Post. Share. Comment. Repeat.
That’s a rough formula of how using social media tends to work, whether you’re doing so for fun or as part of your business’s marketing strategy.
Craft a compelling tweet about a new product you’re launching, for instance, and post it to Twitter.
Create an event on Facebook to promote a special flash sale taking place in your store on the weekend.
Write a LinkedIn post that helps your followers understand why they should look at your firm as a strategic business partner.
Film a short video of a recent staff celebration and share it on Instagram to demonstrate that yours is a firm where people looking for a great job should apply.
All of these tactics are great, and the companies that do them well tend to be among the most successful in their market or sector.
On their own, however, there’s one thing these activities don’t do:
They don’t tell you if you’re really nailing your social media strategy.
This assumes, of course, that you actually have a formal social media strategy in place at your company. There are many companies out there that still don’t.
That’s because the idea of investing in social media is still new enough that many organizations are still investigating, experimenting and learning about the pros and cons of each platform and how they could use them to help their customers and grow.
Eventually, though, you’ll want to put down some key objectives that align what you’re going to be doing on social media with what your company as a whole is trying to achieve.
Then, as with any other operational aspect of a business, you need to monitor what’s happening and whether the strategy is being well-executed.
The concept of “nailing it” may also include a few less tangible elements. Let’s look at all of them:
We’re all so immersed in social media now that there’s an acronym, IRL, that distinguishes what happens “in real life.”
This isn’t restricted to more casual face-to-face encounters, though. It can actually be a soft measure of social media success in a business context.
When you’re at an industry event or in a customer meeting, someone might say, “I saw what you posted on LinkedIn about that new regulation coming out,” or “Your Instagram Story the other day was so funny.”
It’s good to collect those IRL anecdotes because, even if people aren’t liking or commenting, they might still be watching, reading and appreciating. Always ask for more detail to determine what worked, what didn’t, and how it can lead to a stronger brand.
It may seem like the Holy Grail, but keep your social media activity consistent and watch for the customers to open their wallets. It really does happen.
Conversion funnels take many forms, but here’s an example:
Some conversion funnels might be shorter — like a tweet that takes interested buyers straight to your e-commerce page — and some will be longer. Just be on the lookout for what’s converting and then see if you can scale it.
Companies talk a lot about customer churn, but not necessarily social media follower churn.
Even as you get more people following your brand on Instagram or Twitter, though, it’s inevitable that some people will decide to press the “unfollow” button.
When you’re really nailing it, though, you’ll begin to hold onto more followers, usually because they’re seeing so much value in your activities that they want to hang around.
If churn is a problem today, look at what you’re posting, how frequently, and if you need to spend more time commenting or liking others’ content instead.
It can be a lot of work to ask customers to take the time to sit down for an interview, review a case study or testimonial once it’s been drafted, and then try to market it to prospects from your online resource centre.
Sometimes, though — almost like a gift — a customer will post a comment to something your firm shares on social media about a great experience they had with your brand.
Or they’ll create a post on their own account pointing out how your firm is a good example of what leadership in your industry looks like.
Don’t just thank them for these unexpected tributes — screen shot them and ask if you can use them on your own social accounts, and in other marketing channels.
Social media can take some getting used to.
Not everyone in your company may be comfortable, at first, with writing posts, sharing images or having themselves filmed for public consumption.
As your social media strategy begins to resonate with likes, shares and other engagement, you may see those who initially held out begin to change attitudes.
Instead of asking them to contribute, they volunteer.
Or they suggest ideas for social content based on their own insight.
These culture shifts are worth celebrating. And building upon.
The early days of social media involved a steep learning curve in some cases.
How was a company supposed to “talk” on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and how might customers respond?
Although it may be a stretch to describe today’s social media channels as completely mature, getting started today means you may find the best practices you develop easier to apply as time goes on.
Today, for instance, many brands are scratching their heads at TikTok, but those that have developed a consistent tone of voice and approach for other social media platforms have migrated there more easily.
Don’t worry if you’re not “nailing it” every day on social media. See it as a long-term part of your marketing efforts and just step back every now and then to appreciate how far you’ve come — and how far you could go.