Social media serves a greater purpose than connecting with friends and sharing photos of the (seemingly) fantastic dinner you had last night. In the business world, it’s an effective way to deliver consistent, relevant, and informative content to a wide audience and build your brand awareness.
Followers who regularly engage become highly qualified leads, because they’re expressing genuine interest in your content. However, before that happens, you have to design a strategy that rises above all the “noise” of endless social media channels.
Here are three key factors to consider when using social media to grow your business.
1) Consistency & Frequency Breeds Loyalty
In the olden days, paperboys had a very important job. Each recipient on the route expected the newspaper to be delivered by a certain time; hopefully before morning’s first cup of coffee. Any delay and the emotion was disappointment at best, but often a sense of betrayal.
The goal of any social media strategy should be to provide content that is informative, timely, and relevant so you can cultivate a better relationship with your followers.
One might say loyalty is the opposite of betrayal, and therefore consistency is the vein to loyalty.
In the digital world, so much information is available at any given time that it can seem overwhelming. It’s akin to the paperboy throwing The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Telegraph on your lawn all at once and expecting you to finish consuming the information by the next papers’ arrival.
By providing your social followers with a singular, regularly-scheduled resource, you expand your offering of high-value information, which in turn increases audience engagement. The key is ensuring the content is truly valuable and not just a consistent offering of meaningless prattle.
While it may seem doable to manage your social media strategy in-house, an outsourced turnkey system gets you to efficacy far faster than building it yourself.
2) Value-Added Content Is “Content That Gives”
You’ve clicked on the “Funniest Cat” videos on YouTube or scrolled through the official Twitter page of internet sensation, Grumpy Cat. Cat videos are all the hype these days, and as entertaining as they are, it’s simply a distraction from real life. It does nothing to inform.
Value-added social media content balances entertainment with education. Value should also be placed on the platform from which you’re sharing, as well as understanding the varying personalities who choose LinkedIn over Facebook, or vice versa.
Effective and engaging content should answer questions and relieve pain points you recognize about your users. Curated content should adopt the philosophy of “content that gives.” That is, content that:
- may have been seen elsewhere
- addresses common challenges
- poses controversial questions
- suggests how to reconcile a point of view
Ultimately, the goal should be to provide content that is informative, timely, and relevant so you can cultivate a better relationship with your followers.
3) You’ve Got to Have Goals
Digital marketing is incredibly powerful, in part because it provides a level of insight that is difficult for traditional marketing methods to achieve. However, analytics gleaned from social media engagement can be tricky, especially if you haven’t determined clear-cut goals of your social media strategy. Anyone can look at social data and make observations about engagement, but what was the original intention? Are you meeting what you set out to learn or accomplish?
Common desirable outcomes include:
- driving traffic to your website
- inviting current followers to participate in a survey or contest
- managing your reputation in a controversial sector (e.g. healthcare, financial services)
- engaging employees on a mission
Establishing a clear vision will determine the kind of content you choose to publish, the consistency and frequency of the campaign, and the metrics you expect to assess success or failure. It’s also crucial to appraise where your brand stands prior to initiating a social media strategy so you can quantify its effect on ROI and also fine-tune other inbound marketing strategies going forward.