According to the WeAreSocial.com Think Forward report, there are a whopping 2.3 billion active social media users. These are people who are logging into one or more social media accounts regularly. And about 1.968 billion people are actively using their mobile phones to log into social media.
The number of social media users online is absolutely staggering. But what does it mean to you?
It means that unless you are targeting the Amish or a primitive group of natives in the jungles of South America, there is a very good chance that your audience is already logging into social media nearly every day. And there’s also a good chance they’re using a mobile phone to do it, which means it’s another great communication channel to reach your mobile users.
It’s tempting to run out and use the shotgun approach on social media to try to get as much coverage as possible. But we’re going to be more methodical and targeted about this. Here’s what you’re going to do as you walk through this guide:
- Clarify your goals. (That’s this chapter.)
- Define your target market.
- Determine which social media platforms make it easiest for you to reach your target marketing and achieve your goals.
- Create a custom social media strategy.
So let’s start with clarifying your goals.
Here’s the question du jour…
What Do You Want Social Media To Do For You?
The first thing you need to do is be very specific about your goals. And, ideally, you should create measurable goals so that you can see if your social media marketing is working for you.
For example, it’s easy to measure if your social media strategy sends more traffic – just look at your traffic logs.
It’s a little harder to measure if social media increases brand recognition. If you’re setting this as a goal, then it’s a good idea to define how you’re going to measure it, such as doing market surveys to see if brand recognition is increasing over time.
Does this mean you should ONLY create measurable goals?
Not necessarily. However, you do need to ensure several (or even the majority) of your goals are measurable. That way you can use them as a gauge as to whether your overall social media strategy is working.
For example, let’s say you define five goals, and one of them isn’t easily measured. If the four measurable goals are getting good results, then it’s probably a safe bet to say that your other goal is getting good results too. This is especially true if the un-measured goal is tightly related to one or more of the other goals.
So what are your goals? Here are 13 ideas to kick things off…
Generate new leads
As mentioned before, there’s a good chunk of your target market already using social media. They’re logging on every day. And if you can get an enticing lead magnet in front of them, then you can use social media to generate new leads.
- You might use social media to run a contest, where contestants need to join your list in order to register. (Hint: Use a tool like RaffleCopter.com to give extra contest entries to people who both join your list and share your contest).
- Offer access to a free app in exchange for an email address.
- Share a video on social media, and within the video include a call to action to join your mailing list.
Find New Customers
You can turn those leads that we just talked about into customers. You can also directly find and convert customers using social media.
But heads up…
Social media is first and foremost a communication and sharing channel. If you fill up social media with a lot of direct-response ads, you’re going to get some eye-rolling and even some folks hitting the “un-friend” and “un-follow” buttons.
You know those guys who sometimes literally stand on soap boxes in the park or on a street corner to yell about some political matter or the end of the world? A few people watch him, a few people walk by, and a few people wonder if they should call the men in white to come take the guy away.
Yeah, don’t be that be that guy on social media.
Remember this: social media is not a place for you to grab a bullhorn and start in on a monologue. This isn’t where you see if you can yell louder than everyone else by flooding your fans with non-stop promos.
Take a hint from the included word “social” – it’s about a creating a dialogue with your prospects and customers. So any promos you create should be a good fit for an interactive channel.
You see, many social media platforms even reward interactivity. Take Facebook as an example. If you set up a Facebook Page, not every fan is going to see every post you make. Facebook only shows your content to a fraction of your followers.
But here’s something else…
If your post doesn’t get any traction—and by traction I’m talking about “likes,” “reactions,” “shares” and/or comments — then Facebook stops showing that particular post to any other fans or followers. You may only have Facebook showing a post to about 3% of your fans if the post can’t get traction right off the bat.
On the flip side, the opposite is true too. If your post gets a lot of traction as soon as you release it, then you’re going to enjoy more views (which in turn lead to more comments, like and shares… which lead to even more views).
And here’s something else…
Facebook tries to figure out what people want to see in their newsfeeds based on what these folks are commenting on, liking and sharing.
If Suzy Q keeps scrolling right on past your Page posts in her newsfeed without interacting with them, Facebook is going to assume she’s not interested.
And then Facebook is going to stop showing your posts to Suzy Q, in favor of showing her posts from Pages that do interest her.
So all of that is just an example of how Facebook rewards content that creates interactivity.
Other platforms use similar measures to figure out what to show to followers. That’s why no matter what you’re posting – even if it is a direct response ad – it needs to be constructed in a way to get people to like it, comment on it and share it.
Drive more traffic
Another goal you may pursue is to drive more traffic to your website and other properties.
Obviously, you’re going to drive some of this traffic to your lead pages, contest pages and sales pages. However, you can send traffic to anywhere, including:
- Directing traffic to your blog posts and other content.
- Sending traffic to your other social media pages.
