Social media marketing is both a bane and a boon to business owners. If it’s working for your business and driving traffic, you love it. If it’s not bringing in results, you hate it — and feel that you’re wasting your time.
So, stop wasting your time: Drive results, with the right tactics and appropriate planning. Here are 15 strategies to improve your social ROI that every business owner should practice:
1. Use the right social channels.
The social networks you use for your marketing campaigns should fit your audience — as well as your goals. Consider these points when determining which channel(s) to target, taking into account the following metrics from Alexa:
- Facebook has the largest user base (1.1 billion users, compared to Twitter’s 500 million).
- Facebook garners 8 percent of page views on the web, compared to 1 percent for Linkedin and Twitter, and .5 percent for Pinterest.
- LinkedIn and Twitter lean toward B2B marketing, while Facebook dominates the B2C market.
- YouTube is the second-largest search engine and is a great ad source to use, to amplify exposure to other social campaigns or your own videos
Take the time to research your audience and niche so that you can create the blend of social channels that provides the highest return on your efforts.
2. Curate relevant content.
Since it’s not always easy to come up with fresh content, you should curate some. Find relevant articles, news, videos, images, memes, infographics, interviews and more that you can share with your audience.
3. Adapt your strategies based on competitive research.
You’re not the only player in the social landscape. You are competing for a portion of people’s awareness, attention, interests, time, and — of course — money. Analyze what the most engaging companies are doing, then innovate and do it better.
4. Keep your team on track.
Pay close attention to what your team should be focusing on, and set goals, identify important channels and eliminate activities that are ineffective. You always want to keep your team working on social activities that perform the best for your company.
5. Balance promotions, with value-oriented content.
Remember the 80-20 rule in everything you do. The importance of not spamming and overselling your business on social media cannot be emphasized enough. Keep your content 80 percent organic and value-oriented, and 20 percent promotional.
6. Push individual user engagement.
It doesn’t matter how big the company is: Customers love personal attention. Respond to those making comments, even if they’re not asking a question. Directly engage followers in all of your social channels. That builds trust and respect, and followers will be far more likely to do business with you.
7. Be authentic.
Today’s customers are savvy, and you can’t fake it online. Says Sid Shuman, who runs social media for Sony Playstation: “They can smell that a mile away.”
The same people who are die-hard fans of your brand will be the first to call you on the carpet for shady behavior or activity and content that does not reflect the culture that you’ve already created.
8. Stick to a calendar.
Fans appreciate it when they know they can expect certain types of content at certain times of the week. When you’re posting daily and then drop off the radar for a week, it’s noticed and remembered. Schedule your posts, set the number of posts per week and stick to the plan.
9. Leverage social media outside of social channels.
“Incorporate social into every aspect of what you do,” says Jordan Kretchmer, Livefyre’s founder and chief executive. Kretchmer’s company reports that 88 percent of businesses using Twitter feeds, comments, ratings and reviews on home pages have increased user engagement. Some 42 report of business have boosted their average time on site, says Lifefyre.
Social media can bring you indirect ROI right on your website because of the social authority that comes with being active and engaging your fans.
10. Experiment and monitor ROI
Don’t be afraid to break the mold and try new things. Some of those things won’t work, but many will, and you’ll be adding to your toolbox of tactics to improve engagement over the long term.
11. Use paid promotions.
More and more social platforms are offering you the opportunity to promote your page, push specific messages and more, beyond your immediate network of fans. You’ll see much-improved ROI by boosting posts and sponsoring Instagram photos, not only for immediate campaigns, but also for long-term ROI from newly-acquired fans who otherwise never would have discovered you.
12. Tag URLs to better track ROI
With multiple campaigns running, it can be difficult to see the return across a variety of channels. One way to simplify that is to use UTM tags in the URL that tag a specific campaign source. This lets you see traffic from Twitter, Facebook, Soundcloud or YouTube within your analytics. Now, you can actively see the return as it applies to specific posts or campaigns.
13. Join conversations.
Get to know your audience in groups and communities like Reddit, and let them know who you are as you contribute organically to the conversation. The more you engage your audience, the more you can build trust, brand visibility and referral traffic.
14. Mention people.
When there are opportunities to mention influencers and brand advocates in your industry, do it. When you have a proud customer, highlight that person or company. Mentioning people, and tagging them, puts a spotlight on them that leads back to your social channels — a spotlight that everyone in their network can see.
15. Recycle past content
Past content, especially content that your fans enjoyed, should be repurposed whenever possible, because you’re always gaining new fans who never saw the original piece. If you’re short on content, grab some of your “greatest hits” material and repost.