Social media is exciting but without a clear understanding of what it is and how it works, it’s like a shiny glass ornament with one purpose: to come out at Christmas time. Yes just about every company that has heard about it, wants to steer their marketing efforts towards the web market. Cool. However part of my experience has been that most companies don’t know much about social media. That is they don’t understand what it entails, what sort of return to expect or how much effort to put in.
Before you decide to start a social media campaign, there are some things you should have in mind:
1. Tactics need to be measurable.
I cannot stress this enough. There can be a lot wasted effort in my opinion, if there is no way to relate it to profit. For instance a company has a opened a new twitter account and started a new blog. There are many ways to measure these platforms. Besides the obvious observation regarding the amount of twitter followers one has, the company can compare that number to how many have retweeted or replied to their tweets. The same concept applies to the blog, where the number of visitors can be tracked but compare that to how many have responded to a specific entry. Relate this to other ways visitors have found the site or have linked to it. All in all, what is measurable is how much the platform has generated interest. Here is a site I found to be the most precise when it comes to measuring social media ROI.
Interested in how far your tweets have been noticed? -They also point out a useful Twitter measurement website called TweetReach. I recommend you to check it out!
2. You get what you pay for.
Yes, surprise! I don’t understand people who say social media is great because it is the cheapest, most effective marketing alternative. There is some truth to that, yes. However I still believe you get what you pay for. Twitter’s free, this blog is free…and you can measure the effectiveness of each vehicle (as I mentioned above), but you may find that this eventually costs money. Of course, it depends on how accurate you want your feedback but I can assure you that more effort, equals more time, equals more money. Do you want to incorporate Google Adwords or Google Analytics as part of your tracking system? Would you elect one of your employees to run the company twitter or a full-time marketing professional that can cover all the bases?
3. Research, Research, Research.
You must know your customers before you market to them. Duh! It shouldn’t be any different when it comes to web marketing and social media. Even if it seems like the black hole. Some companies just dive into any platform just because “everyone else is doing it” and not really thinking about their market (customer base). Is it the best time/money investment to spend on a Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blog, etc…? Think about it. Research your customers preferences, behaviors and lifestyles before deciding on a campaign. Research the many types of social media and networking platforms. This can reduce both time and money later on by targeting the right set of customers and associated media.
4. Good effort takes time.
In this case anyway. People are fickle. If you want to create something people will be excited about it is going to take time. It’s about spreading the word and people need to start trusting your word. Social media is not about a direct sale. As I mentioned earlier, it’s about building interest or at the very least, awareness. In order to convert customer awareness to customer interest, to eventually consumer sales…(given that you considered all the steps above) you will need to wait! Again, the very least that comes out of social media is awareness and that is a good thing! Even at the very least, customers consider your company over another merely because they are aware of it. This results in sales. What seems insignificant at the time are really significant in the long run yet take time to build the awareness and interest that eventually result in increasing profit.