- Encouraging traffic to go to your site to take some particular action (watch a video, take a poll, etc.).
- Sending traffic to your joint venture partner’s links. (And they’ll do the same for you.)
- Sending traffic to your favorite selfie to get people to rate whether you’re hot or not. (Just kidding on that one! J)
Build your brand
Another good use of social media is to build your brand. This includes building brand recognition, as well as building brand authority and trust. (This is tightly tied to the next goal, which we’ll get to in just a moment.)
The importance of building your brand is that it helps you create “top of mind” awareness. When people think about a particular problem or issue in their niche, they’ll think of you first. When they need a problem solved, they’ll think of your products.
That means that you’ll grow your sales over the long term. People will buy your products, even if your ad isn’t sitting right in front of your prospect’s nose at the moment. That’s incredibly powerful to get a piece of “mindshare” in your prospects’ and customers’ heads.
Let me give you an example…
If you’re in the mood for a fast, cheap burger, where do you go? You probably have a favorite fast-food burger joint, such as McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s or similar.
You don’t need to see their ad in order for the name of your favorite place to pop into your head. You don’t Google “fast food burgers.” You don’t ask your friends for their recommendations.
Instead, you just hop in your car and drive straight to whatever brand has your top of mind awareness.
The same holds true of a wide variety of products and services. If I start rattling off products, I bet there is a brand that comes to mind instantly for you.
Quick, what brand comes to mind when you read these words?
(Did anyone else think of “Red Bull” when you thought of vodka? Hey, that’s really good top of mind awareness if you can associate your product with other products too!)
We could go on and on, but you get the point. What you need to do is become that name brand in your market. When people think of the types of products you deliver, your business name should come to mind. A good social media presence can help you build this brand awareness and trust.
Build authority status
One of benefits of social media is that you’re not the only one out there talking about your products and services. If you do it right, you’ll have OTHER people in your niche talking about them. They’ll be sharing your content. They’ll be sharing your links. They’ll be talking about your business.
So what happens when you have a lot of people talking about you and your business? That’s right, you build authority in your niche. You become the known expert. You become the “go to” guy or gal when it comes to a particular problem.
It’s built-in social proof. When lots of people are talking about your business, you’re going to get lots of new people interested and coming over to see what they’re talking about. And when folks start looking into buying your products and services, you’ll see your conversion rates go up because authority helps drive sales.
Expand your viral marketing strategy
As mentioned before, don’t even think about launching a viral campaign unless you’re on social media. That would be like trying to launch a rocket without any rocket fuel. The whole thing will just fizzle out with an anti-climactic ending.
So whether you’re trying to get more traction on a shocking video or a silly meme, your social media platforms will serve as the launching pad for your entire viral strategy.
Social media platforms are good places to distribute content. Think of it as one more channel in which to reach your audience.
For example, you probably already send out a newsletter that includes “how to” information, announcements, industry news, promos and more. You likely post something similar on your blog. You can reach an even bigger audience by distributing this content on your social media platforms as well.
Here are two added bonuses:
#1, the really good stuff will go viral. Some of the warmest traffic and leads you can generate is via recommendations from friends.
#2, this increased coverage in your niche builds authority. When it seems like a person can’t tap their screen or click their mouse without running into your content, you’re going to be positioning yourself as an authority and expert in the niche. Familiarity breeds contempt? Nah… familiarity breeds authority.
Engage your audience for research purposes
If you’re smart, you’re not blindfolding yourself and throwing darts at a dartboard to make business decisions. Instead, you’re doing your market research. You’re figuring out exactly what your audience wants.
Need a quick audience to take a survey? Hop on your social media platforms. It’s a great way to gather a lot of data fairly fast.
TIP: Don’t have any platforms built up yet to survey? You can still get your survey out on social media. One way to do it is to partner up with other marketers in your niche, and have them distribute your survey. The second way is to purchase highly targeted advertising on social media.
In short, you can find out what your potential social media audience wants even before you’ve finished building out your platforms!
Create higher conversion rates
One of the beauties of social media is that it lets you personalize or humanize your company. It shows your prospects that a real, live human being is behind it. It lets you build real relationships with your prospects and customers. And in turn, building relationships leads to higher conversion rates.
Of course that’s not the only reason that your social media presence can boost conversion rates.
Here are other reasons:
- Building authority and building your brand boosts conversions.
- Viral marketing can boost conversions (because you’ll have warm leads coming your way).
- Just your presence across multiple channels creates the familiarity and “touches” that your prospects need to make the buying decision, which again boosts conversions.
So the point is, if your goal is to boost conversions, then your social media strategy needs a multi-pronged approach that focuses on blanket coverage to build a presence and authority, interactivity, and brand building.
Offer customer service through social media
If you take a close look at social media, you’ll see that people often use these channels for their customer service inquiries.
