It’s common sense at this point that social media is a large part of our society today. One can get news faster from Twitter than they can from actually waiting for it to appear on CNN or another news outlet. It’s personable, engaging, and addicting to say the least. The question we get asked often is how can businesses leverage this to actually get new customers. More importantly, how can businesses even know if their social media efforts are effective? Many companies are simply engaging with social media because they feel they have to at this point, and are doing so without a clear direction or strategy.
If you want to learn how to start leveraging social vehicles such as Facebook to clearly obtain new customers and understand if they actually buy, read on…
Understand Your Audience and Objectives
First, you MUST know your target audience. This goes far beyond just social media marketing, but it’s a critical first step when it comes to it. Understanding who you are trying to target can help you determine the content strategy you are going to have.
More importantly – what do you want them to do? A B2C business may want a prospect to visit their website and purchase a product, while a B2B organization may want to the prospect to schedule a consultation call regarding a new solution they have available. Before you can start building up an audience, you need to know who your ideal audience is and what action you’d like them to perform.
Focus on the Content Your Prospects Care About Instead of You
Now that you know what your ideal audience looks like, it’s time to start building one. It is extremely important here to focus on quality over quantity. If you run a ton of promotions and give away free things, you’re probably going to have a very large following. However, this following isn’t likely to take the action that you’d like them to.
As marketers, we need to focus on good engaging content that people actually care about. Always put yourself in your prospects shoes – would you actually care about the content you are providing? Or would it just be more white noise in the every growing world of social media?
Share content that is newsworthy…. Prepare content and share it via social networks that actually solves problems for your potential customers. This is all a part of the inbound methodology that our entire business is based on.
Make sure you aren’t just preaching about how great your company and products are. Nobody likes a bragger – and even less so when it comes to online marketing. Think of all of the ads you’ve seen that are talking about how great a company’s product is. Well of course they think it’s great, it’s theirs! Instead, focus on talking about issues and things your prospects care about.
How to Track Success
Now comes the tricky part – actually tracking what happens. Facebook has very good analytics when it comes to the type of people interactive with your posts. However, it’s important to be able to tie in who engages with your social accounts to who actually takes the action you are looking them to take.
This is where it’s incredible important to have conversion mapping done. This should be a core part of your overall sales process – and essentially where marketing and sales alignment is critical (more on this in later blog posts!). Social posts need to tie in with overall campaigns that you are running. For example, a Facebook post could point to a landing page with an eBook that walks through someone how to solve a specific problem they have. By tying this in with the campaign – you now understand where the prospect came from and can track them via the form download.
Tying It All Together
Social media is an extremely effective marketing channel when used correctly. You simply cannot just start posting and hope prospects will engage with you. You need to first understand who you’re targeting, understand what you want them to do, provide valuable content THEY care about, and ensure you have this a part of an overall campaign in order to track the results.