Social media is the intersection of all the marketing efforts a company undertakes. One of the greatest challenges a social media manager faces is balancing the support of other marketing efforts with PR and with gaining conversions from the platform.
Social media is a direct point of contact with audiences, and so it comes with all the challenges associated with both sales and retention. When you’re developing and executing a social media strategy, there are a few key concepts to keep in mind in order to make the most out of your work.
Know How Every Post Directs the User’s Journey
Social media accounts interact with people through all stages of the marketing funnel. The funnel is a core concept of online marketing and how businesses manage their client bases. Simply put, it’s a way to visualize the user’s journey from awareness to action. Whether you’re asking users to buy, subscribe, call, or watch, their journey begins with discovering your business, and there are many steps in between.
So depending on which segment of your audience you’re speaking to and where they are in their journey, the language and strategy going into your posts should change. Each one should have a purpose. Are you making a post with the intention of getting shares to increase the size of your audience, or are you talking to loyal customers to get them to come back or renew their subscription? Not every post is for every follower.
Often, awareness around the top of the marketing funnel is what social media is best at. Great social media managers get their brand used in conversation, track influencers and what they say about the business, and how audience segments react to certain types of content. Tracking this information is vital to know how to best support the wider marketing strategy, and to properly target social media users based on day-to-day goals.
Tools Are Great, But Strategy First
Content management systems and social media management systems are important parts of a marketing toolkit, but they don’t do the work for you. Tools can sure make your life easier and should absolutely be employed to streamline and automate certain tasks. Don’t, however, get caught up in grand promises and social media success guarantees and start paying for services that you don’t need.
The beauty of social media, especially for small businesses, is that it’s extremely scalable. There are enough free tools and account managers out there that, with a little research, you shouldn’t have to purchase software until your needs have grown dramatically, and there’s no rush.
Pick Your Data Points
Not all data is useful to you at all times. If you’re a global seller, then it’s likely important for you to track the effectiveness and expense of marketing to different locations compared with the sales generated. On the other hand, if you’re a local business and have no interest in cultivating an audience overseas, you don’t need to analyze the data from accounts based in foreign countries nearly as closely.
Market Research Requires Legwork!
Social media numbers are extremely important in examining the success rates of your marketing, testing strategies and developing new approaches. The numbers tell stories, and it’s those stories of what engages, how, and why that are so important to success on social media. Understanding what audiences like to see makes the difference between content that blows up and content that disappears.
The research part of the equation needs your hands-on work. It means conducting studies of your own audience, and looking at studies conducted by others in your niche. You may need to create surveys, conduct interviews, talk to influencers, and perform legwork that is difficult to automate. Surveying audiences and researching competition is the best way to identify gaps in engagement that your content can fill, and to identify the things that people are hungry for.
In the end, the best social media managers develop an informed sense and feeling of their audiences, driven by gathered data and by real-world testing. Social media is an intersection of psychology, experience, and numbers. Sometimes the best data can’t predict an adverse reaction to a campaign that sits poorly with users. Everything is in support of the story told by the audience.