Businesses striving to bring in that lucrative ROI with social media often fall into trap of thinking that the more followers you have the more success your social campaigns will have. In actuality, that is not always the case. Just like back in the early days of the web when many webmasters believed that hits were a sign of success, having more social followers is a false sign of being successful in that medium. Instead of focusing on followers, fans, and building a giant community around your brand online, you should aim for quality over quantity. Less can definitely be more when it comes to not only bringing in an ROI from social, but engaging with your social network of followers.

How to Make the Most of Your Social Media Marketing with Less

Advertising the same way to all of your social media followers is akin to the pray and spray techniques of the past. We now know that different consumers react very differently to advertising tactics, and consumers also have different behaviours based on their own goals. Each social follower is on their own “social consumer decision journey.” Therefore, marketing to all your social media followers in the same way is ineffective. Of course, you cannot just pick and choose your followers, and this strategy does not by any means mean that you should not continue to build out your social channels and to continue efforts to increase your follower base. Instead, let’s go back to the idea of picking and choosing your followers. Perhaps there is a way to do this, in a sense. After all, picking and choosing who you market what to is segmenting. You probably have heard of, and likely already segment your email lists. You might already have tools that segment your followers based on their preferences and previous behaviours. So, how can you segment your social media followers? Media monitoring is the answer. Media monitoring is not only about listening for mentions about your brand across different media outlets. Instead, turn your media monitoring efforts into media intelligence. Learn to listen and identify behaviours of your social followers, and then segment your followers by creating targeted paid social media campaigns and retargeting campaigns. These segments will allow you to engage differently, as well as better, while also funneling followers into the direction where you can deliver the best and most relevant offers or ads to them.

Examples from the McKinsey & Company’s Social Consumer Decision Journey

The 3 stages of marketing to the social consumer’s decision journey are creating buzz, learning from customers, and targeting customers. McKinsey & Company’s research highlights examples of the 3 core marketing elements for reaching your followers on their social consumer decision journey. As you will see, each of these social media actions does not involve the entire follower base, and successful results can be enacted from using very small audience samples.

  • Creating Buzz: An example of creating buzz through social channels comes from Ford Motor Company and their Fiesta Movement campaign behind the U.S. launch of their Fiesta model. Ford tapped 100 social media influencers as part of the campaign and gave them a European model of the car with “missions” to complete and asked them to document their experience on various social channels. The videos that were created by those influencers as part of this Fiesta campaign generated 6.5 million views on YouTube, Ford received 50,000 requests for information about the Fiesta, and they sold 10,000 cars in the first six days they were available.
  • Learning from Customers: PepsiCo wanted to find out what consumers thought about their Mountain Dew Brand. They ran ‘DEWmocracy Promotions’ and used social media to gather insights. Their findings led to creating new flavors of Mountain Dew, and since 2008 over 36 million cases have been sold.
  • Targeting Customers: The Levi Strauss Company has utilized social media to offer location-specific deals. One social media campaign involved direct interactions with 400 consumers but led to 1,600 people to turn up at local stores due to social media’s word-of-mouth effect.

Summary and Conclusion
Gaining the most followers on your social channels isn’t always the metric for success. Media monitoring and media intelligence can help you target smaller segments of your social followers to create specialized campaigns that have a larger ROI. These smaller campaigns can be more effective than larger ones. You can likely run several smaller campaigns with the same resources and cost it takes to run larger ones that are not as effective. Running social campaigns that cost less, but drive more sales will certainly make your social media marketing team shine. For more info on media monitoring and media intelligence see here.