Using social media to communicate with customers might seem easy and informal, but there are still rules you should follow to get it right and develop your brand online. Here are some best practices that you’re not following right now, but should.Clarifying Your Social Media Goals
What is it that you want to get out of your social media marketing campaign? Do you want to increase sales? Do you want to increase engagement with your brand? Where are you with your marketing right now.
A good SEO agency will be able to help you clarify your vision, but you also have to be able to do a little self-assessment on your brand.
The truth is that most companies jump the gun on their social media campaign. They buy up advertising before they’ve established themselves as thought leaders. They haven’t taken the time to build an audience before engaging them on Facebook or Twitter.
If you haven’t established your brand elsewhere, you probably don’t need to on social media yet. If you have, then your goals are going to be rather simple: get more sales, connect with your audience to get referral traffic, or both.
Develop Your Content Strategy
What kind of content strategy should you have on social media sites? Answer: one that works. Easier said than done, right?
Again, here’s where a lot of businesses fall down. Not every brand is well-suited for every social media site. Some companies, like marketing and tech companies, do very well on Twitter. Other brands, like non-profits, do very well on Facebook.
And, even when you’ve figured out where you belong, you still need to know the types of content that work well on that site. For example, there is extensive research that shows that images do very well on Facebook. So do videos.
But, one thing most people don’t talk about is the fact that humor works well on Facebook, as does controversy. But, as a brand, you have to be careful with both. If you don’t already have a loyal following, for example, controversy could drive away a lot of your fanbase or erase what little fanbase you have.
If you post humor, you’d better know your audience or else you might offend them instead of make them laugh.
Starting a conversation works well, but again, you have to know what to talk about. This is why it’s so important to build up an audience off of Facebook before you try to market or engage people here.
Think about it: when people start a personal profile on this site, they already have friends who they interact with. There’s already common ground there.
But, what about you! You’re a corporate brand. Where are your friends? Customers don’t perceive you as a human. They see you as a cold corporate structure – stiff and fake, like a parent trying to act cool and hip in front of your teenage son or daughter. They’re not buying it.
You have to get them to buy in, and to do that, you need to earn their trust and loyalty off-site through other venues where they are naturally inclined to listen to (and like) you, and where you are an authority, like your blog.
Using Analytics Intelligently
Most social media sites have extensive analytics apps and plug-ins. Use them. But, don’t get lost in the data. For most companies, the most important metrics are engagement and click-through rates to target media.
For example, if your brand is marketing a photo, how many people comment, “like,” and share it? If you’re trying to get people to click through to your company’s site, how many people are doing that?
Don’t worry so much about things you can’t control, like reach. It is what it is, and at the end of the day, the social media site controls who sees what on the site. As long as you’re following best practices for the site in question, focus on results from your actions and constantly work to improve your targeting.
Adjusting Your Strategy
Over time, you will need to adjust your marketing strategy. Always follow the data and don’t be afraid of split-testing. When your click-through rate is faltering, test a new headline. When your engagement drops off, try a different angle, posting strategy, or adjust your timing to see if you can pick it back up.
A lot of marketing is a guessing game – an educated and informed guessing game, but a guessing game just the same.
Anthony Yap is the CEO of Singapore Social Media Marketing, a Singapore-based Internet marketing agency specialized in providing search engine marketing, social media marketing, reputation management, and website design. Having graduated with a degree in computer systems engineering, he is technically well-versed with how to optimize sites for a better user experience. He has over 10 years experience in helping business owners effectively market their businesses online. Understanding that each business is different, he develops a custom Internet marketing strategy for every business that meets their objective.