Think about that for a moment…
Going to a company’s website to find an email address, help desk link or telephone number is just an extra hoop as far as some people are concerned. It’s much easier for them to just post a message on the company’s timeline, or even drop a private message.
And here’s something else…
A lot of companies are using social media to improve customer satisfaction and retention.
For example, sometimes a customer posts a complaint or a negative review. And even though the customer doesn’t ask for a refund or other compensation, the company immediately replies to these complaints and offers a product exchange or refund.
In other words, these companies are making it right with customers even when they’re not specifically asked to. Not only does this improve customer satisfaction with the customer in question, it also boosts the company’s reputation among anyone else who stumbles upon the post.
Lower your marketing costs
Another target you may consider is to lower your overall marketing costs.
According to the Social Media Examiner, 59% of marketers are investing six or more hours into their social media strategy each week. That means that all you need is about an hour a day to manage your social media platforms.
That’s not a big investment of time, especially when you consider how big the platforms are (reaching billions of people), and how easy it is to hone in on a very targeted market on these platforms.
It’s also not a big expense either. Even if you purchase advertising on these platforms, you can get started for as little as a few hundred dollars.
And again, on platforms like Facebook, you have the ability to place your ad in front of people who’ve already shown an interest in your niche. You can even place retargeting ads to bring previous visitors back to your site.
Bottom line: if you create a good social media strategy, you may be able to lower your overall marketing costs. And best of all, you don’t need a lot of time nor money to get started on these platforms… so you really have nothing to lose by giving them a try.
Here’s a goal that’s related to this…
Bolster your other marketing and advertising efforts
Another goal for you to consider is to use social media to improve the ROI on your other marketing efforts.
Here are some specific examples:
- Increased conversions through retargeting. As mentioned a few moments ago, you can purchase retargeting ads on platforms such as Facebook. So if someone comes to your website and looks at a pair of shoes or a cool app, you can put an ad for this product right in front of your prospect on social media. These extra “touches” bring prospects back to your site and converts them into customers.
- Better rankings in the search engines. Some search engines use social media signals as part of their ranking algorithms. That means that if you have a lot of people on social media talking about and linking to your business, it could bolster your SEO (search engine optimization efforts).
Build business relationships
So far, we’ve talked a lot about how social media can serve as another communication channel in which to reach your prospects and customers. However, here’s another worthy goal: you can use it to find potential business partners and build relationships with these business partners.
What sort of business partners? Well, most anything you need, including:
- Joint venture marketing partners.
- Business partners (silent or not).
- Mastermind groups.
Whether you’re looking for local business owners to talk shop with at a Saturday morning breakfast, or you want to find marketing partners from all over the world, social media can help you find them, attract them and build relationships with them.
The above list of 13 possible goals is a start as far as deciding how you want to use social media. Now it’s your turn to set some time aside to start brainstorming. What are your business goals? Specifically, how would you like your social media strategy to be tied to these business goals?
Remember, it’s best if you have measurable, very specific goals. For example, “increasing my number of subscribers” is a goal… although it’s a weak goal.
Because you know what?
If you get just ONE extra subscriber through social media marketing, then you’ve hit your target. But I’m betting you’re not going to be popping champagne and ordering cake for an office party to celebrate if that happens… right?
So what you need to do is be very specific about your goals. Write down an exact, measurable goal. And be sure to attach a timeframe to it as well.
Let’s stick with this example of growing the number of newsletter subscribers. Here are example goals:
- Grow your newsletter by a specific percentage (e.g., grow it by 10% by some specific date).
- Grow your newsletter by a specific number (e.g., get 1000 new subscribers by a specific date).
- Grow your newsletter list by a specific number every month (e.g., get 500 new subscribers via social media every month).
Those are just examples. What you need to do is write down your own goals and how you intend to achieve these goals via social media.
Now a quick heads up…
Sometimes business owners get sort of wrapped up in all the numbers associated with their social media platforms. Specifically, they look at the number of:
- Followers / fans
- Likes / favorites / reactions
- Shares / re-tweets / re-pins
- Comments / discussion
Then they end up setting goals for these various social media metrics. For example, they set goals to get 1000 new followers or achieve 5000 shares or 10,000 likes on a particular post.
That’s all well and good. However, just be sure that these platform-specific “sub-goals” are tied to your main business goals. In other words, if you set a goal to get a certain number of followers, then this goal should be tied to your overall goal (such as boosting your mailing list subscribers by 20%).
Because here’s the thing…
Your social media numbers mean absolutely nothing if you can’t convert these numbers into traffic, subscribers, sales and other verifiable assets.
If you’re just looking for bragging rights, then yeah… go hog wild getting a bunch of followers who really have no interest in doing business with you. You’ll be like those wannabe celebrities who hire fake paparazzi to follow them around.
On the other hand…
If you’re serious about using your social media strategy to hit your business targets, then you’re reading the right article.