By Bob Speyer, Web Success Team
According to The Nielsen Company, one out of every five minutes spent online is on social media. Targeting your customers on social networks makes sense and is effective, helping to expand your reach, increase sales and build your fan base. Here are some ways to maximize the effectiveness of your social media campaigns:
1. Call to Action: Capturing consumers’ attention and building relationships are key, but what do you do to convert them to customers or evangelists? Social media is a lot more subtle than direct response marketing. A call to action can be anything from likes to social sharing and commenting to subscribing to your RSS feeds. Make sure that the action you want your target audience to take circles back to a specific company goal, such as offering a promotional code for product discounts if a consumer “likes” your fan page.
2. Method to Respond: Social media has enabled companies to have greater contact with consumers. Therefore, make it easy for them to connect with you, such as including a phone number, email, website or message form.
3. Follow-Up Is Critical: Once you have an initial contact with a potential customer, do not wait for things to happen. Take initiative and follow-up in a timely manner as well as answer and address any questions or concerns. Purchasing can be a slow process, and you may need a little courtship. Staying on the top of a prospect’s mind is critical to building a relationship to capture a future sale.
4. Integrated Strategies: Social media needs to be used in conjunction with other marketing tactics, such as PR, direct sales, website promotion, SEO and email marketing. All efforts should support each other in an overarching Internet marketing strategy. The tighter the integration, the easier it is to target and execute campaigns based on comprehensive and integrated data, giving your audience and customers what they need and want from you.
5. Set a Budget: Social media isn’t free. There are many hidden costs and time involvement. Some budget considerations include time management, personnel, alignment with other marketing initiatives and support marketing, such as email marketing, paid search, offline advertising and reputation management.
6. Analytics: Test, Track, React: Metrics and benchmarking should drive your marketing decisions and where to heavy up your time and dollars. To improve your social media marketing effectiveness, you need to analyze and monitor the following:
a. Audience – Are you reaching your prospects, influencers, customers?
b. Interactions – Track views, shares throughout all social networks, likes and comments. Are your promotions and calls to actions gaining traction and responses?
c. Brand Perception – How are people viewing your products and services? Are the comments mostly positive? What can you learn from their responses?
d. Expenses – What are your actual or perceived costs? Do you need to reallocate or shift resources?
e. Sales – Are you tracking promotions, coupon codes and social media interaction to sales and conversions?
Social media is always a work in progress. The more you manipulate it and track its results the more effective you will be in leveraging this important marketing tool. Alone, social media will not solve your marketing challenges, but it will give you greater insight into the perception and receptivity of your products and services in the marketplace.
About the Author: Bob Speyer is an online marketer, social media strategist and co-founder of the Web Success Team. Bob develops effective marketing strategies to help companies increase brand awareness and target more customers for their products and services. His articles are intended to educate as well as inform readers of the latest tools and techniques of online marketing. You can follow Bob on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.