More than eighty percent of businesses say social media is important to their operations. However, gaining success on social media is no easy feat—there are no hacks or shortcuts. Even then, no matter what niche or industry you are in, there are essential practices that, with patience and consistency, will get you closer to success.
Let’s review what most businesses ignore when using social media:
Success Requires a Solid Strategy and Goals
Too many businesses jump on the social media bandwagon or conduct their social media activities without clear objectives and a clear strategy.
Success on social media, for both small and big brands, requires measurable goals and a strategy that clearly outlines activities aimed at achieving these goals.
Your strategy should go beyond just garnering shares, retweets or likes. Instead, it should focus on measurable goals such as:
- building brand awareness
- growing your customer base
- increasing engagement
- invigorating your SEO
- improving your lead generation efforts
- improving online conversions.
Consistency is Essential to Maintaining Customer Trust
One study found that an estimated 66 percent of social media users have felt deceived by a brand through a social post, video or content.
Misrepresenting your brand or leaving your audience guessing what your brand is all about is a major reason why many businesses struggle to gain traction on social media.
A look at some of the most successful brands on social media will reveal one thing: these companies have put in a lot of time and energy to make their brand ubiquitous and distinguishable in a crowded marketplace.
In addition to maintaining a consistent brand message and voice, make your brand stand out by being consistent with your logo and tagline, visuals, company mission and vision, and your brand personality (tone and voice).
Quality Content Wins Over Quantity
In one benchmark report, 50 percent of B2C marketers and 54 percent of B2B marketers said that their top challenge in content marketing was producing engaging content.
Whilst nearly every business is now creating content, less than half are confident that they are creating or are able to create content that engages their target audience.
Content marketing is really about quality, not quantity. You will certainly see the results once you focus your social media efforts on producing content that truly engages your audience.
Ideally, a good social media content strategy includes promotional content, thought leadership and user generated content in equal measure.
An editorial content calendar will help produce and distribute content regularly and in line with the needs and preferences of your audience.
Continuous Engagement with Your Audience is Key
Perhaps the most important social media rule for business is continuous engagement. In their study, Sprout Social found that 30 percent of millennial internet users engage with brands on social media on a monthly basis. Social media has become the go-to channel for users who are looking for a direct connection and response from brands.
Engagement is really about being there when your audience needs you so you can provide timely and relevant responses to their pain points. Sprout Social also found that an estimated 30 percent of social media users move on to a competitor if a brand does not respond to their question.
In addition to producing and distributing content, your audience is also expecting direct and timely communication.
Such deliberate efforts are vital to keeping your brand top of mind and generating brand loyalty among your followers.
Wondering how to generate greater engagement with your tribe? Here are a few ideas:
- Initiate and engage in conversations that interest your users. Whilst users may start conversations, you should give more in terms of initiating meaningful talking points.
- Entertain your audience with both original and curated content.
- Deliver inspiring content, questions or activities that will get your audience talking.
- Keep track of mentions and find ways to respond to these or to participate in the ensuing conversations whenever possible.
- Present yourself as a thought leader and a reliable source of information that is relevant to your audience.
You Can’t Improve What You Don’t Measure
Easily accessible tools such as Google Analytics, Buffer, Hootsuite and others can make all the difference when it comes to seeing success for your social media efforts.
Regular social media analytics help to generate the data you need to attain your goals. This data will also enable you to make better decisions and stay one step ahead of your competitors.
Social media analytics will provide insights into industry trends, who is talking about you, on demand content and current trendsetters.
For analytics to be meaningful, the right metrics need to be measured in the first place in order to improve the performance of subsequent campaigns. Ideally, the metrics you should be measuring include:
- Amount of content sent.
- Total number of likes, comments and most used hashtags.
- Number of new followers over a specified period.
- Average amount of engagement per content.
Every business is unique but success on social media hinges on these universal principles. More importantly, be patient with your strategy because results on social media do not come overnight.