By Candie Harris, Chief Operations Officer
Social media marketing has grown up. Over the last few years it has evolved into one of the primary digital tools in a marketer’s toolbox. However, one of the biggest problems that marketers continue to share regarding their use of social media is their struggle to measure its effectiveness. One way to overcome that challenge is to be sure your social media strategy is aligned with your business objectives. Here are five key questions to answer that can help inform and focus your strategy.
All Businesses Want to Increase Sales.
Key question #1: Is your strategy to increase sales by growing market share or growing the market?
If your strategy is to grow your market share, social media can be used to both understand your competitors and gain business from them. Analysis of your competitors’ social channels and presence can help to identify their strengths and weaknesses as well as offering targeting opportunities to get your content in front of their consumers. If your strategy is to grow your market, social media can be used to gain consumer insights. An active social community can provide ideas for unmet needs and new uses for your product. In addition, social media can be used to cost effectively A/B test various concepts and positioning and determine how effective they may be in expanding your market.
Key question #2: Is your strategy to increase sales to sell more to existing customers or to gain new ones?
Social media is the perfect venue to engage with existing customers and make them feel valued. Special offers, behind the scenes, and proactive community management are all tactics that can result in increasing sales with your existing customers. If your strategy is to gain new customers in addition to targeting competitors, you can use social media to find new customers that are similar to your existing customers and focus your content on attracting these new users to your brand offering.
All Businesses Want to Increase Profits.
Key question #3: Is your strategy to increase profits by reducing costs or increasing pricing?
Of course, most businesses want to do both, but the key here is focus. When your focus is on reducing costs, every expense in your business should be scrutinized. One area where social media has proven to be effective in reducing costs is in customer service. In particular, the recent use of chatbots can provide additional cost-saving opportunities. When looking to raise prices, insights gained from social media listening can be used to help differentiate your product and find your optimum pricing level. In addition, the plethora of social data on income levels can help to identify relevant consumer segments for targeting that matches your pricing strategy.
All Businesses Want Deeper Relationships with Their End Users
Key question #4: Is your distribution strategy direct or indirect?
A direct distribution model provides one of the strongest social media measures of effectiveness. Creating social content along with the specific targeting options to drive e-commerce sales allows marketers to clearly demonstrate ROI. Every piece of content and every target can be evaluated for sales results, thereby directly aligning social media strategy and execution to business objections. With an indirect distribution strategy, social media can be used to develop closer relationships with a brand’s consumers. Communities of brand loyalists and evangelists can be formed and nurtured.
All Businesses Want to Increase Their Brand Value
Key question #5: Is your primary objective to build awareness or shift sentiment?
If your brand needs to build awareness there are many social media approaches that can be used. Interesting content, innovative creative, new technology, and the use of influencers are a few ways that brands have built their awareness via social media. When the goal is to shift sentiment, social media can identify brand sentiment via various listening tools. Once the sentiment landscape is understood, social media can either build on positive sentiment or turnaround negative sentiment by following best-in-class community management techniques.
With each of these objectives there are many social media strategies that have been proven effective. Here are some specific case studies of best practice guidelines on how to measure the value of social media.
What successful strategies have you used to tie social media initiatives to your business objectives? Share them with the Likeable team in the comments!