Does your social media campaign make you feel like you are fumbling around in the dark?
You’re not alone. Only 41% of marketers believe they know how to measure the ROI from their social media activities, and just 46% believe that the tactics they’re using on Facebook are actually working.
That means more than half of marketers are investing time and resources into social media campaigns without even knowing if their investment is worthwhile!
Don’t lose hope, though! We have got some tried and tested best practices to help improve the effectiveness of your social media marketing.
Aim For the Target
You would never start a print ad campaign without determining your target audience; otherwise, how would you know how to craft your ad?
So why do so many marketers neglect to create a targeted marketing plan when they work with social media?
If you want to be effective through social media, you need to determine your target audience and then post according to their interests and desires.
For example, if you were an athletics wear company whose main customers are aged 20-35, there would be no sense in posting an article about active senior living; your customers won’t care and won’t engage.
Low engagement lowers the chance that your next posts will show up in your followers’ news feeds, at least on Facebook. Therefore, posting without planning according to a target audience will damage your campaign before it even really starts.
You should also choose the social media platforms you use based on your target audience. Facebook is ubiquitous; everyone uses it. A platform like Pinterest, for example, appeals to smaller, more specific audiences; 81% of Pinterest users are female and the average age of users is 40. If this describes your audience, consider moving some of your marketing efforts to Pinterest.
Plan to Measure the Success of Your Social Media Campaign
Along with developing a target, you should also develop campaign goals before you begin posting. This will help shape your content.
You need to define what success means to your company. Are you just trying to build brand awareness, measured by the number of new likes and followers? Are you trying to increase landing page conversions?
Make sure that you are clear on what you hope to accomplish, because your tactics should be developed to meet these goals.
You’re on social media to advertise and ultimately sell your services. This goal can make it tempting to promote constantly, but this is also a fast way to lose your followers.
Instead, you need to post content that is valuable for your users, and intersperse your own advertising among this content.
A good rule of thumb is that 20% of your posts should be directly promotional, talking about your services or sales. The other 80% should be interesting, shareable content that caters to your target audience’s interests.
This could be relevant blog posts, pictures, news articles, videos — anything! You can also draw this content from other sources on the web; you don’t have to create everything yourself. Just make sure that any content you get from other sources is properly credited, and that it is appropriate.
Social media can be a lot more informal than other forms of marketing. You’ve got space to have a little fun.
Consider occasionally posting some content that shows off your personality. For example, fun photos from a holiday party or a two line anecdote about a funny thing that happened in the office can increase customer loyalty by building a brand personality.
Showing off a bit about yourself (without oversharing) can make you more relatable; plus, it can differentiate you from other similar services. You can build a stronger, more loyal customer base by introducing them to who you are.
Consistency is Key
One of the most difficult things about running a successful social media campaign is the need to maintain consistency in your posting habits. It does no good to post constantly at the start of your campaign and then run out of steam after a few weeks.
Instead, prepare your content ahead of time and create a posting schedule. A service such as HootSuite or Buffer will let you schedule your posts to be released automatically. This means you can prepare your content in bulk, saving time, while still sending it out periodically.
Another benefit of HootSuite and Buffer? You can program them to post at high-traffic times when you will be most likely to get the maximum engagement. For example, the best times to post on Twitter seem to be 12pm to 3pm, Monday to Friday. Scheduling your posts to go out consistently and at peak times will increase your engagement.
Buffer even has an optimal timing tool which will determine the best times to post based on your followers’ engagement patterns.
Additionally, you need to be consistent when it comes to responding to users. Social media is first and foremost social. If customers post on your wall, tweet at you, or message you, you need to respond promptly.
While this can be quite time-consuming, there are a number of tools to help ease this effort. For example, check out these time-saving Twitter extensions.
Delve Into Your Data
Social media data is more than just likes and shares. Sometimes called “vanity metrics,” these aren’t necessarily the best indicators of the success of your social media campaign, depending on your marketing goals.
Determining the ROI of a social media campaign takes more than just these vanity metrics. Using Google Analytics or a similar program will allow you to understand the effects of your campaign.
You can use an analytics program to find which social networks bring the most people to your website, or which get the most conversions, just as examples. Social media specific analytics programs like Keyhole allow you to capture additional data, though unlike Google Analytics, these services are not free.
Getting this data will allow you to plan future campaigns. If you know that the majority of website referrals come from your Facebook page and your campaign goal is to drive web traffic, you can put more resources into managing Facebook; at the same time, you’ll know that it might be worth changing your strategy on your other platforms because it isn’t working.
Go Be Social
With these tips, you can approach your social media campaigns with more knowledge and planning: no more fumbling in the dark!
By planning for a target market and basing your campaign around them and your marketing goals, you’ll be able to focus your efforts. Mixing promotional content in with generally interesting posts, plus a little personal flair will keep followers engaged, and consistent posting will ensure campaign success over time.
Finally, data analysis will help you track the success of your campaign and make adjustments to make each post better than the last.
So get out there and join the conversation!