2016 was the year of debates. There was Donald vs. Hillary, Leave vs. Remain, Kanye vs. pretty much everyone, gluten-free vs. things actually tasting good, Harambe vs. child, etc. Now, while most of these debates actually came to a conclusion (however dire those conclusions were), some simply did not; Kanye still hates the world, for example.
With so much going on, you can’t be blamed if another of the hot topics – “Is social media marketing a waste of time?” – flew under the radar. However, the time has come to re-enter the debate and decide if social media really is worth it for your brand.
Social media is only a waste when used incorrectly
The problem with social media is that it takes up a lot of time. Not just for a business, but also the social lives of your employees (the last hour I spent on social media was pure research, I promise) and this means that it really needs to be used wisely.
Most businesses make the mistake of presuming that a Twitter account with occasional tweets when the blog is updated is a sufficient social media presence and allows them to tick the box.
Running a successful social media marketing campaign takes a lot of work; sharing cat memes, while hilarious and adorable, simply isn’t going to cut it.
If you don’t put the right amount of time, effort and strategy into it, then your social media is, in fact, a waste of time.
Create a social media marketing strategy
As with any other marketing avenue, social media needs a strategy. This is how you should go about it:
Set a goal
Simply tossing out a viral video, your own content, or (again) a cat meme and hoping that it leads to likes, clicks and shares is not enough. You need a game plan for your social media marketing. You need to set goals that you want to achieve before you even get started.
Decide whether you want to:
- Increase brand awareness
- Nurture loyal customers
- Increase your followers
- Promote a new product/service
- Increase conversions
- Find new leads
- All of the above
Decide on a platform/platforms
Once you know your goals and have ascertained whether they align with your company objectives, then you can decide which platforms to focus on. Find out where your target audience is most active and then create relevant, captivating content for them to consume. Check out this awesome infographic below that the folks from Leverage New Age Media kindly created for us.
Now that you are creating kickass content that your customers are devouring, you need to determine the success of the content. You need to decide which metrics you would like to measure and how exactly you are going to track them.
The following metrics should be considered:
- Referral traffic from social media
- Leads generated
- Conversion rates
Then decide how to track and analyse them – Google Analytics is great example of a free tracking tool.
Evaluate and evolve
There’s no point in assessing all your wonderful data and then doing absolutely nothing with it. A great social media marketing plan will constantly change and adapt according to these results. Increase the things that are working for you and improve or discard the avenues that are yielding no results.
You are only wasting time on social media if you don’t have a strong strategy driving it. You need to work diligently to consistently create content that your consumers want to receive. Inbound marketing is all about attracting – not chasing – your customers, after all.
Other businesses are already seeing huge benefits from their efforts with inbound marketing and similar strategies. To benchmark your own marketing strategy, have a look at our 7 powerful inbound marketing charts, or subscribe to our blog for more ideas and inspiration on the best inbound marketing practices out there.