So a couple years ago you decided it was time for your business to hop aboard the crowded social media train.
And it was a good call. You’ve built up your reputation with tons of fans, followers and connections and strengthened your online brand awareness.
But it turns out just having Fans and Followers isn’t going to cut it. While you get a decent amount of Likes and shares, your social channels aren’t getting you the return you need.
You’ve dedicated countless hours to coming up with intriguing, educational and witty posts to engage users. You’ve mapped out a social strategy that is cohesive with your business, your goals and your schedule.
So what’s gone wrong? How can you use social to acquire new customers and get paying traffic for your business?
Lucky for you you’re in the right place. It’s time to figure out exactly where you’re striking out in the social world, in part one of my social media strategy audit.
You’re Not Taking Advantage of Paid Social Options
Social media has come a long way over the past decade, and so have the options that go along with each platform.
As each channel becomes more saturated with users, the chances of interested fans seeing your posts has decreased substantially.
Take Facebook for example: with over 1.35 billion monthly users, sometimes your page can feel like a single raindrop in a Seattle winter storm.
The platform has also cut organic reach multiple times in the past year, meaning your brand’s posts may be shown to fewer users interested in your brand than ever.
The solution is to look at the platforms you’re using and ensure you’re taking advantage of everything they have to offer, including paid options.
I know you may be wary of pulling out your wallet when it comes to social, but it can mean all the difference, and can actually result in a better ROI.
Boosting posts (whether on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Reddit) is a cost-effective way to target exactly who will see your content. Paying a little out of pocket not only means more people will be seeing your content, but that the people who do are likely to engage with it (that’s where the positive ROI can come in).
Facebook Ads are another fantastic paid option, and my personal favorite part of social media. They give you the opportunity to drive traffic to your Facebook Page and your website with targeting capabilities stronger than any other online platform. Narrow your audience based on their demographics, life events, interests and behaviors on or off the web. They also just happen to have the lowest cost per 1,000 impressions in ad history.
As Brian Carter of Moz says “If you just spend $1 per day on Facebook ads, you will get in front of 4,000 people that wouldn’t have seen you otherwise. If you are doing that and your competitors aren’t, you win the awareness game in your niche.”
To learn more on Facebook ads, check out this awesome article “ How B2B Content Marketers Can Use Facebook Ads to Generate Leads” by my fellow Wishponder James Scherer.
Each paid social platform has reasonably priced promoted options which may hold the golden key to your social success. How will you know if they’re worth investing in if you never give them a shot?
You’re Spreading Yourself Too Thin
Are you dedicating your time and energy to the right social networks? It’s a simple question, but one often overwhelmed by the omnipresent idea that “You have to be on all of them! All the time!”
As a marketer you need to understand that not every platform will be your business’ holy grail.
Just because they’re all available at the end of your fingertips doesn’t mean they’re all right for you. You need to pick and choose the channels that give you the best engagement, traffic, and return.
So what network should you be on?
Let’s break it down…
With over 1.35 million monthly active users, Facebook isn’t just fit for one specific demographic or business. It is the most evenly-distributed demographically of any platform, with individuals of all ages and nationalities, as well as small businesses and massive corporations.
While not the best platform for sales generation it is the best social channel for increasing awareness of your brand and expanding your reach (though you have to examine paid promotion).
So should your business be on Facebook? The answer is likely yes. I recommend every business tries to build their fanbase online with Facebook as it can have a great impact on your ROI and your overall success.
All of this said, while most businesses have found success with Facebook in some way or another, there is also a group who have decided to abandon the platform entirely in favor of other strategies. My colleague Sam took a look at three businesses that have left (and three that have found success) in her article: Should Your Business Leave Facebook?
Who should be a part of the Twitterverse? While it has high recognition and a strong reputation in the social media world with 284 million monthly active users, Twitter has fallen in usage in recent years with the rise of networks like Google+ and Instagram. So while fewer people are active on Twitter, those who use the platform are dedicated. In fact, Twitterers use it more frequently than any other platform, with 46% of users logging in on a daily basis.
Businesses can also benefit from Twitter as users have a tendency to follow businesses or brands they love more so than they do on any other platform. Those users also tend to grab any offers or discounts presented and enter contests launched by these brands.
If you’re a software, marketing, news or sports-focused business, Twitter is likely a good investment in your social strategy as it’s the best way to contact an audience instantly. If your industry is constantly changing or evolving, Twitter allows you to communicate in real-time.
