Three Things To Keep In Mind When Using Social Media For Business
1. Define Success
One of my coworkers likes to ask a question that is consistently provocative and always catches people, surprisingly, off-guard: “What does success look like to you?” Many people start on a journey without deciding where they’re going; as the Cheshire Cat says—paraphrased—in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
Decide where you’re going when you decide to engage with social media for your business—and be specific. This is not the time to set the vision that you will “use social media to drive business in the fourth quarter!” Pick something specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (remember that SPIFF acronym!). For example, perhaps success means 40 unique interactions with customers on Twitter leading to four new sales in the next month. Perhaps you’re working toward increased brand awareness and want to measure the unique impressions and reach of your posts. Here are just a few ideas of target areas to consider:
The sky is the limit—just make sure that the sky is a measurable goal with a specific business target.
As an addendum to this idea, make sure you know where you are before you select your destination. As part of selecting achievable goals, you must know where you’re starting: do you already have a business Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus channel? How many people are you currently interacting with? How many people see your posts? Knowing where you are is key to understanding what your goals should be.
2. Pick a Channel
Every channel and platform on the web today caters to a different audience. This post, from my classmate Robert Pazdan, identifies the 2013 demographics using each of the five most popular platforms (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, and LinkedIn).
Who are you trying to reach: is it a female in her mid-twenties? Twitter or Facebook is probably your best option. Is your target demographic an older adult in the top income bracket? LinkedIn might be a good choice for you. You don’t necessarily need to stay with a single channel -- but identify the right places to concentrate your time. You want to be where your customers are; don’t waste time trying to attract an incompatible demographic. Wonder where you’re being talked about and where you should engage? One first step might be Social Mention, where you can scan social networks for your company’s name.
3. Metric your Progress
Know how you’re tracking toward your goal -- and, more importantly, know what’s working and what isn’t. Each of the goals above -- extending customer service, driving sales and leads, and enhancing brand awareness -- can be measured by one or more metrics. Customer service might be best measured by the number of questions, concerns, or complaints addressed on a social media platform, regardless of what that platform might be. Brand awareness can be measured a number of ways—Facebook and Twitter will both report back how many users “saw” your post—that it appeared on their feed; you can also measure brand awareness by the numbers of “likes,” “favorites,” or other interactions with your outgoing messages. Finally, driving sales and leads has the most obvious metric: if you bring in a lead through a social media platform, count it.
There are a number of free and affordable tools that you can use to measure your progress (and, for that matter, your current status). HubSpot’s Marketing Grader tool will measure your reach, frequency, optimization of your website for sharing, and how engaging your posts are. Hootsuite is another great tool for managing multiple social networks, with the added benefit of free basic reporting for social media traffic. Finally, just to name two more, Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics are free services for measuring those two platforms, respectively.
Contact us @waynebusiness to tell us how you’re doing! Is there anything we missed? Let us know!
(All credit and accolades for this tremendous blog post are for Bethany Dotson who is the author and content creator.)