Nearly 90 percent of businesses are using social media as part of their marketing efforts. Are they really getting the results they need? Here are some answers to common social media marketing questions.
1. My company is already using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and we post videos on YouTube. Isn't this enough?
Social Media helps with brand awareness, but brand awareness is nothing without a customer. You can't just randomly post information to social media channels and hope for the best, you really need to have a plan. Does your organization have a social media goal? Are you trying to increase sales, brand recognition, search engine optimization for your website, or are your trying to become a content resource? Your marketing objective should determine how you proceed with social media marketing.
2. How do I know if our Social Media Marketing is working?
You really have to analyze your data. Different metrics to consider include:
- Number of fans or followers. If the number of followers consistently increases, you are posting information people are interested in. If your followers remain stagnant, you are not attracting attention.
- Audience engagement. Engagement determines whether or not your followers are paying attention to your activity. To monitor engagement, track the number of likes, comments and shares from different sites. Understanding engagement helps you develop content that your audience likes.
- Traffic to your blog or website. Tools like Google Analytics will track the amount of traffic driven to your website from linked social media sites. If a social media channel is not driving potential customers to your site, you may need to rethink your social media plan.
- Leads generated through social media channels. When new leads contact your organization, be sure to find out how they heard about you. You can also track the number of email sign ups and downloads to promoted content.
- Sales generated through social media channels. Analyze what piece of content drove that sale. Was it an image of a new product or service, a special promotion or a well-written blog post.
3. Am I supposed to post on all the social media sites, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, etc.?
No. Not every social media networks benefits every organization. Business-to-business organizations (B2B) will have a different audience than business-to-consumer (B2C) organizations and nonprofits. Below is a list of the top five social networks, their main audience, the type of content they are best for and the types of business that benefit from them.
- Primary Audience - Everyone
- Best for - Sharing text, photos, videos and reaching a large audience
- Used by - B2B, B2C, nonprofit
- Primary Audience - Business
- Best for - Sharing thought leadership
- Used by - Mostly B2B
- Primary Audience - Young Adults
- Best for - Sharing news, and original and curated content
- Used by - B2C, nonprofit
- Audience - Women
- Best for - Sharing visual content for products, how-to, e-books
- Used by - B2C
- Audience - Men, students, software developers
- Best for - Increasing your searchability and expertise
- Used by - B2B, B2C
4. Are there career options in social media marketing?
Yes. Approximately 1.5 percent of all job postings include the key-word phrase social media. Today in St. Louis there are 93 jobs posted on careerbuilder.com, 1,025 jobs posted on SimplyHired.com, and 331 jobs posted on indeed.com.
5. How do I learn how to do all of this?
Many people are self taught. They will search the internet for information and learn as they go. This is pretty effective, but sometimes the information is inaccurate. You can also take social media courses either online or locally. One option in this area is the Social Media Marketing certificate program sponsored by Selsius Corporate & Career Training at Southwestern Illinois College. This is a good option for business owners and staff who have recently been assigned tasks related to social media marketing and need to implement their own social media marketing plan quickly. The program meets twice a week for 14 weeks and you leave with your own developed social media marketing plan ready for implementation.
Corrine Hilbert, Be XSible LLC
Constant Contact, Inc.