Social media is your opportunity to build a community. Users are far more likely to engage with a brand that has a consistent personality and a strong voice. Plus, with engagement comes loyalty. Your social persona should align with your audience demographics. Using a “this, but not that” guideline can help you strike the right balance. For instance, if your brand is geared more toward millennials, you might say “our persona is playful, but not giddy”; or if you’re targeting middle-aged men, you might say “we’re professional, but not boring.”
Once you’ve determined your brand’s tone, take the time to develop a style guide that establishes the dos and don’ts for everything from keywords to emoji use to color schemes, across all of your marketing channels, not just social. Consistency is key in creating a reliable customer experience at every point of engagement with your brand.
Choosing a Social Media Platform
Each of today’s major social platforms offer different benefits and solutions. Some platforms will be more suitable to your brand, goals and target audience than others. Here’s a quick breakdown of which platforms are best for which strategies.
By far the largest social network, Facebook boasts over 2 billion active users. Facebook is great for sharing all types of content (photo, video, written content and more), and offers great native metrics for you to easily keep track of how your followers are interacting with your content. But because of Facebook’s size, it can prove challenging for brands to break through the noise to reach their target demographic.
Brands with a refined aesthetic or products that lend themselves to high-quality photo or video content should develop robust Instagram strategies. Instagram users tend to be younger and respond well to eye-catching visual content which will help to drive traffic and conversions.
Pinterest is another social platform that favors quality visual content. It also offers the ability for users to build boards of content they found valuable.
Twitter can be the hardest social media platform for businesses to wrangle. It’s easy enough to repost what you’re sharing on Facebook, but that doesn’t take full advantage of the platform. Twitter is best used to target other businesses. B2B marketing succeeds on Twitter because the platform allows quick, direct and noticeable interaction with potential customers.
YouTube can be a great place to demonstrate products or industry knowledge. However, users expect high quality when browsing video – and quality can be costly.
With over 450 million active users, LinkedIn is a powerful resource for brands looking to generate leads, drive brand awareness or recruit top talent. Develop content to establish you and/or your company as a thought leader in your industry or boost brand awareness within the world’s largest audience of professionals and businesses.
Step 2: Figure Out Your Metrics
There’s more to social media metrics than likes and shares. Here are the ones that matter.
Click-Through Rate (CTR)
Your social media CTR is the rate of social media users that click through to your desired action out of the number of total impressions. It’s a strong indicator of whether or not your social strategy is garnering interest among your followers. If your overall CTR is low, it’s time to rethink things. If you’re seeing variance from one platform to the next, you can choose to double down on the platforms that are seeing more engagement, or revise your approach to the platforms where you’re not performing as well.
Your bounce rate is the number of users that exit the site or landing page your social posts directed them to and is typically a good measure of consistency of messaging and quality of content. If bounce rates are high, the first step is to align your imagery and copy. Make sure that your posts and the pages they lead to match. If that’s not the problem, then you might need to strengthen the content of the site to keep users interested.
Though your conversion rate is a product of many factors, a low conversion rate could trace back, in part, to your social media strategy. If you’re targeting the wrong audience or messaging your products or services incorrectly, then even if your social campaigns won’t convert.
Your likes, retweets, shares, favorites and impressions usually give you an idea of how users are engaging with your social posts. One of the goals of any social strategy is to decrease your cost per impression by increasing engagement and sharing. It’s good to keep an eye on how far your posts are going, but these soft metrics should be secondary to the figures that directly correlate with revenue growth.
Each social platform offers their own native metrics, but some platforms (like Facebook) offer more insightful data than others (Instagram, Twitter). The most efficient way to dive into your social media stats is through Google Analytics. Google Analytics gives you the full picture of the metrics described above from all of your different social platforms.
Sprout Social is another great tool for analyzing social metrics. Sprout Social integrates with all major platforms to provide data and reports in easily readable formats that offer demographic information on the users reached by your posts.
Step 3: Sell Yourself
Now more than ever, social ads present an opportunity for brands to boost awareness and acquisition. Social media users are served ads every time they scroll through their feeds. These ads offer the only full-funnel strategy across all digital marketing channels.
Social ads often serve as the introduction to your business or product. However, depending on your targeting parameters, messaging and creative imagery, they can also impact mid- and bottom-funnel customers. Just remember – customers generally aren’t looking to make purchases when they’re scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. Getting their attention is going to get competitive.
A good social media ad must be eye-catching and concise so your target customers will remember your product or service when they’re ready to buy. Your ads should also aim to generate engagement and promote sharing. The more your ad feels like an “organic” post, the more likely it is that users will engage with it. This leads to a reduction in cost per impression. Lastly, ads must align with your brand voice and online persona so that customers enjoy a consistent brand experience throughout their consumer journey.
Target. Then Re-Target.
As with Search Engine Marketing, you should start broad with your social strategy. Unless you’re absolutely certain of your target demographic, don’t risk losing out on potential customers because of a hunch. As you test, refine and gather data, you can adjust and optimize your strategy to target only those users who are responding to your ads.
Always remember to give your campaigns time to generate returns. Social ads are mainly effective in planting the seed of awareness in your target audience. That’s not to say that social ads can’t directly drive revenue, but typically they are the first step in drawing potential customers into the funnel. As they continue to familiarize themselves with your brand, your other marketing strategies will nurture them through to purchase.
Bringin’ It Home
Your social channels are the touchpoint for current and future customers to form a personal relationship with your brand. But customers get bored. If you’re not consistently providing valuable content for your audience and interacting with your community in an authentic way, they’ll lose interest.
You need to own the conversation across the major social channels. Make sure you are regularly posting highly targeted, organic social media posts in your brand voice to grow your community and keeping them engaged with direct messages and responses. Also, don’t forget the power of social media advertising. Utilize paid social when you have a specific campaign or business goal.
If you’re looking for some help with your own social media strategy, we’ve got a whole team at the ready to take your social game to the next level.