Social Media : Measuring Success in “Connections” Rather Than “Sales”
When it comes to marketing, you’re probably used to measuring success in dollar signs. Whether or not a particular marketing campaign has achieved its goal is determined by the revenue generated. When assessing your current sales strategy, you’re probably concerned with its impact on your profit margin.
When it comes to social media marketing, however, we have to unlearn some of these old ideas. Instead of tracking sales numbers, we’re going to be tracking human connections. This might sound odd in the bottom-line focused world of marketing, but connecting with your consumers is what social media is all about.
Followers, Impressions, and Reach
Some of the key variables we’re going to be looking at in social media marketing are not dollar values. Instead, we’re looking at followers, impressions, and reach, numbers which we use to quantify how well you are connecting with potential clients.
A successful social media marketing strategy will draw people in to your pages and profiles, keep them there, and compel them to click that “Follow” button. Each person who hits your page, likes your content, and hits that button becomes a follower. Every follower you pick up increases the value of your marketing dollar. That is, the more followers you have, the greater the reach and impact of each post. By creating content which is valuable to your followers, you can garner “likes”, “shares”, “re-grams” and “re-tweets” which further extend the reach of your brand.
Such is the snowballing effect of social media marketing. When people like what you’re putting out, they’ll almost do the rest of the work for you by sharing it with their own friends and followers. But how do you get people to follow and interact with you? What is it people are looking for?
Keeping Social Media Social
This is where things become less one-size-fits-all. Depending on your market and your industry, the way you go about creating a presence on social media can vary significantly. Many times, the services of a social media marketing expert will come in handy when it comes down to the specifics of marketing to your own individual target audience. That having been said, there are a few general guidelines to follow when trying to connect with potential clients on social media.
- Be personable – Social media is not a marketing or advertising forum and people are keenly aware of that. People are there to interact with their friends and family and stay up-to-date with what’s going on in their lives. The more your brand can assimilate into that environment, the better. Try to take a personal approach to the content you post on your page. Be a person, not a company. Talk about what’s going on in the day-to-day workings of your company. Share personal details, when appropriate. Talk about local events and happenings and share current and relevant articles about current events in your field. Keep in mind there are ways to actually ‘advertise’ on these platforms but you must do it with tact if you don’t want to be quickly overlooked.
- Encourage interaction – Social media is a unique venue for marketing, in that it is highly interactive. People can like, dislike, comment, and share the things you post, so keep that in mind when creating content. Encourage people to interact with you by posting polls, votes, and posing questions to your followers. Additionally, make sure to stay on top of responding to people. People will lose interest and stop engaging if they don’t receive timely responses or if they feel like nobody is there on the other end.
- Avoid the drama – Some people live for the thrill of an Internet debate. Political discussions, heated arguments over the latest celebrity scandal, etc. However, your page is not the place for that. Stay out of it. While staying relevant and on top of things is very important, avoid controversy in any form on your page or in comments you post elsewhere. When you find negative comments on your own page, find ways to diplomatically and efficiently resolve the issue with as little fanfare as possible. Like anything else on social media, drama can quickly spiral out of control and cause irrevocable harm if not dealt with in a professional manner.
The most important thing to remember is why people use social media. They use it to connect with each other and with products or services they find useful or interesting. You’re not on these pages and forums in order to directly generate sales, but to drum up interest in your brand and build a following. The sales will come later. It can be tempting to just blast your followers with sales pitch after advertisement after sales pitch. After all, if the audience is there, why not cut straight to the chase? Because people will be turned off, lose interest, and unfollow you. Remember, it’s just as easy to unfollow somebody as it is to follow them in the first place. In fact, it’s often easier to lose followers because of one ill-conceived post than it is to entice somebody into following you in the first place.
Cultivate your following, care for it, and make sure to treat social media as the social place it is. Make connections and the sales will follow!