It is very easy for any business or individual to create a social media account; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat etc with the main aim of increasing sales/leads, brand awareness, customer retention and loyalty. After all you may have heard social media marketing pundits or friend tell you about the benefit of social media to your business. But really, have you sat down to think for a minute, how am I going to achieve these business goals with this popular ‘social media’?
Well, many businesses today are getting disappointed or get disappointed after spending time to create Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat… account for their business and still not seeing any actionable results in terms of brand awareness, sales/leads, customer retention/loyalty from these account but truly the question I ask is, have these businesses get the right resource to monitor and manage their business on social media to get the actionable result they want? BIG QUESTION!
Launching your business on social media does not begin and end with creating a social media account because you’ve seen a friend/competitor done same, but rather:
1. Doing a social target market research and creating a buyer persona template: Doing a social target market research will help you identify whether your potential customers including existing and non-existing customers are using social media at all and also know which particular social media network they are using so you can launch your business on those social media networks. The same as creating a buyer persona template; a buyer persona template is a pictorial representation of who your potential customers are, their demographics including their age range and gender, their needs and challenges, social influencers they look up to. A successful buyer persona template will help you to know how you can address the needs and engage effectively with your potential customers on social media.
2. Competitor Analysis: Understanding your competitor landscape on social media is key in achieving clear cut business goals with social media. With this, you need to investigate either the top three or top five competitors on social media in order to understands what they’re doing right or wrong, performing a social SWOT analysis to understand their strength and vulnerabilities and mop-up strategies to out-rank them on social media.
3. Social Media Audit: If you’ve already setup a social media account, then audit your current social front to understanding how well you are doing on social media, what’s not working and also to check how your current social media progress is helping you achieve your business goals is key.
4. Social Media Strategy and Plan: Having a social media strategy and plan is the number one backbone of any company that has succeeded in using social media in achieving business goals; Brand Awareness, Sales/Leads, Customer Retention/Loyalty. Social media strategy is a strategic plan of how you will incorporate social media in to your business. Good social media strategy should align with the overall business goals and objectives and it encompasses the following:
a. Developing a content strategy and plan: Content strategy is a game plan of how you will create, curate, distribute, and amplify the reach of your contents (articles, blog post, text, images, videos, infographics). Content should align with business goals and should also aid in achieving business goals. It include creating a content calendar to organize your overall social media activities; when to post an image texts, videos, aim of posting contents and which audience, social media platform the contents is targeting. A good content strategy addresses the needs and challenges of your audience, motivates/inspires and it will heavily be backed by the buyer persona template you create.
b. Developing a social media crisis management plan: Managing a business on social media is a two way communication and may sometimes have un-intended circumstances which can affect the sales funnel of any organization/business and may prevent you from achieving business goals with social media. A good social media crisis management plan should aim at tackling nasty comment, bad product/customer reviews, trolls, marketing faux pas etc. and should also assign roles to who would be responsible in handling such events as they happen.
c. Developing a social media policy & Education: In today’s world of social communication where social media has become an extension of our lives, it’s very necessary for today’s businesses and companies to have a social media policy to educate and guide the use of social media at the workplace. Too much use of social media by employees may lead to decreased productivity in one breath and may also lead to employees posting contents/making claims on social media that can subject the company to public ridicule. There are many examples of employees making comments on social media such as Facebook and Twitter that have brought firms to public ridicule.
d. Social Customer Service & Training: Handling customer’s problems on social media is very critical. Answering customer’s problems or questions on social media involves one having a deeper understanding in social sentimental analysis, brand listening and monitoring in order to identify and handle customer’s questions, problems and negative news about the business/brand. This will involve setting of social media monitoring and alert systems to track negative news/reviews about the business/brand on the social web and on the internet in general.
e. Metrics/KPIs Setting and Analytical Reporting: Identifying and setting success metrics and KPIs that align with business goals is very critical in making sure you are on the track in achieving set goals with social media. Metrics can range from Brand Awareness, Leads/Customer Acquisition, Share of voice/Mentions, Customer Satisfaction. Metrics that you set for a business should align with the overall business goals and objectives. The KPIs you set would be a major indicator or check to see if you are on the right path in achieving the metrics set. Moreover, success metrics should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Example: I would achieve 50% increase in leads within 3 month by generating 200leads, in this case the metric to track and measure would be leads and the KPI would be to generate 200 leads.
Social Media Analytics involves gathering and analyzing of social data from the social web; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc to make inform decisions and to measure the growth of business on social media. Social analytics include analyzing data such as social engagement rate to determine the number of people that likes, comment, share/retweet your post and also to determine which post types/format receives the most engagement.
A successful implementation of these steps will help you get actionable results in the form of Sales, Brand Awareness, Leads/Customers and Customer Retention/Loyalty from social media.
Contributor: Gad Ocran
Social Media Strategist email:email@example.com