This is a guest post from Ryan Gould, Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services at Elevation Marketing.
Social media has changed the way businesses connect with their customers in just a few short years. In the past, customers had to reach a person as a point-of-contact to get any business done; but these days, direct access is built-in, thanks in large part to the perfect marriage between social media and handheld mobile devices.
PR professionals and marketers have known about these changes for a long time. So, why do 84% of global brand executives feel that their brand’s sociability is not up to par?
Your brand likely has a social media strategy in place, but if the plan isn’t delivering the leads and sales you expect, your social media campaign needs a serious upgrade. Here are the steps to take if you want to help your brand scale as you climb the digital social ladder.
You can’t measure the ROI of your social campaigns if you don’t first identify why you’re on Facebook or LinkedIn to begin with. Is your plan to gather leads, earn more sales, sway influential connections, or engage in stellar customer service? Perhaps you are trying to do a combination of all of the above.
Everyone should be clear about which social networks are in place and who controls each account. Identify any accounts that are under your brand’s control and ensure they are part of the campaign. This is the time to add or omit any networks to your plan if you choose to do so.
Once your audit is complete, you can now begin to bolster your online presence.
First, optimize the profiles of each new account and upgrade the profiles of any dormant or sluggish accounts so they can be updated and refined. You can do this by using every available text box to promote your business, products, and services.
From the ‘About’ section to the link you provide for followers to learn more, be cognizant of how each element will be perceived when populating your profiles with useful and engaging content.
In addition, make sure you use all the image placements you are allotted. Optimize for human social users by ensuring that the photography is media-friendly. In other words, the images should be crisp with plenty of smiling faces and interesting locales. Each network is unique in what its audience expects. Tailor your images accordingly.
Now it’s time to optimize for the search engines. Be mindful of SEO best practices when creating or updating your social profiles, using keywords and front-loaded sentences to beat out competitors in search results.
For local SEO, include your physical address to boost the number of customers in your area that discover you. Ensure that your company’s name, address, and phone number (also known as NAP) are the same on all of your social media accounts so that search engines understand each represents the same business.
See what the competition is up to on each social network. Examine the frequency of posts, quality, and the language used by the brands and their audiences — and look at the ways and frequency with which users engage with the brands you follow.
This data will give you a framework you can use to benchmark your new and improved social media campaign.
Now that you know more or less what to post – if you want to keep up with or surpass your competitors, you would be wise to create a strict calendar that you will adhere to.
An effective social media calendar will include the following:
Ideally, you will want to schedule your messaging in advance so that the activity doesn’t eat up the bulk of your day. You can then strive to create the best message you can before you submit, as opposed to writing what comes to the top of your head.
As for posting, a good rule of thumb is to follow the 80-20 rule. Allocate 80% of your posts to informing, educating, and entertaining your audience, while leaving the extra 20% to refer to your brand.
Test and Keep Refining Your Social Media Strategy
Crunch the analytics that matter, like sales and conversions, and make adjustments where attention is needed. Test often and keep shaping your social plan to meet your audience’s preferences. You can also send out surveys to your followers and list subscribers to discover those consumer preferences that aren’t so readily apparent as you put your plan into action.
Interested in learning more about leveraging social media to grow your business? Check out our upcoming Social Media Marketing Summit.
Ryan Gould is the Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services at Elevation Marketing, a B2B marketing agency. Ryan helps medium and large brands improve sales and market share by developing integrated marketing experiences distinguished by research, storytelling, engagement and conversion.