Everybody is into "social" these days, and everybody is hoping that their investment in social media marketing will really pay-off one of these days, bringing more web traffic and revenue in the end. Many marketers fail to choose strategic approach when they start with social media, since they do not know about the simplicity and effectiveness of controlling measures, which will quickly help to differentiate between social marketing efforts that are successful from those that are not.
Identify the most important social media channels for your company
Before you get started with social, you should use a web analytics software to find out which social networks has the most users that find your site on their own. Often there are one or two platforms which dominate, and to begin with, you should focus on these. The analysis will also provide information about which of your pages is linked most frequently and which social media sites do visitors, who linger longer on your site or buy more, actually come from? Identify the most relevant social platforms for your business and thus find out which networks have the most potential for success.
Post content which is highly relevant for your target group
Once you know, which one or two platforms are the most relevant for you, it‘s easy to start a brand page or profile. When you start posting, offer small pieces of information that make people curious about your website and your online offers and service. As social commerce is only just getting started, you want people from the social web to land on your company site and buy from there. As a good post should be relevant to your target group, collect information about your social visitors and their interests and personalities. The easiest way to do this is by controlling the individual success of the links you provided. Check out how many visitors actually visited your site, due to each specific post. The more pages the visitors are looking at, the more interest you‘ve managed to raise with the post in question, and the more relevant the content. With time you‘ll get a feeling for how to post successfully, and you can start with variations or by posting on other networks.
Allocate your social budget strategically
Once you‘ve understood the interests and characteristics of your social media visitors, you should start thinking about advertising of social platforms. On Facebook, for example, it is possible to choose the exact target group, who will then get to see your ad. But be careful, the content on your web site might not be right for the target group in question. Even if you‘re generating higher click rates and more web traffic with social ads, you still might not have allocated your budget ideally. You should regularly look at the statistics, to find out which combinations of ads, targeting and landing page really work best. You will find out which visitors stay on your page for longer amounts of time, and which visitors actually convert. This will allow you to allocate your budget in the most effective manner possible, and also to correct mistakes.
Create and/or optimize fan pages and content
A fan page or company profile enables you to directly publish content in the social web. Platforms like Facebook offer a great deal of statistics about fan page visitors, so you can measure the effectiveness and reach of your content. The chances are good that you‘ll generate lots of fans, a lot of whom will become customers. You should either offer exclusive social media incentives on your fan page, or offer special services with a special social media app, like for example birthday lists of the friends of your fans with special offers or incentives or product recommendations they‘ll receive matching the interests of their friends.
If you‘re planning to invest a lot of money and effort into content, promotions and apps, you need to make sure you are able to measure the results. Many companies don‘t even know they can analyze social media apps the same way they can analyze their company site, and you should use the information to optimize them the way you would optimize your own site.
Analyze the social media elements on your company site
Once you‘ve established successful content on social platforms, it makes sense to integrate social in your site as well. Google+, Facebook and others offer special widgets and buttons which allow visitors to connect with you on the social web. If customers and prospects are making use of these links and buttons, you can and should analyze them as well. You should also check out whether you‘ve placed the buttons in the most effective place by using a mouse tracking solution, and optimize where necessary.
Getting started with Social Media Marketing is new for many and a challenge for most, so keep in mind what metrics and controlling can do for you, when you plan your strategy!