Does it feel like no matter how hard you try your business just isn’t getting the traction you expected from social media? Sure, maybe you’ve amassed a few thousand followers and your posts regularly get favorited or re-tweeted, but brand recognition hasn’t improved and sales are still stagnant. Or maybe sales are up, but you have no idea whether that’s because of social media, or simply due to increased marketplace demand. On the flip side, top brands like Coca-Cola, American Express and Johnson & Johnson seem to have mastered the art of social media marketing. So, what gives?
If you’re confused about why your social media ROI isn’t living up to expectations, you’re not alone. Consider this: more than half of all marketers (52%) say Facebook is their most important social network, yet 45% of marketers aren’t even sure that their Facebook efforts are effective, according to Social Media Examiner’s 2015 report on the industry. Virtually every marketer (91%) say they still need to master social media tactics in order to better engage with their audience. And only 42% feel confident measuring social media ROI.
Working with an agency for their social media advertising services is one option for improving your social media ROI. But before you even engage with a firm, it’s helpful to have a general idea of what’s working (and not working) with your current approach. This gives you a clear starting point for productive and meaningful engagement. Is an incorrect assumption about social media holding your business back? Here’s what you could be doing wrong– and how to fix it.
Assumption #1: Sharing content on social media is sufficient for building my brand.
Reality Check: Social media may be a powerful channel for sharing content, but you still need to drive traffic back to your website. Sharing content is an important first step towards building brand recognition. But shares alone won’t drive sales. Social media is a means to an end (not the end itself): great posts connect, communicate and turn your website into a daily destination for followers. Remember, your website is home base and it’s here you get to really control what happens and move the lead nurturing process along be that signing up for a e-newsletter, downloading a whitepaper, or receiving a free product sample.
Assumption #2: Likes are a valid metric for quantifying social media marketing success.
Reality Check: Go beyond the like: social shares and followers are important, but are your followers actually clicking through to the content you’re sharing? How deeply engaged are they with your content? If you’re not sure where to get started with social media ROI, Moz has a great (and free) how-to guide to social media metrics. It’s a convenient cheat sheet for which quantitative and qualitative metrics matter most. Keep in mind that superficial social media engagement (e.g., liking a photo or post) is not also predictive of future customer behavior. Marketing Land reports that while “social media enthusiasts” account for 85% of a brand’s social media interaction, they make up only 29% of a brand’s audience. Furthermore, many are designated as “dabblers” and “lurkers” rather than buyers. Digging into your metrics will help you better understand whether your brand is only connecting superficially with these dabblers and lurkers, or truly translating into deeper relationships and ultimately more sales.
Assumption #3: Posting only when you have fresh content is best.
Reality check: Sporadic posting yields (at best) sporadic engagement. In order to build a steady audience, you need consistent posts to drive interaction and interest. The quantity of posts for optimal engagement varies by industry. The real estate industry, for example, posts the most frequently, with nearly half of all real estate firms posting three or more times per week. The nonprofit/education industry posts the least frequently, with barely half posting more than once per week, according to Hubspot. What matters most for all these industries, however, is both the quality and consistency of the posts. Short on content? You don’t have to post something new each day; sneak peaks and teasers are just as effective for building engagement. For example, if your business is releasing a new whitepaper next week, tease out a different key finding every few days in the week leading up to the release. You’ll build anticipation and drive downloads for your content while strengthening follower engagement. That’s a win-win-win.
Assuming you’re doing the right thing just because everyone else in your industry is too may lead to a lot of likes, but a low ROI. While there’s no secret sauce for guaranteeing social media success, if you’re disappointed with your business’s current social media performance, be sure you’re not making one of these three mistakes. Once you’ve got a clear idea where things went off the rails, it’s much easier to get back on track and improve ROI.
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