As dynamic and potent as social media can be for growing businesses and catapulting causes to million-strong audiences, it’s quite easy for the medium to grow stale. If you were to login to your Twitter account right now, I know I can safely assume that 90% of the messages you’re seeing in your feed are irrelevant to you as everyone is chaotically trying to tell their own story, promoting their own opinions, ideas, newest blog post, etc. It’s a “silent noise” that, though not audible, is loud enough to shut out your brand’s message if it doesn’t respect the distribution channels, falling flat and out of tune.
Your social media strategy will need to evolve with the times and cannot be the result or some replica of a common and worn out approach. Success requires intelligence, an understanding of real data and attentiveness to trends and audience behavior.
As you begin to tweak your strategy for tackling the current landscape, here are 4 key things you must consider for running effective campaigns.
Diversifying Your Presence & Content
There is a perception of social media, and advertising in general, that the more networks a business targets, the greater the number of opportunities for reaching audiences and achieving sales. Though this may be somewhat true, diversification requires a measured and strategic approach for achieving optimum bang for buck and time.
Take this into consideration; there are hundreds of high traffic social networks online with hundreds of millions of users. However, it is evident that each network is built for very specific audiences whose interests and daily lives vary significantly. Therefore, is it smart for a business whose product is motor vehicle supplies, for example, to share content on a network developed for design and art professionals? No, it isn’t and surprising there is a lot of this “diversification” taking place in marketing and business need to stop and reevaluate.
Here’s what you need to do to enhance your diversification strategy:
- Weigh diversification in favor of content – Although you may have accounts across LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook, your message published on one network may not be suitable for another. For example, hashtags are powerful on Instagram and Twitter while their meaning and relevance have less impact on LinkedIn.
- Limit automation – Automation software is great but automatically distributing the same content in the same format across all networks limits your conversion rate since each community responds to different tones and content at different times.
- Know your audience – Each network has an audience that desires different things, although you’ll find the same people using them all. Study your audience to know which message works where.
Narrowing your focus on the networks which are relevant to your business & diversification of content are equally important for delivering a killer strategy.
Focus on Producing & Sharing Pictures & Video Content
Whether you think your business has elements of visual appeal or not, incorporating real, interactive videos and photos of the intimate aspects of your business form part of a winning strategy. Especially within the context of single-service social media networks, those that focus on photo and video sharing such as Vine, Instagram, and Snapchat, have been dominating since their inception. The best way to improve your social media marketing strategy is to both increase the amount of interactive content you are sharing across networks and to build your presence on photo and video-specific networks.
User interactions with video and photo dominate Facebook, for example, and provide the best results for brands as they seek to improve conversions and interactions. Rich media content wins as shown in the image below.
If you’re having difficulties coming up with ideas for creating video content, you could host a webinar, which is an effective technique to engaging your audience. Let’s say your business operates in a rare yet valuable niche producing a highly specialized product. Using a premium service like ClickWebinar, you could host and record special webinar sessions that allow you showcase your expertise, while through a rich presentation and answering questions posed by participants, deliver content that serves your audience well. Special snippets of these recordings could be cut in bite size 3 minute pieces and shared on YouTube and other social networks. That’s rich media that your audience will find useful, edifying and each share is an opportunity to start valuable conversations and build relationships.
Serve Your Community & Be Responsive
If a visitor, prospect or customer sends you a message or tweets at you and never receives a response, trust is lost and your brand’s reputation may have lost irrecoverable points. If the lead or customer is communicating a problem that can be solved elsewhere, know for certain that they’ll be going to your competitors. A customer is 4 times more likely to buy from a competitor if the problem is service related versus price or product related.
Spending the time to give back and respond in a timely and thoughtful manner, even if it does not lead to an immediate sale, is powerful and the user will appreciate it. It humanizes your brand, builds authority and establishes that you’re not a corporation without a face that only cares about profits.
A responsive attitude forms the foundation on which successful marketing campaigns thrive. Here are some steps for winning where many businesses are still failing online:
- Assign a first responder within your team to post and monitor each social media channel your brand has a presence on.
- Create a troubleshooting library of common bugs or complaints that arise, and how to handle these issues. This will ensure that issues are addressed properly and in a timely manner with public access to a pool of resources.
- Be creative – Be personable, interact with a sense of humor to engage audiences and convert them into free brand promoters.
- Never ignore any comment posted to your account on social, whether it’s a compliment or criticism.
Rethink Your Definition of Engagement
There’s so much talk about engagement nowadays that the term is now becoming a cliché. Engagement should have a direct relationship with your end goal, which is usually increasing sales. Investing your time and effort to get more “likes” and “shares” in and of itself are wasteful. Those are vanity metrics and do not on their own mean anything significant for your business. Certainly acquiring 1,000 likes on your recent blog post looks good but how does it make your business a more profitable one?
Here’s what you need to also consider: should engagement be an end, or a means to an end? Should it be the eventual goal, or the medium that gets you to your eventual goal?
For example, a valuable engagement metric could be the number of users who subscribe to your email list or the number of subscribers who click on links in your emails to browse through products they find interesting. Within this scope, the email sign-up is very valuable since it’s a means towards acquiring opportunities to sell. In another instance, what will a “like” do for your business? I’m not saying that a like has absolutely zero value; however, it’s not your primary focus. The likes will come when you’ve done everything else right.
Keep the scope of your engagement campaign within the context of making sales, acquiring and qualifying leads, forming business partnerships and other valuable end results.
Winning social media campaigns require you to be smart, nimble and attentive to the audiences you serve. Establish valuable and definite goals and tie these closely with delivering value through every interaction. Your campaign is about gaining trust and appeal through relationship building.