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Are you a digital marketing specialist who’s curious about how to get more engagement out of social media? Or perhaps you’ve been in digital marketing for a while, but finding it hard to keep up with changing trends?
Whether you're running your own business, specializing in boosting other people's businesses, or even starting out designing a personal branding strategy, it's essential that you understand how to make the most of your accounts on various social media platforms.
Here are a few suggestions on how to stay ahead of the game with your next social media campaign without running yourself into the ground.
Why is it Important to Use Social Media Well?
On the whole, people are engaged with social media, and it's not just because they're "bored" – people are actually using it for genuine social interaction and for purchasing various products. In theory, it's at the top of the funnel and not for sales – but really these days we’re using it to make sales directly.
When used strategically social media can incorporate sales techniques along with using it as a tool for engaging, informing, and educating. For instance, using an Instagram ad to promote a current sale can work wonders with an intriguing photo and headline.
But it's also important to remember why people are on social media in the first place – and that 's to connect with people. Keeping it light, engaging with your audience, ensuring you are using the right platforms for your demographic, and watching your metrics are all key to using social media to connect.
Just remember that you intend to build relationships and not necessarily to "make" a sale.
1. Targeting & Remarketing
As a marketer, you already know that there are many tools out there to help you save time and even target your social streams to the right audiences – but how do you do this, and if you’re doing it, how do you take it to the next level?
On a basic level, Facebook ads take care of targeting for you by allowing you to set your parameters. But it’s your job to understand your metrics so that you can punch in the most effective ones. This process usually takes some trial and error, so if you're not feeling super successful in this arena just yet, it's okay – keep trying, testing, and tracking.
Remarketing is a way to aim ads to people who have previously been to your site. Both Google and Facebook have remarketing programs that can help you to retarget on individual platforms, and programs such as AdRoll can span a cluster of search engines and social applications for segmentation and targeting.
2. Use the Right Metrics
Part of your social media strategy should undoubtedly be about choosing the right type of metrics that are most important for you to track. Then, you can use this information correctly to inform your future strategy. It isn't always that easy, even for those who honestly like crunching the numbers.
There is an assortment of tools available out there, but the key is to use them to get the data and then interpret the information in interesting ways to find out exactly what your audience is doing. The idea here is to go beyond the numbers and understand the story behind them.
Sprout Social recommends basing your metrics on these four key indicators:
- What people are hearing or seeing about you
- Numbers that focus on engagement
- Linking engagement with conversions
- Overall impact
You'll want to break Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) into different sections as well. For instance, when it comes to conversions, you will only want to count this if you're genuinely trying to convert via social. If this is the case, revenue isn’t the only thing to look at – other indicators to consider will include your lead conversion rate and your non-revenue conversions.
When you do this right, you should only be spending a few hours a month on analytics.
3. Use Social Media for Customer Service & Engagement
Twitter may seem confusing or even useless to some, but many brands are using it strategically to ramp up customer service initiatives and consistently maintain positive relationships with their customers. Here are a few examples:
Xbox currently has a distinct Twitter page entirely devoted to support where they feature their hours and provide real-time information on updates, bugs, problems, and wait times.
Using customer insights, quotes, and testimonials can go a long way towards establishing trust with an audience. Adobe Customer Care focuses on creativity as they run their Twitter page, using it to share and discuss art made by customers.
Clothing store Zappos is another brand that’s well-known for its customer service initiatives, and even though most of their interaction is via phone, they use social media intensely to not only engage but monitor their customer service success.
AI-based chat programs or even call-back programs are also steadily improving, with chatbots directing plenty of live messages and even being integrated into Facebook messaging.
4. Diversify your Content
According to Wordstream, over 80% of Twitter users watch video content and almost half of social media users view at least an hour of video via Facebook or YouTube daily.
Video is truly king, and these days it's something that we're all able to create and share, even if we're just playing around at home and we want to say hi to our friends (a great way to practice). So, if you're already doing plenty of videos, it's probably time to take a more in-depth look into what's working and why.
And if you're looking to diversify in other ways, there are plenty of options: Try integrating ads into Instagram Stories or creating simple images with low-cost or free services like Canva to keep your content fresh and engaging.
5. Find New Ways of Connecting
The nature of marketing in the digital sphere is different than that of traditional marketing, and a big part of this is that there's a massive push for authenticity. Smart brands take this idea to heart and concentrate on initiatives that allow customers to identify with their brand.
For instance, we've all been inundated by advertising that promotes a particular beauty ideal. Dove took that frustration and used social media for their Real Beauty campaign some 14 years ago, which was an innovative and (possibly) daring move at the time.
But people loved it because it was relatable and real. In taking that risk, Dove used social media to connect with audiences on a level that they may have not yet reached in their long history. And they did this by framing their product as a conversation between women, rather than an advertisement.
Intelligent brands are also using consumer information in clever ways to establish trust, such as incorporating "bad" PR into their marketing platforms and generally discussing their own imperfections openly. Showing that you're taking customer complaints seriously, for instance, and then demonstrating how you have improved on that aspect of the business tells a story that you care about customers.
The Bottom Line
The old PR mentality of "do anything to cover it up" is really not feasible in this age where we're looking for authenticity. People appreciate it when individuals and companies are not only able to own their mistakes but also show how they are willing to learn from them.
But of course, it’s not a good move to always focus on your mistakes. The key is to identify what your customers genuinely value most and build a social strategy recognizing that. Being genuine is a big part of it, and this includes setting aside the right amount of time and energy to properly engage with your core audience (or hiring someone who can).
Here are a few ways to keep it real:
- Keep messages simple, clear, and meaningful, using storylines and humor where appropriate.
- Step back from the “numbers” and focus on your long-term relationship-building.
- Answer all customer comments on social media, always!
- Use tools like Hootsuite’s social media trends toolkit to keep everything organized.
- Follow new types and platforms closely so that you can ensure you're engaging with the right audiences.
- Show your face as often as possible by using video tools like Facebook Live.
- Add humor and color, or be quirky if that represents your brand well; in other words, show-off your company's personality.
With social media, you have to remember quality wins over quantity. You may be tempted to "build your follower list" in a record amount of time, but what's more important is to pay attention to who is sticking around in the long run. Your audience will tell you a lot about what's working for your company and brand.