Problem : Social media as marketing channel.
1. How to measure the impact / ROI on Social media?
1) Google Analytics
Google has a comprehensive analytics service that helps track user activity on your website in real-time. Within a matter of minutes, you can have Google Analytics set up to tell you, among other things, the number of daily visits to your site, the demographics of your users, how they got to your site, how long they stay, and which of your pieces of content are most—and least—popular. Once you’re set up, the real trick will be keeping yourself from spending too much time cutting and re-cutting your graphs.
The Klout Score measures influence, which Klout defines as “your ability to drive action on social networks,” and, increasingly, in the real world. Specifically, it tells you how many people you influence, how much you influence them, and the influence of your network across your social media platforms. Once you’re signed-up, Klout will let you see a map of your social media activity over the past 90 days, enabling you to cross-reference the exact moments your score increased (under their algorithm, at least) with the content you posted or ways you engaged at that time.
3) Wildfire’s Social Media Monitor
Wildfire is a social media marketing company that was recently acquired by Google. While the majority of its tools require payment, Wildfire does offer a free social media monitor that can help you understand your Twitter and Facebook presence versus that of your competitors. Wildfire’s tool will let you easily compare the number of likes, check-ins, and followers each page boasts.
4) My Top Tweet by TwitSprout
Want an easy way to know which of your tweets got the most retweets? Check out My Top Tweet, which ranks your top 10 most-shared tweets and the number of times they were retweeted. Not only is this helpful for your own brand, but it allows you to educate yourself on what works well for other brands—including for your competitors.
2. How to choose/use the right social media platform?
In his book Tweet Naked, online marketing expert and Social Media Firm CEO Scott Levy provides the critical information entrepreneurs need to craft a social media strategy that will boost their brand and their business. In this edited excerpt, the author briefly describes the top social media platforms and their pros and cons.
When it comes to choosing which social media platforms you’ll utilize, select those that offer the best potential for reaching your ideal audience and broadcast the type of media you’ve decided is best suited for your company. Most people and companies can’t be amazing on every platform; that takes a huge amount of bandwidth and resources. Instead of having a sub-par representation in a lot of places, be awesome on a few of them.
How do you decide which platforms are best for your needs? Here’s a brief overview of the most significant platforms as they pertain to your business needs.
Pinterest is billed as a content-sharing service that allows members to pin or post photos, videos, and other images to their pinboards.
The site, which has a predominantly female audience, is ideal for businesses for which visual imagery is a main feature or selling point. If you focus on wedding planning, travel destinations, interior decorating, fashion or foods, you can say a great deal about your products and services through your stunning photos or videos.
In essence, Pinterest has a niche market and serves it very well. You can comment on people’s boards, share imagery and click onto the webpages from which the images came. You can also like what you see, or “pin it.” Each board is linked to the pinner’s profile page so people can see the person, business or brand behind the photos or videos.
LinkedIn is the consummate networking site. Even before the term “social media” became fashionable, we had social networking, and that clearly defines LinkedIn. It’s a way of growing connections in the business world and utilizing them as necessary.
It’s great for reaching out to people and getting into their Rolodex, so that when they need your services, there you are. It also includes groups and discussions where you can politely discuss your interests, show that you’re transparent, solicit advice, ask questions and answer questions, letting your expertise impress others. Service providers are more prevalent than manufacturers or retailers, because it’s easier to talk about what you do or what your business does, and it’s not a very visual medium. Like many others, I post links to my articles or blogs so people can read more about who I am and what I do.
YouTube is a very powerful tool, visually driven and potentially very exciting. It has become synonymous with homemade or company-made videos. It’s watched worldwide, and people post videos with hopes of going viral.
The key to using YouTube effectively is to feature your product or service in an unforgettable way, and with millions of people now using YouTube, the bar is set very high. No one will watch a boring video.
Like Pinterest, you can use YouTube to capitalize on our innate love of visuals. It’s a good idea to watch a number of YouTube videos and see which ones generated hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of hits. Videos that show people how to do something, demonstrate your product or service, or introduce a new or unusual (visual) product can help you benefit from YouTube.
