Social media is probably one of the most misunderstood areas of digital marketing.
Talking to my prospects and existing clients I get the feeling that almost every business feels they need to do it, but very few actually understand why they should do it and even fewer understand how to do it.
It’s not a surprise that businesses feel they should be using social media. The reach of social media is massive and most of us, including our potential clients, are using social media daily. The social media usage stats for 2016 are quite impressive.
But just because a lot of people are using social media doesn’t necessarily mean your local SEO client, Brian the window cleaner, is going to make a ton of money on Snapchat. Before he or anyone else invests time and hard earned cash into social media marketing they should have a solid plan and clearly defined goals. Failing to do so can result is a big waste of precious time and money.
Before you start
Before you start setting any goals you should answer one very important question.
Is social media a worthy investment for my business?
The answer to this question will depend on a number of factors. The most important things to consider are:
- Can social media marketing help with my business goals?
- Can social media marketing drive sales and enquiries?
- Can social media drive quality traffic to my website?
- Do I have a budget to effectively market my business via social media?
- Is social media going to provide a better ROI than other channels like PPC or SEO?
If the answer is yes, then decide which social media platform will be most suitable for your business.
Choosing the right platform
There are a lot of social media platforms out there and some of them will be more suitable for your business than others.
Instagram may be a better platform for your local cupcake business than LinkedIn. And LinkedIn will most likely be more suited for an accountant than Snapchat.
Facebook – your kitchen – sink type of network. You mother and your grandmother are probably on it and so are many of your potential clients. For most of businesses out there, Facebook is a safe bet. It also has the best demographic data on its users which is neatly incorporated in Facebook’s advertising platform.
Twitter – good for promoting your blog content. Its advertising capabilities however are nowhere near as good as Facebook. If used correctly, Twitter can be a good way to communicate with your customers. Some companies even use it for their customer services.
Instagram – great for visual content, rather young demographic. If you can create high quality, interesting visuals then you should do well there. Ideal for photographers, lifestyle, beauty and fashion brands. It is owned by Facebook and therefore neatly integrated with Facebook ads. You can create ads for Instagram in your Facebook Ads Manager.
LinkedIn – platform especially popular among working-age adults and college / university graduates. Great for business to business networking. If your are in a B2B business then LinkedIn is most likely going to be a good fit for you. Just like Facebook, LinkedIn offers paid advertising in the form of text ads and sponsored content.
YouTube – 2nd largest search engine. It has over a billion users, almost one-third of all Internet users. If you can produce quality video content then you will almost certainly find an audience there. One of the great advantages of YouTube is that it’s videos show up in many organic searches on Google. It is fully integrated with Google AdWords so you can easily incorporate it into your Pay Per Click campaigns.
The flip side is that creating video content is rather expensive.
Some of the questions you will need to answer before choosing the right platform for your business are:
- Are my potential customers using this platform? This will very much depend on the demographics.
- Is my content going to work on this platform?
The content assets you have or are going to create will be more suitable for some networks than for others.
So for example if you are a small photography business then Instagram and Pinterest could be a good idea. If you have the skills and resources to create video content then YouTube is a great place to start. Getting your social media content strategy right is very important.
Even if you are on the right network but your content is not suitable for your target audience then you are at a risk of failure. And there are a lot of things to consider when creating content for social media, everything from choosing the right message and tone of voice to communicate your message to such details like the psychology of color.
Are my potential customers going to engage with my content?
Just because a lot of people with windows to clean (Brian’s potential customers), are using Snapchat doesn’t necessarily mean they will engage with his content and book him for window cleaning. Let’s be realistic here, this is very unlikely to happen.
Setting goals for your social media marketing
OK, so you have decided that social media marketing is right for your business and you have selected the social media networks most suitable for your business. It is now time to set meaningful social media goals and objectives for your business.
Be smart and use SMART ( Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time Scaled) objectives for your social media campaigns.
The reason why SMART objectives are more likely to succeed is because you know exactly what needs to be achieved and how much time do you have to achieve your goals. Below I will give you a couple of examples how SMART objectives for your social media campaigns could look like.
It’s pretty self explanatory, in terms of social media marketing goals a specific goal could be something like increasing website traffic coming from social media networks. This is very important, you don’t want to do social media marketing just because everyone else does it. You need to have specific objectives, things like increasing traffic, generating new leads etc.
You need to be able to measure your objectives, so in this example where we want to increase traffic from social media your job will be easy as you can get the numbers from your Google Analytics. Let’s say you want to increase the traffic by 5%. Assuming you have the past and present data to measure your progress against.
Make sure your goals are attainable and within your reach.
The objective needs to be realistic, do your research and dig deep into your stats. If your social media is driving under 1% of traffic then expecting it to grow to 40% in two months time may be rather unrealistic.
Without deadlines in place things just don’t seem to ever get done. Your time scales also need to be realistic.
Based on the above point a good example of a SMART goals for your social media marketing campaign could be for example:
- Increase social media traffic by 5% by the end of February 2017.
- Increase the conversion rate of enquiries coming from our Facebook page by 2% within the next 3 months.
I hope you get the idea. SMART goals can keep you stay focused on your objectives, your goals will be clear, well defined and you will be working towards a set deadline.
Pay to Play – allocating your budget
As with every marketing channel you have to keep your eyes on the ROI (return on investment).
One of the common mistakes businesses often make is lack of clear objectives. It is very difficult to make a good profit when you don’t have clear goals. This is especially important in today’s social media landscape where almost all of the big social media platforms require monetary investments in order to get decent visibility.
It not just the cost of PPC exposure you will have to pay for. Creating content for your social media can also get expensive. You don’t want to spend big money on a video production without having a clear goal for it. Same goes for your time, as time is precious and you should be spending it wisely.
Before allocating budgets to your social media campaigns, do a thorough research and align it with your SMART goals. You will also need to compare it to your investments in other channels like Google AdWords or SEO.
Decide if social media is a good investment for your business. Choose the right platform, set SMART objectives and achieve them.
Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.