When businesses first start out using social media, there are usually two main problems: getting social media results is a huge one, but when the results don’t materialize, the other is pressure from upper-management or business owners to get results.
The result can often mean the budget for your social media campaign being pulled.
The unfortunate truth is that it can be difficult to sell directors and upper-management into a marketing channel that takes time to get results.
Fortunately, it is possible to get results and today I’m going to show you how.
Understand your audience
Understanding your target audience is key to the success of any business, whether online or offline, and it’s equally as important for getting results from social media.
If you just pick which social platforms you’re going to focus on randomly, then you’re missing a big opportunity to generate some fantastic results.
Having taken that first step and understood your audience, the next is to find out on which social sites they hang out online.
Business Insider Intelligence published an in-depth report that can do all of the hard work for you; it’s quite costly, but is has been well summarised on NonProfitQuarterly.org.
Lead your social strategy with great content
I have come to realize that the most successful social media strategies are always led by great content on your blog or website.
What you choose in terms of content depends entirely on your audience, which is why the first step in this post is so important.
There are a lot of different factors in planning a great content strategy, and much more than I can fit in this post; as a starting point I’d recommend checking out Heidi Cohen’s 13 Step Content Marketing Plan.
What are the pros doing?
The Internet is full of posts that can help you develop a powerful social media strategy, but more often than not, you can learn more by just observing what the experts are doing.
In a recent post, I talked about 20 blogs that can help your business, and while you will find some incredibly useful information by reading these blogs, you can also learn about tactics that they don’t talk about, by simply analyzing what they do and how they do it.
Tap into influencers
Influencers are a powerful resource to take you from standing still to pushing your content and your business out in front of a very large established audience.
This process involves identifying influencers, researching and finding them, followed by connecting with them. Kristen Matthews from GroupHigh said it best on KISSmetrics.
Note: Viralheat also has some powerful analytic features that allow you to easily identify social media influencers within your industry. Request a demo today to check it out.
Use hashtags sparingly and wisely
Hashtags are a great way of expanding the reach of your social media updates and are now available on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and a number of other social media sites.
You won’t get results by simply adding any-old hashtag, so it’s important that you focus on hashtags that are trending and that can help your updates become more visible. There are various tools that can help you do this, especially for Twitter.
More often or not, there will be something you want to say via a social media update or a piece of content that you want to share, but can’t do so at the time that you would like.
The answer is scheduling updates – this also means you can time your updates to go out when the majority of your followers are online, which will give you more chance of them seeing your updates.
There are various tools that allow scheduling and others that give you actionable analytics. You can manage all of this from within Viralheat.
Engage, engage, and engage some more!
Social media isn’t about firing out as many updates as possible; it’s about engagement.
You need to make an effort to engage with your followers and influencers within your industry – by doing this, you will get more followers, more shares and more traffic to your website.
If your business has the budget to have someone managing your social media presence full-time, then it’s important to do so and ensure that they have the experience or have been given the proper training.
Above all else, it’s another human being on the other side of the computer and it’s important to treat them that way.
When most people start off trying to get results from social media, it can be demotivating because results can take time to feed through, but when you put in the time and effort and do the right things, results will come.
Patience is key, but you also need to continuously analyse your progress, keep an eye out for any potential opportunities and stay on top of updates to the social media sites that your audience uses.
Which tips would you add to the list?