Gaining traction with social media marketing can be difficult. You need to think of it as a long game, investing in data, storytelling and social selling to strengthen connections and turn followers into customers. Follow these tips to get the social ROI you’re looking for.
While its buzzing atmosphere is punctuated by trends that can change by the minute, social media marketing won’t give you an immediate return on investment. Quick results are a thing of the past, so it’s important to realize right away that social media marketing requires long-term commitment and strategy. Otherwise, you might get bogged down in fear of regularly ruining your social media campaigns.
It’s not hard to see why social media engagement is such a challenge. While millions of people (i.e. potential customers for your business) are actively participating in today’s most popular websites, these social channels are also filled with competing content. About 4.75 billion (yes, billion with the letter “b”) Facebook messages circulate every day. On Twitter, you can expect up to 500 million tweets vying for attention in what feels like a 24-hour news cycle. These numbers make Instagram’s 95 million daily posts almost mocked.
The reality is, it’s hard to achieve a social media presence, at least until you’ve built a brand and following – not to mention some solid engagement strategies. Success on social media requires companies to invest in data, storytelling, and social selling to strengthen connections and turn followers into customers. To set yourself up for long-term success, try these suggestions to get your social media engine up and running and increase your social ROI:
Put the push on social listening.
When you run social media campaigns, you inevitably collect a lot of relevant data and metrics. Don’t get bogged down by meaningless social media engagement metrics (like likes, shares, and comments) that you forget to dig into the real, useful data available to you through listening. listen on social media. Social listening is a comprehensive technique for uncovering what is being said about your brand to put your data in context.
Suppose you suddenly notice that some of your posts light up like a Christmas tree, you get excited about the stats and you feel the need to share them to prove your marketing is active. Before doing so, test for social listening. You may find that the growing discussions around your brand stem from negative experiences and reveal the unmet needs of your customers. In other words, your indicators were accurate (they recorded an increase in numbers) but not enough (they ignored negative consumer sentiment).
Social Listening gives you the power to fill in all the blanks and trust your data deeper. According to the latest “Marketing Intelligence Report,” Salesforce found that only about a quarter of marketers believe their data is valid and accurate. Paying attention to and responding to mentions of your brand, hashtags, and even mentions of competitors will add a dose of customer sentiment to your data.
Tap into your inner storyteller.
Fascinating stories never go out of style. The best stories are memorable, moving, and often inspirational. This is why brands that engage in social media storytelling are so successful. Social media is about people and relationships, not products and services. Of course, you can sell or promote your offer on your social media accounts. Deep down, though, you’re trying to interact with humans – and humans love a good story that piques their curiosity.
Your Story doesn’t have to be great to attract your followers; they just need to be genuine. Authenticity is key to building trust. Not sure which stories to share? Many companies have compelling startup stories worth telling. Just because your organization doesn’t start in a basement, garage, or dorm doesn’t mean your origin story is boring. Talking about the seeds that help your brand grow can spark public interest and encourage fans.
Why is this so important? In a recent survey, more than three-quarters of people said they would buy from a brand with which they feel a connection rather than one of its competitors. What could be a better way to make connections on social platforms than wearing your storytelling hat? When you share these stories, be sure to include relevant images and video clips to generate more reviews. About 73% of consumers said they would rather learn about an offer via video than through another method. If true, users will definitely enjoy learning more about the brand’s beginnings, mission, and other highlights through video.
Plug social selling into your social media marketing mix.
Social selling has started to grow and not just in high-network industries like insurance and finance. Social selling is a method of building social media engagement by leveraging the power of several customer contacts who work at your business. For example, imagine if each of your sales reps had a thriving social page. Working in tandem with your branded company page, these additional business-focused pages can increase your organization’s visibility, impact, and social reach.
Launching a formal social selling program can seem overwhelming — at first, says Nola Morris, vice president of strategy at social media management software company Denim Social. However, she firmly believes that with the right plans and technology, selling via social media is a solid option. “Adding social to the sales mix is a culture shift, and helping hundreds or thousands of middlemen integrate social into their daily processes is no small feat,” she writes. However, she is quick to add, “Social selling is more than just marketing:
uses social media as a digital sales and relationship-building tool.”
The key to making social selling work is to give it the credibility and resources it deserves. Don’t leave content creation and deployment to your employees. Own the process so it becomes a natural part of your social media book and curated with brand messaging and regulatory compliance.
As the social media environment changes rapidly, it may not provide you with immediate leads or sales. Set realistic expectations for how quickly you will see ROI from your social media marketing initiatives. With a better understanding and a “slow and sure win the race” mentality, you can succeed in today’s hottest online social settings.