Social media campaigns flag several things up in the mind of the average business owner – time and a modicum of horror being in the mix. Social media campaigns take time; that can’t be avoided. When you’re starting out on the social media path to promote your business, the initial rewards are few and far between; it almost feels like people are deliberately ignoring you and can lend an air of paranoia to the proceedings.
It’s important to remember that past that initial start, gains can become exponential. After all, 3 people sharing your content is barely a blip; 300 people sharing that same content can snowball. In a lot of ways, social media can have a larger impact than your website; a web page optimised for one or two keywords vs. a network that contains millions of people, both in your local area and globally.
Redefine Your Idea Of Social Media Campaigns
Don’t for one second think that social media campaigns are restricted to the big names, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus – while these are fantastic for getting instant info and responses, you’ve also got the slow growers, such as:
- Blog and forums
- Social Bookmarking (Stumbleupon, Reddit) – learn more about how to promote your blog with Reddit here
- YOUR blog – it has a commenting system, therefore this is a social network all of its own. Given enough content, you’ve created an ecosystem.
The difference between random posting and a proper social media campaign.
If your policy towards social media is the odd post on Facebook and the occasional tweet, that’s not a social media campaign – it’s exactly what you’d do if you were posting from a personal account of an evening. A plan is needed and this can denote a few different things, such as:
- Your resources – How many hours per day to promote your business via social media and who is responsible? Yourself, your employees?
- Your audience – what are the key demographics of the potential customer? Such as age, location, buying habits.
- Your goals – what do you hope to achieve? This could be SEO, brand awareness, conversions to sales or a blend.
- Which networks are suitable? Facebook is great for a local bricks and mortar business in a small town, Twitter would be a little pointless.
Think of this as a business plan; it’s got exactly the same goals. Where do you want to be with your social media campaign and how do you want it to promote your business. Gather all the social networks together and determine which are the most deserving of your time.
Once you’ve got all this together, the task becomes much easier and more manageable. The gibbering internal wreck vanishes and you stand a much higher chance of goal achievement.
Branding Your Social Media Campaign
Branding your social media campaign is vitally important. For a lot of visitors, this will be the first contact with your business. All of the major social platforms have options for branding:
- Your avatar/profile image – your business logo would look great here. Not so much your grinning face. Freelancers can be a little looser in this regard; there’s something to be said for the personal touch when you’re a solo worker and first point (only point!) of contact.
- The cover image – this is a great place to promote your business services. Not paragraphs of text, but key points of your business model.
- Your business write up – in particular, Google Plus. This is integrated into Google Places and during local search (if optimised well) can be the very first result in Google.
Getting more social followers
Now you need to start getting those followers in. There’s no easy way to do this and don’t go paying for followers! A thousand followers for $20 might sound great, but what relevance do they have to your business? These are just a random mixture of people and worse still, bots; automated posters. I can’t be certain, but fake people might not be in a position to enjoy that luxury tea-set you’re selling.
Here’s the not-so-secret: people will follow you if you interact with them on a regular basis. Be amusing, be knowledgable. Answer comments on a Google Plus post to the best of your abilities. Don’t be short – be detailed, even offer help to sort someones issue. This is what a social community is – real life, but written on the screen. You’ve recently moved into a house and you’re getting to know the neighbours.
We’re playing the exponential numbers game here – 100 people follow you and 30 share your content. Imagine that; their followers may well share that content on themselves. Keep racking the numbers up with great content shared (preferably your own!) and multiply that cross the hundreds and even thousands. Dream big!
You can boost this by:
- Cross promoting of social media posts – for example, tweet about that microblog you wrote on Google Plus, post it on Facebook, make a post on Reddit.
- Promotion of website content, in particular new blog posts.
- Sharing the content of others
Understanding Your Audience’s Needs
Don’t overdo the promotion – if you’re bombing twitter with endless business promotions or descriptions of your business, you’re going to disengage what followers you have. Your followers are there for one reason only; content they enjoy, advice that can help them and links to great content. Make one out of every ten posts about your business.
The Differences Between Social Platforms
Tweeting about your business in the small hours of the night isn’t going to bring many returns – you need to understand that different platforms have different peak times. There’s evidence to suggest that peak Twitter times for posting are 9am, 3pm, and 6pm. Because of the sheer machine-gun of data, that elegantly crafted tweet is going to vanish within seconds.
Facebook has an entirely different time set and you have to remember that it’s also very much down to the industry that you’re trying to promote. A tech based industry is far more likely to read Facebook posts during the day, a potential buyer of household goods in the evening after work.
More than this, you have to know what kind of post is most likely to gain the biggest audience.
- Facebook – entertainment, amusing images, controversial opinions
- Twitter – Business, breaking news, trending topics.
- Google+ – A much wider variety of the above, with more opportunity for question answering and business related microblogging.
- Linkedin – As you would expect, professional industry related topics.
In ALL cases, posts will perform to a measurably greater degree when accompanied by a striking image.
Which leads us on nicely to:
Using Social Media Tools To Post
At Freshly Blended we use Hootsuite. It’s an elegant solution that allows you to place all of your social media campaigns into one interface, with sensibly laid out data that allows you to keep track of it. Most importantly, it allows you to schedule posts for particular times, allowing you to queue them up. Another handy feature is auto posting, at which point it decides the best time to schedule posts for different social networks.
Measuring Your Social Media Campaign Results
Of course, all this effort is for nothing if you can’t measure what you’ve achieved. If all you’ve got to show is the number of likes and follows, it’s a big fat fail, because you have no idea how that audience is interacting with your services or products.
The three metrics you need to measure are Reach, Engagement and Conversion. All of the major social platforms have their own take on metrics and will allow you to monitor all three. Broken down, what do these mean?
Reach – this is a direct measurement of how many people your message impacted, or reached. In short, did the person ‘react’ (for example a click) when presented with your post. A poor reach means that you’re doing something wrong along the way and may need to rethink your content and approach. Don’t worry if this is low at the beginning, because naturally you will be short on connections, likes and followers.
Engagement – In short, did the person ‘react’ (for example click) when presented with your post. In a nutshell, did anyone really care enough about your post to do anything about it? Some aspects of engagement you can actively measure are:
- Comments on your posts
- New shares of your posts
- Mentions and Retweets
Conversion – this is the most important aspect, because even if you got the previous two right, a fail here makes your entire social media campaign pointless. This is a measurement of goals achieved and who took the action that you were steering them into making. As an example, let’s pretend you are hoping your posts will lead to newsletter sign-ups on your website.
With Google Analytics integrated into your website (what? get it in there, it’s free!), you can now measure refferal visits and use campaign tracking to build trackable links fore every social media post you make. Finally, with goal tracking within Analytics, you can track every aspect of the ROI (return on investment). Remember, time IS investment, so don’t be wasting it by shooting in the dark!
Social Media Offline
A customer walks into your business and you’d like them to follow your social media campaign. Use this as a chance to promote your business – let them know about the relevant accounts they may be interested in. How are you going to do this? After all, quoting off a long list of URL’s isn’t going to work. Ask them to visit your website (handing out a business card in the process) and follow the social links. Easy!
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