In a world where there is no shortage of new ideas and ways to market, social media marketing has proven that it is here to stay. However, social media marketing has evolved rapidly over the years, and success is not defined by the number of posts about your brand on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Marketers and business owners should keep up with the changes to ensure they aren’t lagging behind their competition.
Here are the five immediate actions business owners should take to ensure social media success:
1. Keep an eye on the numbers
Social media marketing is no longer something you do to get ahead, it’s more like the tactic you have to use if you don’t want to be left behind. Therefore, simply posting updates to your various social networks without measuring the results they bring is a huge mistake.
You must have a mechanism to review your social media performance, network by network and over certain time periods. Whether you use the analytics provided by the networks themselves, or use a social media management tool such as HootSuite or HubSpot, you need to measure your social performance. This will help you get more clarity on networks, messages, timings that work and don’t work for your audience. For instance, LinkedIn is expected to be the top social network for B2B content given the millions of active users on the network, according to Top Ten Social Media and Trevor Sumner of LocalVox. But to determine if it suits your audience, you must be able to measure its results.
2. Visual content is the way forward
We’ve all read that statistic where posts with images get several more clicks than posts without images. In this day and age where everyone is time-poor, people just can’t afford to spend time on long pieces of written content. As long as they can convey your points clearly, use more images, slides, infographics and videos to engage your audience better.
Videos, especially, are gaining much traction in the B2B marketing space. Top Ten believes that almost 50% of all online traffic is now video-based. Even authors are jumping on to the video bandwagon and creating book trailers for their books. So do yourself and your business a favour – the next time you’re thinking about creating content, think about how you can turn that content into an engaging video for better lead generation.
3. Optimise everything!
You may think social media posts aren’t the type of posts that need to be optimised as they’re different from website content, blogs and articles. But this is not the case. Google indexes social media updates and this means that social media posts, when searched for, can show up on Google’s search results (some are dependent on whether you are logged in to the specific network).
Therefore, optimise your social updates, just like you optimise your blog posts and website content. For all you know, your social update could be the one that helps you get found. Of course, for it to be effective, you must have a good optimisation strategy, based on your target buyer persona and their behaviour, problem and need.
4. Automation saves time
Do you spend time every day thinking about the posts you need to publish on your social networks? This is a huge waste of time, and comes with a risk of inconsistency, as some days you may forget to post your update. So, stop wasting your precious time and invest in a good social management tool with automation.
Take an hour or so at the beginning of every week to write the tweets for the week on an excel spreadsheet, import the spreadsheet onto the tool, and you can focus on your core activities as the automation publishes your tweet on the date and time you’ve specified on the spreadsheet. And then, monitor how the post is engaging your audience.
Brennan White of Watchtower agrees and believes that automation will be necessary for marketers, given that there is so much for them to do with social media, from brand voice, brand culture, company promotions and measurement.
5. Hashtag that post
Some people stay away from hashtagging while marketers flock to it. Hashtagging your posts essentially groups them into a category and helps you to be found whenever someone clicks on that hashtag. It is quick, simple and effective. Top social networks such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook allow and sometimes even encourage the use of hashtags for businesses. YouTube followed suit late last year, while LinkedIn removed the feature and used a different way to categorise.
Top Ten believes that hashtags represent a new form of SEO, as you are essentially optimising your post with the certain hashtag to be found. Of course, the key for its effectiveness is to choose the right hashtag. The criteria for choosing your hashtag is similar to choosing the right keywords, i.e., one that is unique to your brand / product, one that is searched for by a good number of people and yet doesn’t have too much competition. Just like keyword selection, there are tools you can use to compare hashtags and their numbers, such as Bundlepost, Talkwalker and RiteTag.
The five actions above can help you improve your social media marketing results. However, committing half-heartedly to social media marketing will not generate results, and will instead cost you time and money. So after you review your social media performance, determine if you can take care of it internally. Otherwise bring in a social media expert or outsource it to specialists to ensure you get the best returns on your investment.
To learn more about ROI from social media, download our eBook below. Or, to learn about how social media represents a new form of SEO, refer to our article: SEO goes from search to social.