Twitter is an ongoing conversation that, like text messaging, has become widely popular. Unlike Facebook and other social media platforms, where people can choose what to look at on your site, or respond later, Twitter is more “in the moment.”
It’s a marvelous tool for businesses that want to reach out to people now and expect–and are ready for–people to reply. If you have breaking news, updates, questions for your followers, or if you want opinions now or even need to announce a recall, Twitter is the way to reach out to people. It’s for the business that has things to say frequently and prefers to reach people directly.
Facebook is one of the most powerful social platforms in the world. It’s size alone is a positive for any business, because you can assume most people are on it.
Unlike Twitter, you can choose what to look at and what to share. This gives businesses more opportunities to represent themselves in various ways. Facebook is about a long-term commitment and building relationships, although there’s some immediacy as you can reply directly to people’s comments or questions.
Almost any business can benefit from having a Facebook page. But Facebook isn’t about selling. Your goal in using Facebook for business is to let customers get to know the people behind the logo. You’ll want to portray your business in a friendly, “sociable” manner, as a place where customers are treated well and “everybody knows your name.” For example, photos should illustrate not just you at your desk but your dog at a company event, or your staff all teaming up to work at Habitat for Humanity. If done correctly, your fans become loyal followers and Facebook can be a very significant lead generator.
It’s hard to be on all platforms, so choose the three that best meet your needs and monitor — or hire someone to monitor — them closely. Social media only works if you stay involved.
3. How to strengthen the brand via social media?
1) Create branded online destinations.
This is the first step to raising brand awareness and loyalty. Companies with the most successful social media branding surround consumers with online experiences that allow them to select how they interact with the brand.
Consider using popular, free options like blogs, Twitter, Facebook,LinkedIn, YouTube, and so on. Of course, for small-business owners without the manpower to effectively manage too many destinations, you should consider testing each of these to determine which social media service you’re most likely to stick with over the long haul. This will become your core destination. All your other online destinations should link back to the core.
2) Establish entry points.
One of the most important aspects to accomplishing this with your branded online destinations is to continually publish meaningful content that adds value to the reader’s experience. The goal is to publish useful information that people will want to talk about — and then share with their own audiences. This creates additional ways for people to find your branded destinations and it can lead to higher rankings from search engines like Google.
Here’s one way to think about it: If you have a website with 10 pages of content, there are 10 ways for search engines to find your site. If you attach a blog to that website and write a new post every day for a year, you will have 365 more ways for Google to find your site, and your brand.
I call this the compounding effect of blogging. You cannot buy that kind of access to a global audience.
3) Locate your target audience and bring them back with you.
Where does your target audience already spend time? You need to spend time in those places, too, and engage in the conversations happening there. Get started by conducting a Google search for keywords that consumers would be likely to use when searching for a business or products like yours. Follow the paths that those consumers would follow and you’re likely to find them.
Join relevant online forums and/or blogs, and write posts, publish comments and answer questions. Once that audience understands that you’re there to genuinely offer useful information and not to self-promote, you can start leading them to your own branded destinations — particularly your core branded online destination.
4) Connect with influencers.
As you search for your target audience, you should identify online influencers in those communities and get on their respective radars. To do so, leave comments on their blogs, follow them on Twitter and retweet their content. You can even email them to introduce yourself.
The key is to make sure they know your name and understand that you add value to the online conversation. This also exposes you to their audiences.
5) Give more than you receive.
Success in social media marketing depends on being useful and developing relationships. If you spend all of your time promoting then no one will want to listen to you. It’s not a short-term tactic, rather a long-term strategy that can deliver sustainable, organic growth through ongoing, consistent participation.
A good rule of thumb is to apply the 80-20 rule to your social media marketing efforts. Spend no more than 20 percent of your time in self-promotional activities and conversations, and at least 80 percent on non-self-promotional activities. In time, you’ll see your business grow from your efforts. And it starts with leveraging these fundamentals.