Drive Revenue with Social Media: A Guide in Four Steps
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By Robert Brownlie, Associate Account Executive, Bob Gold & Associates
As of 2020, there are approximately 3.78 billion social media users, a number that is expected to reach 4.41 billion by 2025. This includes the 90+% of businesses that also employ some form of a social media strategy. What does this massive volume mean to PR professionals? It is both harder and more rewarding for those who can cut through the noise and be noticed.
As opposed to simply writing content and posting it, social media marketing has become a much more intensive process involving analysis of web statistics and targeted strategies. As anyone who has ever tried to meet the character limit of a Tweet knows, it can seem like your performing laser eye surgery with every word!
But underneath all the different traffic stats and complex tactics, the fundamentals of a campaign will ultimately determine if it is a success or not. Luckily, these essential elements can be boiled down to these basics – monitoring, managing, measuring and monetizing.
Once marketers have mastered a clear action plan incorporating these four principles, social media campaigns can be accomplished successfully.
- Monitor the social landscape
Whether you’re developing a full-fledged campaign or are simply looking for the right hashtags or topic for your CEO’s next op-ed, understanding the trending topics of target personas as well as what competitors are doing on social media is an essential preliminary step. Monitoring conversations also has an added benefit – it enables you to discover new topics that your brand can provide unique insight into.
Manually searching for keywords and scouring different platforms can be a time trap. Instead, once goals are defined, it is useful to adopt a software platform that can track and analyze conversations and provide rapid insights. When using a platform, make sure you understand how to best utilize its search strings and tools to optimize efforts.
- Manage to achieve defined goals
Actions should be guided by (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) SMART goals. After launching a campaign, deft management is essential to achieving these clearly defined goals. It is vital to refine campaigns by tracking what works and does not and reacting to feedback to improve performance. Additionally, social-media managers should not be rushing to post everything manually. Instead, posts and tweets should be scheduled and tracked in a calendar.
It is also important to respond to comments, or a lack of them. This helps stimulate conversations and flush out leads. While software, analytics and strategy are important, ensuring execution is well managed is the key to success in the long run.
- Measure continuously
Social media is spread across many platforms, making it a challenge to track and analyze. Yet, this is an essential element, especially if you are reporting to a chief marketing officer, another executive or even board members.
To make reporting easier, it is good to decide on how you will measure success before a campaign begins, provide a central location for all parties involved to track metrics regularly, and make sure the data tracked tells a compelling story that demonstrates how social media marketing is moving the business forward.
For instance, as there are over 1 billion websites competing for engagement, a main goal when measuring social media will likely be linked to website traffic generation. For this, you should track metrics like post click-through rates in conjunction with methods to monitor how a website is engaging viewers and converting leads. By measuring such traits consistently, you can show higher-ups how sales are being impacted while also learning which strategies are working and not working.
- Aim to monetize
With your measurements helping forge a path forward, you will ultimately want to show how social media marketing is driving revenue growth. If marketers can directly link social media marketing efforts to sales, the value of a campaign becomes immediately noticeable.
To link reporting metrics with bottom line growth, you will want to measure the impact of earned, owned and paid media in relation to overall goals that demonstrate value, like customer retention and service, lead generation, or social presence. Then there are key metrics you should monitor, such as followers, click-throughs, email sign-ups, SEO scores, number of comments, etc.
While there are many metrics to track for social media success, those in charge will likely be chiefly concerned with lead conversion, customer retention and anything that directly ties marketing to revenue growth.
Conclusion – pursue success diligently
Remember and try to help others realize that social media and much of marketing is not about instant gratification. This is especially true if you’re trying to keep customers engaged and develop a relationship with them.
Instead, those who achieve success follow these four fundamentals diligently and track a variety of different measurements to ensure their efforts are constantly improving and when possible significantly contributing to a brand’s bottom line. Taking such action now will enable a business to better compete in years to come as the billions of already engaged users grow alongside the social media strategies of virtually every business.