Social media is an important component of any digital marketing strategy, particularly as modern consumers increasingly spend time online and on mobile devices.
However, social media can also be overwhelming, especially for small businesses. With the growing number of platforms, tactics, and players in the market, navigating the social media realm can be confusing if you’re not sure what you’re doing.
Here to share advice on how to achieve social media success is Jessica Katz, the Managing Director at Golden Communications — a digital marketing and web firm with one mission: to make websites work harder.
Jessica has been in the field of digital marketing and websites since 2008. She joined GoldenComm seven years ago, where she helps businesses adapt, grow, and thrive through the use of technology.
Read on to learn Jessica’s top recommendations for designing and implementing a winning social media strategy and apply her tips in your business.
Why shouldn’t businesses try to "do all the channels” and what should they do instead?
Social media is funny in that way. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Doing social media the right way can take a lot of time, effort, and careful planning. Not everyone has the full-time resources in-house and not everyone can pin value to paying an outside team to manage it for them.
As with any marketing channel, I’d put on your Simon Sinek hat and “Start with Why”. If you asked yourself, or the team responsible for your social media, “WHY do we have Twitter?”, you should get a response immediately. One tied to a pretty solid business case, e.g. “We are able to answer a good amount of real-time customer service feedback, quickly, before it becomes a problem.” – great. Keep it! Blank stares and shoulder shrugs? Endless hours putting tweets out into the ether because someone told you that you had to? Toss it.
My recommendation would be to sit down and look at all the social channels you have, or don’t have yet, and ask yourself “What am I hoping to get out of investing time into this social channel? Why should we do this?”. You should have a clear and unique answer for the one’s worth investing in. At the end you might have one or ten, but the goal here is quality. Not quantity.
What are some of the key considerations that businesses should keep in mind when crafting their social media strategy?
I had a great question thrown at me the other day. We were doing social media planning for a client and were asked “How many times a week should we be posting to this channel?” – a fair, normal question when it comes to social media. There are absolutely general guidelines when it comes to frequency, but my answer for this is to post when you have something of value.
Your team shouldn’t be scrambling for content on a Tuesday because they HAVE to post on Tuesday. This is how we end up with empty content. Did it get posted? Sure. Did you get to check your frequency box for the week? Sure. But the real question is “did this content tie back to your why for that social channel, and is it going to have any impact on your business?” – I sure hope the answer is yes, if you went to all that trouble.
Remember that social media is content and needs to have a content plan behind it, while leaving room for in-the-moment opportunities. At GoldenComm we have 20 Golden Rules of Harder Working Websites – in the video for Golden Rule #16, I talk about the basics for a content marketing plan. The same applies here for social:
- Who – do I know who I’m creating this content for?
- What – do I know what I’m featuring in my content?
- When – do I know when the best time is to deliver this content?
- Where – do I know where I am posting this content?
- Why – do I know why I’m doing this and what the ultimate goal of this content is?
- How – do I know how I’m going to track the impact of this content?
What are some of your top recommendations and best practices when it comes to social media targeting?
Paid social media is a different ball game from organic social media. If you are paying to target an audience, we need to have a very specific audience and goal in mind. We are anticipating we are going to find people who aren’t looking for us, but need us soon. This is not the same as showcasing your corporate culture on Instagram.
Let’s take a step back here and make sure we are in alignment on the bigger picture. If your company has not gone through the formal exercise of personas and segmentation, or reviewed it in the last year, I could not recommend it more.
In every social platform, you are given a list of criteria to target. This ranges from location, to company size, to general interests, etc. It would be difficult to target a campaign properly and successfully if you haven’t first identified who your company wants to do business with. Personas.
Now you know who you are talking to. So let’s make sure what you are saying resonates with them as well. Based on their individual pain point, you may have a single product or service for that solution. Segmentation.
Let’s run with GoldenComm as a quick and simple example. Perhaps a persona of ours is CMO’s. Not every CMO is going to need the same kind of website, but based on their industry we can segment by something as simple as lead generation vs eCommerce. Now I can craft a paid post on LinkedIn, targeted to CMO’s in Orange County, who work for a company in the manufacturing industry that participates in eCommerce.
Your turn. Can you identify a core target persona? How might you expand that into campaign targeting?
How should businesses go about measuring their success on social media?
Before you go about counting all of your likes on a post, let’s make sure we remember why we are doing this. How you measure your social engagement will vary based on your goal. It’s not the same for every business, and success might look different on each of your channels.
Example: let’s say your “why” on Instagram is to showcase your corporate culture and values to prospective hires. You’re using it as a recruiting tool. We now know we aren’t looking for more sales from Instagram. Instead, we are looking for a lift in followers and post engagement, and an increase in visits to our website from Instagram – specifically to the about us page and careers page – and potentially an increase in application conversions directly or assisted from your Instagram referral traffic. You see how that “why” is so important? It also informs our needs for tracking.
Luckily, each social media platform provides you with an analytics dashboard. Here you can gather what happens to your posts and page within the platform. If you want to see what is happening on your website, because of traffic that came from your social media posts, you’ll need an analytics tracking tool on your website – like Google Analytics.
A social media strategy has many moving parts, which is why it’s critical to be smart and mindful about which channels and tactics you’re investing in. Hopefully, Jessica’s insights help point you in the right direction!
If you’d like to learn more about GoldenComm or need help launching a digital strategy, check out their website.