Social media management can seem daunting to some, frustrating to many, and thrilling to others. We’ve seen a lot of businesses either take a very long time to set up a social media presence because of red tape and uncertainty about strategy, or they open an account on every social network but fail to follow through.
However, once a social media profile is set up and as marketers manage the presence over time, they might see stagnation in engagement and fan growth and consider throwing in the towel. But this would be a mistake as social media is a valuable tool to connect with audiences, strengthen brand loyalty and drive sales. If a company discontinues their activity on social, they give the upper hand to their competitors who haven’t given up.
So rather than giving in to the doldrums that may have taken over your social media profiles, here are five steps to boost your presence and improve your business as a result.
Utilize Social Listening
Social listening is the process of knowing what your audience is saying and incorporating your insights into your social media efforts.
Social listening typically involves the following:
1. Brand monitoring
Your audience may be communicating about your brand online. As marketers, it’s important to know what’s being said. You want to know when the conversation is positive and build on what’s working. Engage with your most active fans and nurture them into brand ambassadors. When you see negative comments, understand why customers have this sentiment and work to improve it. Perhaps you need to directly respond, or you may need to adjust behind the scenes.
2. Competitor monitoring
Just as you would monitor your own brand mentions, you should also monitor what people are saying about your competitors. When there’s a lot of excitement about something a competitor is doing, take note. Not that you should necessarily copy them, but there might be lessons learned and ways you can adjust campaigns based on what’s working for competitors. And when things are working for competitors, use it as an opportunity to differentiate by showing how your brand is better.
3. Market analysis
Keep track of mentions related to your industry and see what customers are interested in or frustrated by. Use these signals as early indicators of where trends are moving and see how your brand can get ahead of the game.
Beyond industry specific terms, evaluate what else your audience is interested in. Perhaps there might be cross over with other industries who are connecting with a similar audience. By paying attention to these topics you can gain ideas for content generation as well as possible brand partnerships.
Tools: There are many social listening tools to help marketers. Google Alerts, Warble Alerts, Social Mention, Simply Measured and Sysomos are a few. Each one has different functions with more or less capabilities.
Undertake Competitor Analysis
As referenced above regarding social listening, it’s important to keep an eye on your competitors. Your brand wants to differentiate and show audiences why your company is better for them, but it always helps to know what your competitors are up to. When a competitor does something new you can see how well it works or doesn’t work. Also, you can identify some things they aren’t doing that your company might try to stand out. Like they say, keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
Tools: Some social media competitive analysis tools to check out include: Sprout Social, QuickSprout, Sysomos, and Simply Measured.
Use High Quality Imagery
Imagery is perhaps the most important component of social media. That doesn’t mean other things like textual content and quizzes are not important. But without high quality images your presence will suffer substantially.
Always think about what images you should be using when posting to social media. Make sure it has high enough resolution. You don’t want to have pixelated images. Also, images with items up close to the main subject tend to do better. Images with lots of things going on or far off in the distance don’t usually perform as well.
Consider the social media platform and the size of images that you need for that space. Whether posting to Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, the size of your images and orientation of your videos (horizontal versus vertical) matters. Click here for a great resource on social media image sizing.
Balance Your Content
Hopefully you have an editorial calendar in place for your social media activities. If not, you can download a free editorial calendar template here. If you do have one, take a look and make sure you are balancing your content appropriately between promoting your company and providing additional value to your audience.
What do we mean by providing additional value? Customers aren’t on social media to be advertised to. And while promotional posts are beneficial in useful sales, if a business goes overboard on promotional posts they’ll lose their audience. Instead, connect with your customers on a deeper level. Understand what their challenges and needs are, and offer value that addresses those concerns.
Provide a way for your audience to have fun and learn through interactive items and updates on the news. Depending on your industry the content will vary, but the concept is to not just shout at your customers about your latest product. Instead, infiltrate their lives with great content and they’ll keep coming back for more.
Track Your Social Media ROI
You are running a business, and your business needs to make money. Social media should aid in that effort, not detract from it, and it’s completely possible for this to be the case. All you need is to understand the return on investment, establish relevant goals, and track progress to ensure those goals are met. There are many ways to evaluate social media ROI and tools of varying costs to help. We’re big fans of HubSpot, but you can accomplish some things for free as well.
As you consider your ROI, think about these questions in relation to your business:
- Out of how many website visits on average does it take to get an online sale or lead?
- How many leads does it usually take to make a sale?
- How much on average do you make with each sale?
- How many pages of your website do visitors read before buying or contacting you?
- What other actions assist with sales/lead generation? (Examples including newsletter signups, e-book downloads, quiz participation, etc.)
Now, relating to your social media activities:
- How many website visits do you drive with each social media post?
- What kind of post generates more activity?
- What correlation do you see between increasing your fan base and website traffic generated?
- Which social media platform drives the most website traffic and subsequent sales?
Working through these questions should help you understand the monetary value of your social media activities. For more information on establishing goals to understand your ROI, check out our blog post on setting and achieving content goals.
As you implement these practices into your social media efforts, I guarantee you’ll see positive growth. And continuing to implement them over time will only help you build on what works and cut out the activities that aren’t leading toward your goals.
It can be hard to manage all of these efforts on your own. Sometimes in-house staff don’t have the time or expertise to really process through these questions and track the results over time. When this is the case, our coaching program or social media management packages can help. Learn more about our coaching program by clicking below.