In part 1 of our social media series, we reviewed the benefits of using social media and dispelled common myths using real-world examples. A key data point to know is that for the first time, internet users are more likely to visit social media sites than corporate sites for information about a company’s products. However, 65% of companies have little-to-no social media strategy. If you are in that 65%, this post will help you create a social media strategy through taking the steps to define, act, measure, analyze, and improve.
1. Define: Choose content that meets your objective
Feature hot industry topics – browse your favorite industry publications and identify what topics are being published and discussed. Do you have interesting views on this? Social media is a great channel to state your opinion and ask for others’ feedback. This is also a good way to collect feedback that will help you develop the content that you’ll use in your traditional channels.
Use existing assets – use content such as white papers, core slides, and customer testimonials. Below are a few examples of taking your current content and using it in social channels, directing people back to your website to learn more.
- Create a series of Tweets sharing insights from a white paper, include the URL to download the entire paper.
- Share your customer success stories on Facebook, and be sure to “like” your customer’s business page, and include them in the post.
- Post all publicly available slide decks showcasing your industry expertise on Slideshare. Remember to edit your slides before posting, so they capture key verbal comments.
- Include a link in YouTube videos to a specific page on your website to direct people where to find more information.
Company culture – What makes you different from your competitors? Social media is a casual communication space, and being personal helps you connect with your audience. Take photos of employee luncheons or company outings and share with your followers. It will make them feel special with an “insiders look” at your company.
Conferences and events – Are you planning to attend trade shows this year? Use the conference hashtag to target attendees and media covering the event, engage in discussions around the conference, drive traffic to the booth, and launch your product to valuable social contacts. The example below is from AWEA’s Windpower conference, where Wineman Technology inserted hashtag “#Wp11″ to ensure their content was pushed to their target audience of Windpower attendees.
2. Act: Balance scheduled content with on-the-fly responses
Scheduling your activity – Use a shared company calendar to delegate and schedule content. Start small with a few posts a day and increase once the processes are in place. Map out content for the first month, measure, analyze, and then find ways to improve for the next month.
Monitor conversations and be ready to respond – Know where your content is located so that you can easily answer questions or provide social media users with additional information. For technical companies, it’s always helpful to have an engineer who is involved in the social media team, so they can provide helpful, specific answers when you get specific questions via social media. And remember, people who ask questions through social channels expect immediate answers. Free tools like TweetDeck allow users to monitor tweets, including providing real-time, ongoing search results:
Share more than once – Research from Bit.ly, a link shortening and tracking service, looked at over 1,000 social media links’ lifespan. The results indicate the average life of content shared on social media is 3 hours, with the exception of YouTube, which gets you more than twice the lifespan: averaging 7.4 hours! Ultimately this shows that the content of a link means more than where you share it, backing up Marketing lessons 101: content is king.
3. Measure: Track progress with key metrics
The metrics below are key measurements of progress. You can track these on a spreadsheet week to week, or monthly, whichever fits your schedule. By recording these metrics in a spreadsheet, it will eliminate time spent later creating trend graphs to present your efforts.
- Activity- Opting into a social network, friend, follow, or fan is a positive sign of interest. These users are eager to learn more about your product/company.
- Clicks- Using link shortening tools, such as bit.ly or Hootsuite allows you to track links, so you know what content is being consumed and what isn’t.
- Re-tweets (RT)- Re-tweets amplify your social media message, think of this as a personal referral for your company.
- Source traffic- Tracks how visitors get to your website. This provides insight into where your users are and where they are not. Track this month to month, and adjust your strategy if necessary. The charts below are from a 3 month report of TREW’s social media.
4. Analyze and Improve: What to do next…
Through this data, TREW can adjust our strategy to:
- Maintain a strong Twitter presence, it’s the highest source referrer among the social media channels to trewmarketing.com
- Encourage employees to expand and maintain their social networks. High average time on site shows quality contacts are coming from LinkedIn and Google+, which are likely coming from personal employee profiles, and consuming content on the Spotlight blog.
- Reduce resources or switch up the content strategy for Facebook, it is not generating traffic or time on site