If you’re having a tough time figuring out how to implement and use social media for your business, you’re not alone. Social media is a fairly new and unexplored marketing platform for most folks. Even those who use social media regularly are forced to constantly adapt as Facebook, Twitter and the like roll out changes several times a year and new marketing arenas spring up left and right. Just in the last year, we’ve seen Facebook roll out its Timeline feature, Twitter enhance its brand pages and Pinterest marketing and even Instagram marketing become viable inbound marketing cogs.
But regardless of your personal experience with social media, there are a few things to keep in mind when deciding how to use it in part of your business’ marketing plan.
- Adjust your expectations. In most cases, social media sits firmly at the top of the sales funnel. People don’t log into Facebook or check their Twitter feed looking to buy something, so don’t try to use these channels for that purpose. Social media is all about discovering or familiarizing oneself with a brand. You can find and nurture leads with social media, but it’s not a medium for direct sales.
- Decide when and where to post. If you don’t have time to use all of the social outlets out there (and who does, really?), you’ll need to choose your media. Twitter is great for non-visual marketing and for PR monitoring. Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram are great for visuals (you can even use coupons on Facebook now). Google+ isn’t as hot right now as other platforms, but it’s great for niche marketing and it’s growing steadily.
You’ll also need to pick a time to schedule your posts. Hubspot’s Dan Zarrella has spent a good chunk of the last two years looking at optimal times to post to social media. His webinar on the subject is available here, but you should also be sure to do some timing-based testing of your own. When people like to interact with your brand? That’s when you should be posting.
- Analyze. Social media analytics can be tricky because you need to know three things: if web traffic is driving social media, which social medium web traffic it’s coming from and which individual post it’s coming from. You have a couple of options here. You could use UTM tags, which specify the source of social media web traffic right in the URL, or you could purchase a HubSpot subscription and use their analytics without the use of UTM tags.
- Guide key followers down the sales funnel. Without question, the vast majority of your brand’s social media followers will never be your customers. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t devote resources to figuring out with ones might. Create a database with information on folks who interact with your brand frequently or who you’ve identified as likely customers. Try to move these folks down the sales funnel by targeting them in your posts.
How does your company use social media to attract customers? What ways has social media changed your marketing plan? Let us know in the comments section below.