The face of advertising is constantly changing. Think about how often you see a Facebook and/or Twitter emblem, from the food we eat, such as on a side of pizza box, to what we watch, such as on a television commercial for fabric softener, social media is everywhere.
Since Social Media is all around us, it’s easy for any business to create a Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter profile, social media has become a new and effective way to reach and connect with consumers and drive sales.
Whether you own a small or medium sized business, leveraging your social media presence is an important way to drive new leads and increase sales. The question arises, “How do you generate new customers from social media?” This question can be partially answered by these following best practices.
1. Design and Implement an Effective Content Strategy
Let the truth be told, content is king. The first step in this process is to evaluate your brand and the products and/or services that your business offers. Next is to determine what your brand voice is. Everything you say on social media should directly reflect how your customers are viewing your company online.
As a business owner, another question you must ask yourself, what are my goals for creating a social media content strategy? One major factor you must evaluate is awareness for your brand. In order to generate new followers and fans and also keep the existing ones excited about your company is through brand awareness.
When consumers are engaged on your social media channels and exercising brand awareness, they are more likely to retweet your content or recommend your posts to their friends on Facebook, which in turn, will expand your posts’ reach and potentially generate leads, and ultimately more sales.
The next question is, how can you track the success of your content strategy and measure your brand awareness on social media? Klout is a great tool to track your campaign and to measure your impact. Your “Klout Score” is a direct reflection of your brand’s social influence across many social networks. The score ranges from an inactive average Joe at 10 to Justin Bieber at 100. Further digging into your score, Klout can also offer analysis that includes how many people you influence, how much you influence people, and the impact of your influencers.
An important factor to note is to remember that Klout is only evaluating your social media presence on an external basis. It’s not a direct measurement of your revenue or the success of your business.
2. Timing Your Content is Key
The best way to execute and organize your content is by creating a content calendar. A free service (there’s also a paid version) called Hootsuite is a great way to plan out your content in advance and schedule out your messaging. Hootsuite also allows you to monitor what consumers and saying about your brand. Here’s a list of 10 top social media monitoring and analytics tools.
Another key to social media success is creating relevant and engaging content. Mentioning fun holidays, historical facts, and seasonal postings are a great way to create conversation on your social media channels. Santa Claus is not as popular after Christmas, but consumers do care about after Christmas sales. A great way to find and explore trending online topics is Google Trends.
Yet another aspect to the success of your social media campaign is when to post your content. First, let’s talk about Facebook. Research has shown that a Facebook post receives half of its reach within the first 30 minutes of posting. With that being said, you need to determine when your audience is mostly online and active. For example, if your company sells office equipment, chances are, the customers that you want to reach will be available during the traditional Monday through Friday schedule. On the other hand, if your company is a high end restaurant, you would benefit by posting your content around lunch time and after 5:00 pm during the week.
A recent study conducted by Socialbakers, based its results on almost 2.9 million Facebook Posts from 23,000 businesses and brand pages over a two month time period regarding which day creates the highest consumer engagement. After analyzing day’s engagement rate, the results were surprising. Monday turned out to be the best performer with its engagement rate well over 7.1%. The study also proved that you may want to skip Saturday and Sunday from your social media content creation.
3. Know Your Audience
When generating content for your followers and fans, you have to ask yourself, “Why are they following my company?” and “Why do they like my company?” Consumers that follow you, see your social media page as something of value. This is a great opportunity to be a thought leader and to provide relevant information to your followers. One major helper in defining your target market is through the social analytics feature on both Facebook and Twitter. These analytics allow you to track the age, location, activities, etc. of your fans. This information is extremely valuable when you generate your content and attract your audience.
4. Conversion Rates
With all of this talk about generating new followers and fans and driving engagement rates on your social pages, at the end of the day, you have to generate leads and convert them into buying customers or your business will not survive. The ultimate goal of your social media channel is to drive traffic to your website, where consumers can contact you and make a purchase. Google Analytics is a great free tool to track all of your past and existing traffic and conversions. This information can be found under the “Conversions” tab.
Hootsuite has teamed up with Google Analytics to integrate Hootsuite’s link shortening service to allow for tractability through “cookies.” By placing a tracking cookie within your link that you provide in your post, you have full access to track the power and reach of your post. Once you have this in place, you will likely see small numbers at first, but if you take your conversions and divide them by your leads, you will get your conversation rate. This will be the best way to track your campaign’s success.
One of the most important recommendations that can be given is to define goals and revise them as needed. Here at Boulder SEO Marketing, we record the results for our clients in a Google Spreadsheet and monitor, share and discuss the results on a monthly basis. Google Docs is a great way to create and share Excel like spreadsheets in real time with your team; it’s free and very easy to use.
Another important thing to think about is that even though creating a business social media profile on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. is free, but to be successful, it’s going to come with a cost. Without a strategic plan in place, you will find that social media for your business will be a huge time sucker.
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To get the most out of your online marketing efforts, register for one of our upcoming social media marketing, search engine optimization and content marketing workshops. Click here to learn more about our online marketing training classes or call us at 720-263-1736 for additional information.