Google+ is a professionally focused social network with 540 million monthly active users. An awesome platform for content sharing (with no character limit), the majority of users are in the technical, engineering or business fields. As stated by Bill Faeth of Inbound Marketing Agents “Google+ is less selling more telling.”
Google+ has different Circles and Communities that allow you to easily reach those interested in your business while expanding your business’ awareness. Google also has immediate access to every Google+ post and can deliver this content to the search engine world very quickly and for long periods of time if it’s relevant to users looking for that content (in comparison to a quickly moving Twitter feed).
If your business is looking to learn more about your industry and have access to those interested in similar topics, Google+ is an effective channel to access decision makers and get your content some love.
With 187 million monthly active users, LinkedIn is officially known as the network for professionals. While mostly used by individuals to connect with others, find jobs, and track business partners, there is also an opportunity for businesses. As it turns out, 27 million brands have a LinkedIn company page around the world.
It is a good idea for all professional businesses – whether software, marketing or technology – to have a presence on the network. It requires much less time and effort to maintain your profile than other networks, and allows you to start conversations or share content in groups of users with similar interests. If you’re a content marketer like me, a blogger, journalist, or writer, I especially recommend LinkedIn, as it’s a great place to connect with others and share your content.
Of course there are other social sites such as Youtube, Pinterest and Instagram, but these are the 4 networks that businesses in particular should be utilizing. Look into your current strategy and do an audit of which network is giving you the most engagement and driving traffic to your site.
You’re Half-Assing It
As a marketer your brain is constantly going 1000 miles a minute with so many tasks and so few hours in a day.
Trust me, I understand the multitasking struggle.
But I also know that if you want to find success you can’t half commit to a strategy.
If you’re going to linger at a 50% effort, you may as well just throw in the towel now.
To me, a half-ass social strategy is spending 15-20 minutes a day, sharing your content to your own followers and spamming a couple of communities or groups on social networks.
This type of effort is like having a new years resolution to get in shape and only going to the gym to use the hot tub and sauna. As far as I know that’s not going to lead to a six pack anytime soon.
15-20 minutes each day most definitely isn’t going to get you optimal engagement or return on your time and effort. Those who are successful in multitasking and having a strong social strategy do several primary things:
Take serious time to create educational, witty or thought-provoking posts that will draw out emotions from readers and stand out amongst the noise.
Commit to tracking what’s working and what’s not, being proactive and looking into why certain experiments failed while others got users interacting and discussing your business.
Stay on the cusp of what’s possible, reading and understanding the most recent updates and implement them as soon as they can.
If you’re taking a half-hearted approach your strategy isn’t going to succeed, plain and simple. To bring a positive return you have to be fully invested in your social strategy. Never think of social media as a chore, but rather an essential component of your marketing and your brand’s reputation.
So what steps should you take to stop the half-assed misery?
1. Do an audit of your current social strategy
Look at your social networks and the current reach and engagement with each of your past posts. Categorize the posts based on their success and look for patterns as to what your audience interacts with and gives more love to.
2. Set goals that are optimistic but also reachable
Use past posts as a benchmark to base your goals off of. For example if your tweets get an average of 4 retweets and 5 favorites, look to increase those numbers by 20% with different Twitter strategies. This may mean spending the extra time each day to find intriguing facts or stats from a relevant article rather than just Tweeting the name of the article.
3. Schedule time into each day
From your audit and goal setting, put aside a specific amount of time to dedicate to your social strategy every single day. And no that doesn’t mean 10 minutes in the morning to Tweet and share content or post cat videos. You need to be researching your content, finding out whats going to grab users’ attention, and looking at what others in your industry are posting. Start out scheduling 1-2 hours a day and test what amount of time you need to be able to fully give yourself to those channels.
Like any relationship, the one between you and your social strategy needs time and effort to reach success and stability. Stop daydreaming of massive returns and a magical effortless schedule and get your head in the social game.
If your social isn’t working, it’s possible that’s because you’re just scratching the surface of your social networks’ potential.
The world of social is constantly changing and adapting to meet the needs of users. If you want to find success ensure you are taking advantage of each feature that today’s social platforms offer, dedicating your time to the networks that are effective for your business and putting your whole heart into making it worth your time.
Stay tuned for Part 2, with 3 more reasons your social strategy isn’t yet leading you down the path to online success.
– Written by Claire Grayston
Claire is a digital content marketer at Wishpond. When not racking her brain for new content, you’ll find her hiking or snowboarding the local mountains.