What having a strong social presence REALLY means

| November 29, 2017

Today, social media is widely accepted as a tool that businesses large and small should take advantage of. However, social media success is not always easy to quantify.

You might think you’re doing well because your Instagram followers are steadily climbing, or your Facebook Page gets a lot of positive feedback. But that doesn’t necessarily mean your social media efforts are generating positive marketing ROI.

On the other hand, you might not have the Twitter following of Starbucks or PlayStation, but Twitter could still be driving website traffic and ever-important brand awareness.

Businesses must be cautious when evaluating the success of social media. Here are five questions to ask yourself to evaluate if your social media strategy is paying off.

5 Questions About Your Social Media Success

1. Who’s Listening?

One of the most powerful aspects of social media is the ability to get to know your customers. If your social media followers are mostly employees, friends, or family, you’re not getting all that you could from social media.

It’s important to focus on growing followers who represent your target market. And it’s vital that you listen to them, too. To fully reap the benefits of social media, you need to have a social listening strategy to regularly monitor what people are saying about your brand. One critical example of social listening is customer service. More and more, people are going public with their complaints about a brand, and they expect a response. Your social listening strategy should include following up with customers quickly.

2. Do You Get a Lot of Likes, But Not a Lot of Love?

The difference between the number of “likes” you get on social media versus meaningful engagement with followers is like the difference between the various acquaintances you may come in contact with during the day versus long-term relationships. You might have ten (or more) “nodding acquaintances” (or followers) for every one or two lasting friendships or relationships.

On social media, a relationship would be defined as a follower who does more than just hit “like.” They are clicking your links, sharing your content, commenting on it, and engaging in a conversation. They’re your fans and your potential brand ambassadors. If you get a lot of “likes,” you’re on your way to social media dividends. But quality is better than quantity in the long run.

3. Do Influencers Know Who You Are?

You already know that it’s important for your content to be relevant and useful for your audience, but it’s also important to find a good balance between your own original content and curated content. Having only your own content or only curated content is not an effective approach. Take a look at whether you have any industry or community leaders—influencers—following you on social. Are they sharing or retweeting your content? Are you doing the same?

Why is this important? One study indicated that 51% of marketers believe that influencer marketing provides stronger leads and better customers. That’s because a good customer relationship is built on trust. An influencer injects a level of authenticity that a digital ad doesn’t have.

4. Is Social Media Making the Cash Register Ring?

Social media is no different than any other type of marketing when it comes to ROI. You need to be able to track your results so that you can understand which efforts provide the best return. Is anything changing in relationship to your social media activity—like website traffic, sales, or something else entirely? When it comes to your social media advertising, do you plan and track campaigns as you would your digital or TV advertising?

Only by monitoring and analyzing your social media results can you know what’s working and what isn’t. The method you use for determining ROI from social media depends on your goals. Be clear on what those goals are upfront, so you can choose appropriate metrics.

5. Are You Using Social to Enhance Your Customer Service?

As mentioned above, social media has become an important tool for customer service, and its importance is likely to increase, particularly as Facebook Messenger grows in popularity as a customer service tool. Consumers are looking for a more “human” experience when it comes to customer service, and Facebook Messenger provides an avenue for achieving that. Companies can have conversations with customers right on their Facebook page. When customers know it will be easy to contact you if they need to, it helps to build trust.

Messenger is not the only platform playing an important role in customer service. During the past two years, customer service interactions via Twitter have increased 250%. It’s reasonable to expect that companies will see customer service interactions on social media explode during the upcoming holiday season.

4 Important Takeaways & Social Media Tips

  1. Always keep your target audience in mind. You may have thousands of Instagram followers, but if your prospective customers aren’t there, it won’t do your brand much good.
  2. Carefully consider your specific goals for social media and how they support your overall marketing objectives.
  3. Share some love! Share content from other players in the industry, local businesses, reputable news sources, and social media influencers. Publishing brand-focused content is important, but you can further increase connections and get more engagement if you also publish content produced by other thought leaders.
  4. Commit to measuring social media success in an objective way. Don’t assume that more followers on your page or more likes on a post are indicative of ROI.

There are a lot of misconceptions about social media that can steer you in the wrong direction. Vanity metrics—that is, metrics that are not relevant to your marketing objectives—can give you a false sense of success and lead you to put resources into social media tactics that aren’t helping you reach your goals. Take an objective approach to your social media presence and track the metrics that will provide an accurate picture of your success.

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