8 Tips for Crafting an Effective and Conversion-centric Social Media Strategy
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The word on the street is that social media is essential for conversion—anything that impacts your business objectives, whether it be through leads, sales or download rates. But a common mistake is thinking that social media results to lead generation in a snap.
That’s the kind of thinking you need to do away with as soon as possible. Before you master a social media strategy, you need time, patience, multiple testing, and the utmost dedication to posting highly-valuable content for your audience.
That being said, it isn’t enough to pepper your social media skills with tactics. What you really need is a strategic prism. This pertains to a social media strategy which is tools-agnostic and at the same time capable of objectives and metrics that supersede any particular social venue. Additionally, it’s no good to live in a fantasy world where you fancy that a perfect, one-size-fits-all solution exists: Remember, no single social media strategy works for all.
Still, that doesn’t mean you have to give up on your social media marketing. Here are 8 tips for crafting an effective and conversion-centric social media strategy:
Locate Your Customers
First things first: to develop your own social media strategy you must first find out where your prospective customers are online. You need a basic understanding of your demographic as well as the unique offerings of different platforms.
For instance, what kind of content do marketers usually generate on Facebook? What kind of pictures usually garner the most likes on Instagram? What are hot topics on Reddit? For instance, because H&M understood the nature of Google+, they were able to use its dynamic, updated, and regularly scheduled offerings to interact with their target audience, resulting in a 22% increase in CTR.
For B2B lead generation, on the other hand, you may need to buffer your Facebook and Twitter efforts with other social media platforms such as LinkedIn or Digg. Again, it all depends on your demographics and your specific niche.
Monitor Your Social Media
Aside from generating leads, monitoring social media also exposes you to the different questions that prospective customers have about your product and/or services. As such, it is vital for you to converse with them and respond to any such inquiries, which encourages them to rely on your brand and to trust in your response.
Remember, monitoring the effectivity of your social media strategy also means you need to address any disgruntled customers and show them that your concern will lead to better services in the future. Peter Gasca, a contributor at entrepreneur.com, suggests four steps to drafting a response to dissatisfied customers on social media: First, validate their concerns. Second, take accountability. Third, give a directive such as a link or a hotline through which they can gain more information. Last, communicate a resolution to the issue and follow up about it.
By studying your social media, you gain insight into present and future lead opportunities. Look closely into what impressions are being made not only about your brand, but your competitors as well. You can also gain insights on what the popular opinion is about your niche. These make up important information which can give you a better idea of how to re-position yourself and how to address concerns about your brand.
Assign KPIs for Your Social Media Goals
Every marketer is aware of the bigger business goals that he or she must consistently aim for. When drafting a social media strategy, however, it is necessary to create specific goals for your social media since no single social media strategy works for all.
Necessarily, these goals must be in line with your mission. Understand, as well, that social media will likely be unable to address all your business goals. Consider using the BSC or Balanced Scorecard strategic planning method to create four perspectives: customer, financial, learning/growth, and internal business process. You can then create a goal for each perspective, particularly when it comes to planning your operations and documentation.
Afterward, choose metrics which will give you the best insight on whether or not you are achieving any progress toward your goals. Remember that both your metrics and your goal must be consistent despite any tactical changes you may make as you adjust to any evolution in the way all social media platforms like Facebook, Google+, or Instagram, operate. Only by analyzing your metrics will you be able to identify your strong and weak points for converting using social media. Remember, your social media strategy needs constant measuring of your metrics and iteration of your goals.
As an additional tip, when drafting your KPIs, remember to aim only for S.M.A.R.T. goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
Create Social Product Experiences
It would be problematic for you to assume that customers can simply be exposed to your social media updates after which they will decide to purchase. Between posting your content and whatever purchase they might make, it is necessary to give them a social product experience—a kind of transition between the post and the possible purchase.
To provide such an experience, think about how you can use the context of your customers and then use the particular tools which would cater best to their contexts: choose among Facebook’s Timeline apps, mobile-friendly websites, and web apps. More importantly, make sure of the following:
Integrate a rich, immersive product imagery with good storytelling and compelling content when devising and implementing your social media strategy. Also, disseminate product information, reviews, and trusted purchases. Make sure that these are convenient, descriptive, and credible.
