Succeeding At Social Media

Social media has become a ubiquitous term within the sphere of online marketing. Businesses invest considerable amounts of time and effort in chasing social media success. Despite the various pitfalls, achieving success is an attainable target. The subject is complex and cannot be covered in-depth here. Instead I will aim to cover the breadth of the topic in a jargon-free manner.

Following the three steps that I will outline below is one approach that may lead to social media success. 

Define What Success For Your Business Is

As with any activity that considers the attainment of success, it is necessary to determine what success means to you and your business. It is essential that you are realistic here- unless you have a marketing budget that stretches past the £100,000 per annum mark it is unrealistic to target reaching 100,000 Facebook likes. Think about a definition of success that is meaningful for your business. Most SME’s complain that they cannot see the real impact of social media. Admittedly, it is challenging to link social media to specific sales conversions for example (unless you are running an eCommerce store). Instead, consider something more tangible – what is the one thing that you would like someone that has engaged with your business to do?

It may be that you simply wish to raise your brand awareness – if more people are aware of your business you are more likely to be considered when they next seek to buy a product or service. Brand awareness is more measurable, with metrics such as the number of likes (Facebook) or followers (Twitter and LinkedIn) it is possible to see how many people are aware of your brand.

Another common goal is to increase website traffic. Again, this is very measurable – the level and source of website traffic can be measured using a number of online tools. I would particularly recommend Google Analytics for this.

Select An Approach

The single biggest mistake that I notice, particularly within SME’s that are building a social media presence, is an insatiable desire to occupy every single social media channel. This approach is driven by the belief that the broader your presence is, the more successful it will be. I believe that this is fundamentally flawed and that it is almost always more prudent to focus on a select number of channels and target success there. You can commit more resources to those channels and post higher quality content, which is the ultimate factor in determining your success.

But which channels should I select, I hear you ask. Although, there is no definitive method for selecting the most appropriate channels, the most important consideration here is to think about your target customers – where are they likely to be? For example if you are launching a fashion range for middle aged men then it is not worth targeting Instagram as your primary channel.

If you are unsure of where your customers are likely to be it is better to target the more mainstream channels (the big three are arguably Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn).

Review Your Social Media Efforts

The intense fluidity of social media demands a proactive approach and one that is willing to adapt to the inevitable changes that dominate the sector. The popular channel of today may not be the popular one in six month’s time. You should constantly reassess your efforts. Ask the crucial question – is my business making progress towards the success goal that I defined earlier? Then adapt your approach based upon your progress.

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