3 Tips to Boost Social Media Marketing
Everyone is talking about how social media is the latest, greatest marketing platform. There are so many ways to reach people and to understand what they want and why, it almost seems like a no-brainer. However, many do not seem to believe that social media can work for them or have failed to generate the desired results. This could be due to strategy, tactics, or the emphasis of the campaign.
For professionals falling in the category of skeptics, or those simply stuck with how to take advantage of these platforms, keep the following ways to use social media to boost sales and drive profit margins in mind.
1. Use Social Engagement Metrics
It is tempting to focus on “engagement” as an end in and of itself. Get people to read the social media content being produced, and interact with it in some way such as clicking “like” on Facebook, sharing it, or doing something with it in some measurable way. This seems easy enough; just keep track of all the “likes,” and you’re on your way to a deluge of sales. Yet recent research has shown no connection between direct sales and social media engagement.
It is natural to assume an audience engaged with a brand is made up of loyal customers. But when scientists studied the issue, they discovered 85% of posts on many brands’ social media pages came from 29% of the audience.
This should be obvious, but it is worth pointing out that focusing on these metrics can give a skewed sense of customer buying habits. However, that does not destroy the utility of these metrics. For example, it is known that social media engagement will influence traffic on a related web site. Furthermore, engagement tells you about the quality of your content. If people like it, you will know, and if it isn’t resonating, that will be obvious.
2. Know Where to Find Your Audience
Content delivered on social media must be tailored to the audience and provide them some kind of utility in addition to advertising services. This means using the information at hand to discover the audience representing the market segment you want to enter.
Many of today’s marketing students are not taught how to do this, putting them at a severe disadvantage when trying to enter their field professionally. Communities that exist online represent resources for creating an audience that will find some utility in the social media content your firm creates. Exploring the groups and special interest sections on LinkedIn, Google+, or even Reddit will enable you to find the niche that will take the most interest in what you are offering.
3. Make Content That Is Useful
The forefathers of the modern salesman and advertiser are a motley crew, to put it lightly. Because of the flamboyant and often misleading sales tactics of times gone by, consumers today are very skeptical of direct marketing tactics. Think of the success of the “soap opera,” initially conceived as a marketing tool, which created televised dramas with often heavy-handed product placements. Indeed, product placement in visual media is an industry unto itself nowadays.
With the power of search engine optimization, businesses can create online content that attracts an audience and drives conversion. The key is to make content that consumers will seek out themselves. The way to do this is to follow the advice above and go find your audience. Then, create content that informs them about the world, is interesting to read, and gives them something they did not have without it. This is why “how to” articles are popping up all around the web; research has shown that one of the most popular ways people use search engines is to find tutorials or instructional information. Create utilitarian content and your customers will come to you.
The way to get them to convert from viewers into customers is to tailor the content to your brand. King Arthur Flour has a database of hundreds of recipes on its website, all of which are laden with the brand name. Even if they aren’t using King Arthur Flour in the specific recipe, consumers will see this as a repository of useful information where they will return in the future. Research has shown a customer’s likelihood to purchase something from a company increases with each site visit.
Furthermore, the next time those customers need flour, King Arthur is already on their mind whether they realize it or not. Effective product placement doesn’t have to be heavy handed; simply create something people need.
Social Media Works, if You Know How to Use it
Having a social media page and generating an engaged audience is not the entirety of a successful social media marketing strategy. When you make something that is useful for your customers, it garners loyalty and respect. Remember these tips for identifying, measuring, and catering to an audience, and achieve improved sales through social media.
Author: Michael Zittel
Header image source: Marc Smith