Lastly, use your chosen platforms to engage in conversation to improve your social media marketing. Give people exclusive access to special promos or discounts on these platforms and aim for an integrated view of their social graph so you can create better opportunities for higher conversion rates in the future.
Use Actionable Insights
Since marketers need to achieve demographic and behavioral insights on their consumers, another way to do this is by using actionable insights. This is possible through the integration of three aspects: posting, experiences, and purchase. Such an integration would allow a closed loop on social-driven commerce. Otherwise, when a marketer focuses only on directing social customers to his or her eCommerce store, he or she risks the chance of them buying anything, which is what happens more than 97% of the time.
To create actionable insights, consider these options for your social media strategy: first, use cross-departmental insights and second, think of creative recruitment tactics.
According to Ben Cockerell of Hootsuite, using a method of both democratizing and sharing social media insights with other departments, a company’s marketing department can become thought leaders. More importantly, such an effort also integrates the knowledge and insights gathered so that optimized key social metrics can be discussed and suggestions heard.
Ryerson University is a good example of creative recruitment tactics. When it came to trying to recruit students, senior digital communications officer of Ryerson University Kareem Rahaman was faced with quite a challenge. Having multiple channels to reach a plugged-in community, there was a need to narrow down efforts. One way that Rahaman devised was to use a “Tagging Tweets” campaign for recruiting students. Today, the university team is known for using both print and digital media to convert prospective students to applicants.
Decide: Target or Shotgun?
There are usually two ways for you to present your content on social media. As its name implies, the shotgun approach allows a wider audience reach by showing all your posts to all your page followers. Unfortunately, this may lead to them eventually un-liking your page when they find that your content is showing up too often and has lost its relevance.
On the other hand, the targeted approach allows you to filter your content so that you can post it particularly for a segment of your selected followers. For instance, Facebook now allows you to use targeting filters, so that only posts with corresponding relevance will be shown to a particular audience. This also allows you to post more frequently and remain relevant, although it does carry the risk of lessening your reach among your audience.
Since both methods have their benefits and risks, you must discern which best suits your social media marketing. It would also be crucial to conduct research into targeting opportunities, such as Facebook’s Enhanced Page Post Targeting. This is a decision that should also be well-informed by your business objectives. Again, depending on whether you are aiming for increased downloads, better sales, or lead generation, you should be able to determine which approach is best for you. After all, there is no single social media strategy for everyone.
Schedule Your Posts
Scheduling your posts enables you to target specific customers. For instance, if a considerable segment of your audience are usually online after dinner on weekdays, or are online for extended hours early in the morning due to their jobs, you can map out content for them so that they are exposed to such at just the right time.
For example, the micro-blogging site Tumblr allows you to queue your posts to make sure that a particular set of your followers who are active at a certain time can see posts that are relevant to them. You can also schedule your posts to ensure that you are not merely clogging the newsfeeds of your followers on social media. You may also look into scheduling your Tweets. By being active on social media at the opportune moment, you have better chances of capturing your targeted customers’ attention and generating leads.
Optimize Your Use of Links and Images
Even for platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram which primarily utilize images, you need to create powerful text. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but you only need a few, concise ones to hook the interest of prospective customers. Links are also essential to direct your newly-interested consumers into taking action (read: a successful conversion). As such, make certain that your link leads to a landing page to complete the process to conversion using social media marketing.
In Conclusion: Toward Your Social Media Swag
Although these are essential tips for honing your strategy, don’t hesitate to experiment. As long as you have an in-depth knowledge of how your different social media platforms work, how your niche behaves on them, and how to align these with your business goals, you will be able to think of better ways to generate leads as you go along.
What is crucial is for you to keep in mind that you must be fearless to develop your own social media strategy. While it may be helpful to study the steps that other players in your field have taken, remember that no single social media strategy works for all.
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