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Guarantee a return from your social media investment from the start

Social media is here to stay for the foreseeable future. In fact, by 2019 it is estimated there will be around 2.77bn users worldwide. But before proceeding with your social media investment, planning is essential for ensuring that your efforts will be effective right from the start.
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A sales process involves getting to know your customers and establishing strong relationships with them. Social media connects people and is a great research tool for understanding your customers better. It provides you with the opportunity to find out how your business is perceived, allowing you to make any necessary changes to your products or services.

Without marketing your brand on social media, your online traffic would consist mainly of repeat visits from usual customers. Those who already know of your business’ products and services are likely to be searching for the same keywords you already rank for. Social media encourages existing customers to share your content and generate awareness amongst new users and widen your presence across a larger audience.

It can open doors and reach consumers outside your existing customer circle. Incorporating social media into your marketing strategy will greatly increase your business’ overall visibility and therefore encourage conversions.

Choosing the right social media platform

Social media comprises different platforms. A business can only use social media if the potential customers are active on the same online platform. With your customers in mind, you’ll need to choose the right platform to reach your target audience. Here are some examples of where to place your social media investment.

Snapchat

Statista states that 61 per cent of Snapchat users in the UK are under the age of 30. Furthermore, 100m people spend on average 30 minutes a day on the app, creating a fantastic opportunity for businesses to target millennials.It allows businesses to create informative content via unique videos, showcase new collections and conduct interviews. Video marketing is on the rise and set to be huge in 2018. Expect to see more exciting tools to enhance the video experience.

Facebook

With the largest blend of demographics of any platform, Facebook last year reached over two billion users worldwide. So if you are looking to target consumers across the globe, of all ages and genders, Facebook provides an excellent medium. You may be familiar with Disney Parks’ relationship with the Make a Wish Foundation. To shout out about the partnership, Disney donated $5 for every photo that featured Mickey Mouse ears and the hashtag #ShareyouEars uploaded on Facebook. The campaign raised $2m.


Why investors see Disney, and its consistent great performance, as stock “magic”

Since Oscar season in February 2014, movie and entertainment stocks have been outperforming and continuing to advance. In the first days of May 2015, however, the tide has turned with every stock in the sector except for Disney posting a loss.


Instagram

As Instagram reaches over 800m users per month, it is a great brand building tool. Many businesses already use it at events and tradeshows in a way of brand promotion. It’s important to be aware of Instagram’s latest algorithm change, as users no longer view content in the order of the time posted. This makes it harder to determine how many people will be exposed to a post. Streamlining hashtags, posting at popular times and ensuring images or videos are high quality will guarantee Instagram success.

Pinterest

With 81 per cent of Pinterest users being female, it is an excellent platform for female-focused companies. It’s a fantastic medium to promote products as 87 per cent of browsers have been converted into buyers. Pinterest will reduce the number of steps in the customer journey from discovery to conversion and make it easier to get straight to your site. Sometimes it’s helpful to look at Pinterest as a big, visual search engine.

Funding your social media investment

This is an important area to consider as you are ultimately aiming to see a return on your social media investment. Every business differs when it comes to budget, with some happy to spend millions and others a couple of hundred pounds. However, to stay ahead of the competition and engage with your audience, it’s all about being consistent in your marketing efforts.

Some businesses have benefited from a cash injection to help with the initial set up, but remember your business may face highs and lows. During challenging times it’s important to be prepared, remain focused on your ultimate goals and the required level of return on social media investment. Be aware of your finance options should you need a helping hand. For short term borrowing you could apply for a business credit card. Applying for a loan will allow you to grow whilst continuing to maintain your social media presence.

Tracking social media performance

You’ll need to ensure your social media goals line up with your business’ marketing objectives. Perhaps you want to drive revenue or build awareness of your brand? If so, this will help you to determine what success looks like for your social marketing efforts.

In order to identify your level of return on social media investment, you’ll need to measure your social marketing accurately. Your ability to retain customers and achieve conversions will also depend on how well informed you are of consumers’ behaviour. You can make things easier by setting up and using analytics tools to track performance.

Google Analytics is a free tool that monitors how users are interacting with you. There are also tools on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook that capture consumer’s behaviour towards your posts. These tools allow you to analyse the performance of campaigns and help you to meet your goals.

Rob Straathof is CEO at Liberis


What should your social media policy cover?

With around 2.46bn social media users in the world today, it is clear that the digital world has consumed us all. That’s why it’s essential for companies to implement a social media policy.

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