Do you know why many businesses both big and small fail at profiting from social media? Some say it’s because the tactics they use aren’t suitable for social media. Others insist that the tools they’re using aren’t really that effective!
I believe that all the tools, platforms and tactics in the world won’t make a difference in your business’s bottom-line unless they’re part of a bigger strategy that has business objectives at the very core.
Many clients ask me how they can get more traffic from social media. Some others struggle to make sales from social media. However, when I look at their social media marketing strategy (that’s if they have one!), I find they focus more on tactics than on a solid strategy that serves particular buyer personas and has specific KPIs tied directly to their business’s goals.
Remember, social media isn’t a separate part of your marketing. If you want social media to really work for your business, it should be integrated not only in your overall marketing strategy, but also in your business strategy, as well.
That being said, here is how you build a profitable social media marketing strategy for your business:
Some will say: What kind of question is that? My only business goal is to make more profit! While that’s the ultimate goal most businesses want to achieve from social media or any other marketing medium, there are several steps you can go through to achieve that goal.
I’m sure you heard this hundreds of times, but I’ll say it anyway—you could have the best product/service in the world, but if nobody knows it exists, it doesn’t really matter. Awareness is the first step of the process to getting your brand seen by prospects. Social media is one of the best mediums today to achieve that goal.
This might not seem as a viable goal for many businesses, especially small ones, but it’s super important to businesses of all sizes and shapes to “Monitor” and “Listen” to what people are saying about them on the web. There are many spies today you can recruit to report to you whenever your particular keyword (usually your brand name) appears on the web, including Google Alerts and Social Mention.
This will give you tons of insights and feedback of what you need to work on. If it’s a positive comment, than make sure to thank the person. If it’s a negative comment, then act quickly and try to solve the problem if it’s a customer service related issue.
You probably know if influencers in your market (journalists/bloggers…etc.) like your brand/product/service, then you’re going to save a lot of money on marketing.
Social media is one of the best ways to get in contact with those influencers and start building relationships with them. Twitter is famous for its ability to achieve that task since most influencers like to use that platform a lot, but you can use other social platforms to achieve the same goal, as well.
Since everyone and their dog is on social media today, there is no point not to use those platforms to answer general customer inquiries. If a customer needs a more in-depth answer, then you can direct them to whatever software you’re using for customer service.
Brands are afraid to move their customer service to social media because it’s open and everybody can see and participate. However, what many don’t realize is that your customers are already using social media to say either positive or negative things about your brand, so what’s really the point of not joining them on those social platforms.
If you really want to see this working at its best, you need to either check a blog about Apple products or Google products.
If someone on an Apple product related blog says something bad about Android for example, you’ll find dozens if not hundreds of replies raging against that comment. Those comments aren’t from Google’s employees obviously, they’re from raving fans who believe in Google’s products and don’t want anyone to say bad things about their favorite brand.
Social media again, is a wonderful medium for finding and rewarding those advocates.
Did you know that brands used to spend tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars to understand their target market better? Now you can do that for close to nothing on social media. You can even test your idea if you don’t have a product yet so you can see if there is interest around it or not.
Now we’re talking!
This is what most business owners look for in any online or offline platform they use to market their businesses.
Quality leads are the source of life to any healthy business. If you don’t have leads, you simply won’t make sales. Simple as that!
Social media once again scores higher when it comes to lead generation. It doesn’t matter if you’re a B2C or B2B company because your prospects are likely on at least one social platform today. As you see, all of those business goals serve one end goal with is making more profit either directly or indirectly, but the approach to achieving each one of them is different from the others.
When it comes to building a social media marketing strategy for your business, there isn’t really a step more important than the other, but if there was, it would definitely be getting your personas right.
People who buy from you have common traits you need to identify in order to maximize your conversions and minimize your spending.
Whether you have a single or multiple buyer personas for your product/service, you need to give them a specific description and put it in front of you whenever you’re creating any piece of content or doing any type of promotion. For more information on buyer personas, check out how Kuno works with clients to understand their target audience.
Many businesses skip the first two steps of the process and go directly to selecting the social platforms they should be using along with tools that can help them simplify their social media marketing efforts.
This step is definitely important, but if you don’t have data from the previous steps, no platform or tool in the world will be able to improve your business’s bottom-line. The common mistake I see business owners make is creating a profile on every social platform they stumble on! You don’t want to waste your company’s resources on platforms your prospects aren’t using, right?
The data you collected before about identifying your ideal customer is enough to help you select the social platforms your prospects are using the most. It’ll also tell you a bunch of other useful information like: when they log into their social profiles, which social network they prefer, how much time they spend on each platform, what type of content they like the most and more. After selecting the platforms, finding the right tools shouldn’t be hard. You just search for tools that suit your business needs as well as budget. These tools vary from audience building and community management to promotion and tracking.
Now we’re talking money.
Social media marketing isn’t free as many think. Sure the platforms are free to create an account on, but the marketing costs not just money, but time and effort, too. If you already have a team you want to assign social media to, then make sure they’re well trained and able to implement the strategy at hand. If you need a more hands free implementation, then you can either hire an agency or an independent community manager to take care of all the day-to-day activities.
Allocating budget for social media marketing doesn’t always have to be about pulling money out of you business’s pocket. You can reallocate some of the money you’re spending on low performing strategies and allocate it for social media. You should know, however, that social media takes some time before you can start seeing bottom-line results, so be patient.
Do you know what Coca-Cola, Starbucks and Ford have in common besides being the most successful brands on social media? They have a brand consistency across all of their online properties. Whether you visit their websites, Twitter profiles or Facebook pages, it always sounds and feels the same.
Having a consistent brand image and voice across all of your communication channels will help your prospects memorize and relate better to your brand. Many think the quality of their products is the only factor of getting happy customers. That is partially true; but remember, people buy from businesses they know, “LIKE” and trust. The like factor is the result of your business personality, and your business should have one.
Again, this is where all the data you collected previously comes into play! Depending on your prospects’ preferences and habits, you should be able to reach them with the right messages at the right times. If you make a quick search on Google about the best times to post on each social network, you’ll find a gazillion and one studies that each claim they stumbled on the perfect time. It’s good to use that information as a starting point, but remember, your audience is unique and, unless you do some testing, your valuable messages will go unnoticed across your social profiles.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution in social media marketing. Each business has a different audience. The better you know your potential customers, the more your messages will resonate with them. A perfect social content strategy relies on three variables: time, frequency and content type, and the only way to know all three is by testing different time slots, different posting frequencies and different content types (text, video, pictures…etc).
This is where all the actions you take toward implementing your strategy come into judgment. There is absolutely no way you could know what works and what doesn’t besides tracking your efforts, reporting them and then putting them under a microscope. This is a crucial step because many think you can’t assign bottom-line improving metrics to social media marketing efforts. That may have been the case a couple years ago.
Now there are all kinds of sophisticated methods and tools you can use to clearly see how much social media is impacting your business’s bottom-line. You should report your results on a weekly or at least twice-monthly basis. This is the only way to improve your strategy and come up with better ways to serve and communicate with your prospects.
Do you think there is anything missing from your social media marketing strategy according to the steps above?photo credit: Mukumbura
Houssem is a social media marketing consultant who’s helping small-business owners, entrepreneurs and startups make more money through social media. He enjoys designing and implementing effective strategies for his clients. For a more detailed SMM strategy process, check out his 80+ pages free ebook.