? To succeed in this, you can’t just wing it with posts on the fly, based only on what you want to promote. It doesn’t work that way.
You can only engage people over the long term by giving them content they enjoy. And to stand out from the online noise, your content strategy needs to be high quality, useful, fresh, and instantly appealing.
Just as with anything in life, you can’t grow a loyal following or achieve purchase conversions without careful strategy, planning and insight. That’s what we’ll be exploring in this article. Follow these tips to make sure you stay on the right track.
It’s very easy for any business to spend huge amounts of time on social media channels, without getting any return. That’s why it’s really important to follow the S.M.A.R.T rules with your social media management:
The way to be S.M.A.R.T is to use a Social Media Manager tool that pulls all your social activity into one Dashboard. This will make your life much easier, but perhaps even more importantly it will also give you measurable insight into what your potential and existing customers are interested in.
A good Social Media Management tool will even let you search keywords to identify people that would be interested in your products or services, and flag user feedback so you never miss an opportunity to build a brand relationship.
Analytics also gives you a clear idea of who your audience is, so you can develop personas. Without this knowledge, you can’t be effective at creating social content that really resonates with your customers.
For example, if the main demographic of people who are interested in a particular product of yours are Baby Boomers in their 60s, but your posts are content that appeals to millennials, you’re obviously going to fail to capture interest. Positioning is everything, both for your brand and your promotions.
It’s important to do a competitor analysis. This will give you invaluable guidance on your business strengths and weaknesses. First you’ll want to look at your direct competitors who have a similar offering to yours. This will give you ideas on how to differentiate your business and ideally find ways to be more appealing to customers.
Secondly, an analysis of industry competitors will give you inspiration for your social media content, and a clear steer on what appeals to customers. As an SMB you won’t have a budget as large as the industry leaders, but this can often force you to think outside the box and get more innovative.
These are the easiest and most effective strategic ways to go about a competitor analysis:
When doing your competitor audit, these are the main comparison areas you’ll want to note in your template report or spreadsheet:
Competitor analysis is easily an article all on its own: Learn more.
As we touched on in the Always Work Smart section of this article, an effective social media strategy relies heavily on using the data from your Social Media Manager dashboard. If you’re not measuring your performance results, how will you know when to strengthen weaknesses or double down on strengths?
Some key metrics to look at are: impressions, engagement, follower growth rate, leads, mentions, reach, referrals, and of course conversions.
Here are two vital areas where you’ll want your Social Media Manager analytics to call the shots:
When social media was first on the rise, it was a common mistake for businesses to throw large budgets at them but end up with very little return on investment. It was like firing arrows in the dark, extremely hit and miss.
The good thing these days is that with a good Social Media Management tool you’ll have the performance data of all social platforms you use in one place. And that will give you a clear guide on where to put your budget, because the platforms that are performing best are where you’ll invest most.
All in all, it’s like any wise investing — spend a little, see how it goes, then if you get a good return you invest some more. You also need to be ready to pivot quickly, to keep up with fast moving trends. So although you may spend a large portion of your budget on a platform that performs the best, save some money to spread in other areas.
Especially in the beginning, it doesn’t pay to guess. Budget for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and perhaps others, so you can see which ones consistently perform best for your individual brand.
And while your competitor analysis will guide you on the platforms where your type of audience hangs out, don’t just follow their lead. There may be untapped social channels that could give you good returns, especially if you create a unique content strategy.
Some social media ‘gurus’ like to talk about THE best times to post. But the fact is there’s no right or wrong time to put out content, because there’s no such thing as one kind of audience. A good Social Media Manager tool will have easy to understand analytics to help you understand over time what your audience likes.
But first you need the data, to get a handle on how your audience responds to your products or services. The easiest way to get started is to send out a post mid-morning, afternoon, evening and late evening, on different days of the week.
Over time, trying different times, days, and content, you’ll see a clear pattern emerging on what your audience responds to the most. You may even discover that some platforms aren’t even worth your time because they don’t lead to engagement or conversions. The main thing, especially at the beginning, is to continue experimenting until you hit your sweet spots.
But be careful not to over post. That’s a common mistake which inexperienced businesses make with Social Media Management. It can cause people to feel spammed, which will damage your brand credibility. So remember that getting data insights is a long game, not a sprint.
Here are a few tips to avoid the ‘spammy’ impression by keeping content fresh and engaging:
As a general rule of thumb, before you’ve got the data telling you when to schedule content releases, posting once per day or five times per week is a reliable strategy. Any more than this is probably overdoing it, especially for a new brand.
As an example, Hubspot measured Facebook data of over 13,500 customers. They found that only organizations with over 10,000 followers benefitted from a larger number of posts (31 - 60 per month). Whereas businesses with less than 10,000 followers, got less clicks per post, the more they posted.
It’s very easy to lose sight of the wood for the trees. By getting caught up on statistics and a busy social media calendar, you forget to constantly step back and ask: how well is this post serving my potential or existing customer?
All the highest rated brands excel at customer experience. The same goes for really successful marketing campaigns. They use social media as one channel in a broader, integrated journey. Their website, ads, emails and social channels all work as one to give the customer something interesting and easy to follow through on.
Social media management should fit under the umbrella of a broader marketing strategy for it to be truly and sustainably successful. Multichannel marketing simply means that every digital customer touchpoint has consistent brand recognition and seamless integration, making the customer feel they’re in reliable hands every step of the way.
And while you may have a great management strategy, never forget that the purpose of social media is human interaction. People want posts that are genuine, helpful and entertaining. Don’t spread yourself so thin on platforms or get so obsessed by stats that your content quality suffers.
Always keep these key quality factors in mind: How to Create Great Social Media Content.
And don’t get too hung up on Likes. Some agencies and companies buy Likes, but ultimately they’re shooting themselves in the foot. A host or irrelevant followers leads to a host of irrelevant, low quality comments, which makes your business page look bad and skews the metrics of your campaigns.
Quality over quantity wins in the long run with Social Media Management. It’s much more valuable to have a smaller number of loyal followers, who are genuinely engaged with your brand. They will leave quality comments, which often amount to free advertising. And this kind of genuine engagement is the social proof that effectively builds brand trust.
Effective social media management is all about having a S.M.A.R.T strategy — Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time bound. This is where a Social Media Manager tool is indispensable. It gives you the analytics to steer you on which platforms to invest most in, and guides your scheduling by showing you when your audience engages most with your posts.
Added to these benefits, Social Media Manager lets you schedule posts to save time, and plan your activity which makes you more effective at growing brand engagement and getting sales. Learn more: Easy Way to Create a Social Media Content Calendar.
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