Social media use has grown exponentially since its onset in the 90’s. The number of social media users is expected to reach 3.02 billion by 2021. It is not surprising then that 90% of small to medium sized businesses have maintained a social media presence for 5 years or longer. However, most businesses do not develop a social media strategy to ensure their success. Below are some of the best practices to keep in mind to maximize your returns from social media.
Set Measurable Goals
Many businesses get caught in the trap of building vanity measures, seeking increased likes and followers, without determining the impact on ROI. What does increased likes do for your business? Objectives should be business centered, not social media centered. Social media can be used for a variety of purposes such as increasing sales by a given metric, creating a positive customer experience, or establishing brand awareness.
Know your Target Audience
The content you create should be tailored to your target audience. Tell engaging stories related to your consumer’s interests and needs. If you create engaging posts, then potentially more consumers will share your content, extending your reach. Knowing your target audience also helps to determine the platform you choose. For instance, using snapchat is an excellent way to target millennials. Remember, being on every platform doesn’t necessarily lead to success if your typical consumer doesn’t frequent it. Also, be sure to individualize your content for each channel. A relevant news story may perform best on facebook, a channel many people use to seek out daily news.
Interact with your Consumers
Make a habit of responding to consumer’s posts in a timely manner, even if they are issuing a complaint. When consumers are acknowledged and appreciated, they are more likely to become enduring customers. Connecting with your audience helps you to understand their problems so you can better serve them and assists in building a positive reputation. Make social a conversation, not just a way to post content.
Track your Success
It may seem difficult to measure social media’s effect on ROI, but just reflect back on your goals and decide what you need to measure to know if you are meeting them. Research the latest analytics software to determine which will best suit the needs of your company. For instance, Google analytics can track conversion rates based on different campaigns. It can measure how often social media is driving traffic to your website, leading consumers to landing pages, and resulting in sales. Less tangible effects such as consumer satisfaction can also be measured. Keeping track of negative comments can prevent a major crisis that plummets sales. Once you have the data, put it into action by improving your practices.
Once you have developed a strategy, create a schedule to implement these best practices. Post delightful content on a regular basis. Make time to respond to consumers as frequently as possible. Dedicate part of your week to analyzing the results of social media activity. Then, make some adjustments if necessary. If you remain consistent, you will have a better chance of reaping the rewards that social media can bring.
Co-founder Custom Design Partners
Alexander Hatala is the co-Founder at Custom Design Partners. He specializes in e-Commerce operations, performance marketing strategies, and behavioral analytics.