“People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.” — Earl Nightingale
I don’t think there’s anyone who’d disagree with that.
If you set off in one direction, having no idea where you’re headed, chances are, you’ll never get there. What’s your destination, the point of your quest, your end goal?
You’ve got to get that figured out – before you get going.
Social media planning is no different. When you’re building out your strategy for the coming month, year, etc., you need to decide what you’re looking to get out of the time you invest.
Essentially, what’s the point of the work you’re about to get started on, what’s the ROI you’re seeking?
Keeping these 5 goals in mind while building out your social media strategy can help you get the most out of your efforts:
1. Improve the influence of your brand
With the literally limitless Internet and constant barrage of content on social media, it’s a wonder the human mind can even process it all.
Every brand, personality, article, product, etc. are all competing for attention at any given moment. So you’ve got your work cut out for you when it comes to finding a way to help your business stand out from the crowd.
How can you make sure your brand voice is heard?
Stay true to your customer base. Before you even begin any kind of social strategy, you should have a firm grasp on who you are as a business and how to speak to your customers, as well as their wants and needs.
If you’re focusing on using the appropriate tone and sharing content aligned with your brand persona, you’ll be better able to reach the right audience, solidify your brand image and strengthen your relationship with your customer.
Ever asked someone an important question…and never received a reply?
Doesn’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, does it?
Make sure your social media strategy includes initiatives to answer questions posted by your audience either to your social channels or within the comments section of your blog.
When you follow up with the individual who left the inquiry in a timely, knowledgeable and professional manner, you not only exhibit your quality customer service skills and attentiveness to that particular person, but also, publicly, to your entire social audience.
This creates a sense of brand loyalty between you and that particular customer and shares a positive example to potential customers who may be watching. Meaning you can earn life-long customers, referrals and new business, simply from a few minutes spent on a thoughtful reply.
With a strong social media presence, you’re going to need great images and pictures to attract and engage your audience.
When you’re sharing original content, reposting external content, following people, asking people to follow you – essentially, with every post, picture and statement – make it your goal to stay true to who you are and focus on getting the word out about your company and products or services you provide.
Your brand is awesome. So make sure people know about it.
2. Generate more traffic from social media
So once you’ve got it on your game plan to make your presence known in the social space, where do you want to direct those interested in learning more about your business?
Your website. Where else?
Wherever you can within your social updates, you’ll want to link back to your website.
This can be via links to articles featured on your blog, customer testimonials, press releases – the options are endless, so long as you have a landing page for it, you can send people there.
At times, business owners tend to view website traffic as the means to an end. More conversion, more sales and ultimately, more business.
They’re right. For the most part. Think about it. Why do brick and mortar stores feature people dancing in hot dog suits out front or offer big flashy coupons in the Sunday paper?
Because they want to drive more traffic into their store and thus, increase the chances that they’ll make a sale, or, more importantly, that they’ll gain a long-term customer.
This same idea is reflected within the online space with your social media updates as your “dancing hot dogs” and your website as your storefront. The difference is, earning website traffic requires less of a customer commitment than driving out to a store.
Benefit? More people come. Problem? It’s also easier to leave.
So you need to make sure that the links you share on social lead to quality content and information, presented in aesthetically pleasing, easy to consume fashion – so visitors want to stay a while.
But keep in mind – website traffic is important on its own as well.
In the same way that you develop brand interest and customer relationships by sharing social updates that speak to your audience, engaging with them and answering their questions, your website helps feature who you are as a business.
Construct your social strategy to focus on driving traffic to your website – for both future business and brand awareness.
If you’re looking to customize your audience, we have a free software that you can grab here.
It is also important to use tracking tools which help you track every movement of every visitor. Then, you can tweak your approach in an effort to increase the number of website visitors coming from various social channels. We recommend ClickPerfect to add tracking to every link you use!
3. Expand your mailing list
One of the major disadvantages of social media is an overcrowded channel where everyone’s competing with the same mass audience for attention.
Sure, you can reach a lot of people at once.
But are they all listening?
Most likely, no.
Ideally, you’d be able to talk to a current or potential customer one-on-one, in a less distracting environment, when sharing a marketing message.
That quiet digital environment is your customer’s inbox.
Your social media strategy should include methods to direct your followers not only to your website for traffic purposes, but also to subscribe to your blog, fill out a form to download content, sign up for digital coupons – by sharing their contact information.
By requesting this information from them, you’ve now got yourself a direct line of communication to potential customers, with which you can share more detailed messages, send out surveys to better understand their needs and advertise your newest offerings.
Remember, social updates are like generic advertising. People take a 2 second look and move on.
But if your social strategy focuses on updates that entice your audience to share their contact information, you can turn that 2 second look into a 2 minute read, and ideally, a sale.
4. Obtain quality leads
Most people aren’t going to seek more information about your company unless they have at least a basic interest in your products or services.
But not everyone that shares their email address with you will be a future customer.
So how do your determine the different wants and needs of individuals on your mailing list and ensure you’re directing the right messages to the right parties?
By attaching different lead nurturing email campaigns to particular pieces of content, based upon the topic, you have a higher chance of putting the right message in front of the right customer.
You can also request additional information from subscribers by asking them to fill out a download form that asks for not only their email address, but also their current challenges, what business they’re in, how old they are – whatever information will be beneficial to your marketing efforts.
Here’s an example. If you are a home décor retailer and offer a downloadable pamphlet showing how to set a table using crystal dishware, the email addresses of those individuals who download the pamphlet will automatically be entered into a lead nurturing campaign featuring a series of three follow up emails about different ways to decorate a home using crystal ware.
The form the individual completes may also include questions regarding age, location and occupation, which offer your company important data that can be used to help better focus future marketing efforts.
Use your social media strategy to earn contact information and customer details. Create a mailing list. Direct the right content to the right customer. And get them to share more about themselves.
Now you’ve got a lead. Which will hopefully allow you to…
5. Increase your overall sales
At the end of the day, your company’s goal is to make money.
All the social shares in the world, the highest brand awareness possible with the greatest website traffic, longest email list and a sweet collection of leads are all efforts to earn a sale. And ideally, a life-long customer.
All of these efforts must work in unison for your business to reach this goal. It comes down to adjusting this, adding more of that, taking out a little of this, until you find the right formula that works for your business.
Your social strategy must include a system for tracking your conversion rate from interest and click-through rate on social media…all the way down the line to overall sales.
Social tools like Google Analytics, Hootsuite and Sprout Social, among others, can help you determine the value generated by each of your social channels and allow you to test various tweaks to your campaigns and overall strategy, so that you’re focusing on the right things that deliver the greatest return.
In the world of social media, things are constantly changing
No one knows it all when it comes to building out a perfect social media strategy.
In fact, a perfect social strategy doesn’t exist. And never will.
Why? Because no one can predict the future. Or changes in technology. Or customer buying behavior.
But you can ensure that your business stays on track with the right goals in mind and regular adjustments to your overall strategy, based on the information you’ve gathered along the way.
Does your social strategy already have these goals? If so, which ones do you feel are the most important to you?
Don’t have your social media goals defined yet? Which ones listed above will you decide to use?
Let us know in the comments below!
When he isn't working, Alex enjoys meeting new people, reading and playing guitar. You can also find him cruising on his Yeti skateboard and exploring Southern California!
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