Do you find that your social media efforts just aren’t paying off? You’re not alone and it’s frustrating. As social media has become more and more complex over time, fewer retailers and business leaders have been able to achieve success on social media. Many have simply given up.
Now that social media has matured and proven itself to be a direct connection to our customers, giving up is not an option.
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm.”
Social media is one part creative, one part execution and one part analysis. Failure has to happen in order to get where you want to go…it’s a fact!
However, failure rates with social media are pretty high and that causes many social media managers to jump to the conclusion of consummate failure without fully investigating where opportunities for success on social media present themselves.
I’m often a guest on industry podcasts and the running theme in the discussions is that social media is a mystical place where you need a special password to enter and once you’ve cracked the code, things will be easy. This idea gets more people to pay attention but social media isn’t something that can be taught effectively in sound bites.
It’s a common misconception that success on social media is easy.
To tackle this, we first need to admit our misconception. If you look at the social media manager jobs being offered today, you’ll see that some only garner entry-level pay. I believe this is the direct result of the mistaken belief that social media is easy. Quite the contrary, it’s much harder than it looks and if we don’t fix this misunderstanding, business owners and their social media team will never quite achieve the success they crave.
Everyone is looking for that “turn key” solution and many vendors are happy to sell you theirs. The problem is that there’s no such thing as a tool-based “magic bullet.” No piece of software will get you to the promised land. Tools and technology only support a solid system. Without a system or action plan, you’ll be wasting your money on tools.
Retailers/business owners should be allocating resources for social media.
Like all forms of marketing and advertising, social media requires investments and resources.
- Human resources
Social media calls for specific skills because it is more difficult to get results today than in the past (due to its extreme popularity and effectiveness). Social advertising (Facebook ads) is a very lucrative mechanism for lead generation but due to growing complexities, the skills needed to succeed are unique and uncommon.
These skills are hard to find and are indeed not free.
You’re going to need a captain to steer the social media ship.
Over the last few years, the social media difficulty quotient has separated the wheat from the chaff. A lot of the gurus have come and gone, and the need for qualified social media managers has intensified.
With the increase of consumer preference to communicate via online channels, it’s crucial to devote attention to who might be best equipped to handle these valuable customer relationships. Social media is marketing, sales and customer service all wrapped up into one now. Every social media manager needs specific, unique skills to ensure a company’s digital reputation is protected.
Success on social media is a lot harder than it looks.
If your social media marketing has run-aground and the results you hoped for aren’t coming to pass, consider the following five components as you set sail on your next endeavor, next post or next campaign.
1. Start with a system.
I’ve always been a believer in process.
Success on social media calls for a system, and things get a whole lot clearer once one is created specifically for your business. A proven social media marketing system will help you gain more customers, more profit and more control over how your business is perceived online.
When creating a system, it’s best to look at different components of your business first. Answer these questions to help you decide what resources you have and what you might want to add or subtract:
- Size of the business (annual income, number of employees)?
- What is our annual marketing/advertising budget and how is it allocated?
- Do you have a social media manager or team? If not, would you be willing to hire one should the business goals call for it?
- Are your employees engaged in the business vision?
- Are employees encouraged to create social media content?
Next step will be to create your system. The benefits of having a system before you take on any expense are the following:
- It will allow you to approach your marketing logically and practically
- You’ll get very clear about how to spot an ideal client
- Understand the perfect way to make your business stand out in the crowd
- Know the secret to creating content that attracts eager buyers (including ads!)
- You’ll obtain the precise formula for creating the most profitable customers
- Know how to build a total online presence that makes your brand the obvious choice
- Know how to turn social media participation into sales
- Know where to invest your dollars and what to avoid
- Quickly gauge the effectiveness of every move you make
Next, let’s look at your social media content and how being deliberate about what you post equals success on social media.
2. Engage people with helpful, informative, relevant social media content.
How do you know if your content is relevant to your followers?
- People are commenting, reacting and sharing it.
- You’re getting asked questions about your products and services.
- Higher quality leads (because they know, like and trust you)
One of the best ways to create engaging, relevant content is to leverage the power of your expertise and the expertise of your employees. Develop trust and don’t be afraid to show your brand’s true personality.
Here are seven tips for creating engaging social media content:
- Use images to tell stories.
- Use your own photos.
- Share video customer testimonials and reviews.
- Ask questions.
- Don’t be afraid to repeat content that gets higher engagement.
- How-To and Demo videos.
- Employee-related stories.
3. Learn to recognize and respond effectively to organic leads.
High on the list of skills for your social media manager is the ability to spot a social lead and nurture it. Very often, leads happen in the comments section of Facebook posts, Tweets, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.
As questions get asked, skillfully answer them and reply with another question. Here’s an example:
Commenter/Prospect: “How long is this special on for?”
Social media manager: “Until the end of this week. What type of car are you driving right now?”
Commenter/Prospect: “2011 Nissan Altima”
Social media manager: “That’s a great car. What color were you looking for in your new car?
Commenter/Prospect: White, but I’m not exactly set on that color.
Social media manager: We have a white one in stock. Can I set you up with appointment to come take a look?
Commenter/Prospect: “Yes. I guess I just need to drive a few to see what I really WANT to buy or what I can afford.”
Social media manager: “We always recommend the “Try Before You Buy” approach 🙂 What day and time works best for you?”
Can you see how this exchange was helpful, non-threatening and savvy?
4. Advertise for paid leads.
One of the strengths of social media lies in social advertising. Facebook ads are the most popular and rightfully so. Done right, Facebook ads can bring very lucrative results. You can target small groups of interested buyers without spending on those who will never buy from you. Advertising to people who know you gets better results.
One especially lucrative Facebook ads model is merchandizing your inventory (just as you would on the lot!). Here’s how this works:
- Reach in-market buyers
- Display the vehicles they want
- Educate buyers on why they should buy from you
- Remarketing vehicles to close more sales
Succeeding at Facebook ads represents a whole new dimension in the complexity of social media. It’s easy to spend money with Facebook ads (hint: Facebook will ALWAYS take your money) so don’t go at this half-heartedly. You can drive traffic to your site and convert fans into customers but it’s not going to happen without a system of creative campaigns, expert guidance, goal-setting and tracking results over and over.
5. Get good at analyzing your data and proving your results.
Social media analysis is the process of collecting the most valuable data from your social media channels and drawing actionable conclusions.
EVERY social media strategy plan should outline the metrics you’ll measure and analyze for best results. These are Kruse Control’s top 10 Facebook KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that we use with our clients:
- Audience growth
- Audience profile
- Audience engagement
- Content reach
- Engagement by content type
- Response rate and quality
- Negative feedback
Success on social media doesn’t have to be hard.
Is social media complex? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes. Just don’t underestimate the effort it takes. Anything worth doing is worth doing well and when you implement a system that’s specific to your business goals, you give yourself a roadmap to success.
Got questions about social media strategy for your business? Get in touch with me here and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours.