Guest Post by Kathi Kruse
Social Media ROI may seem elusive but there are specific steps you can take to leverage the medium without going broke.
Marketing to generate leads for any business today requires a holistic approach that includes SEO, content (blog), Social Media and Social advertising. It’s difficult to know where to concentrate your resources but it bears close attention due to the investment it takes to succeed.
Now that Social Media marketing has gone mainstream…
Many business owners are left wondering which sites will give them the biggest ROI. The simple answer to that question is…whichever sites your customers are on.
However, true Social Media ROI is not that simple.
You must know your audience well to know where they spend their time. You must know your audience in order to engage them and convert them into customers.
Social Media sites are channels, just like radio or TV channels. Marketing campaigns are run on the channels where your ideal customers spend their time. Content is developed and published on those sites (just as it would be on traditional channels) and in return, people engage with your business.
But this is only a portion of your overall quest for Social Media ROI.
The only true way to establish and achieve Social Media ROI is with a solid marketing system.
A solid marketing plan will outline clear objectives, goals, a budget, a timeframe and trackable metrics. Your system’s goals could look something like these:
- Increase Facebook likes by 1,000 in 30 days.
- Improve Facebook page engagement by 20% within the next 6 months.
- Generate traffic to our site and collect 500 new blog subscribers in the next 90 days.
- Convert Facebook fans into customers by leveraging a budget of $500/month for social advertising.
- Grow our Twitter following by 1,000 users in the next 90 days.
- Develop and implement a solid content strategy that includes our employees’ participation in blog posts to increase visibility and reach with search engines.
I’ve always been a person who likes to think things through and create a plan with a system that brings me the best results for the time, money and effort I put into it. Many businesses simply hip-shoot their way onto Social Media, perhaps misunderstanding that since it’s free, they should participate. Here’s a little secret: Nothing is free.
People use Social Media sites to check in with friends, connect with their network, and share relevant opinions about the products and services they use. Your business needs to be there to listen, answer questions and nurture the sales process with those most likely to buy from you.
Below is a breakdown of the most popular Social Media sites. This is a bird’s eye view but it will give you a starting point from which to plan your quest for Social Media ROI:
Which Social Media sites give you the biggest ROI?
- If you’re new and only have budget for one site, start with Facebook. It’s the biggest and offers the most opportunity.
- Facebook also offers established businesses many opportunities, especially with Facebook ads. The ability to target those most likely to buy from you makes Facebook an obvious choice when you’re looking for the biggest Social Media ROI.
- Twitter is great if your target audience likes to consume information on the go in 140 characters. It’s also an outstanding way to prospect by leveraging Twitter’s advanced search and industry-related hashtags.
- Instagram is ideal for showing another side of your brand – perhaps the fun-loving, not-so-serious side of your business. However, the images you share need to be hi-quality to stand out. I can’t tell you how many businesses share images that are just so sad.
- Pinterest is great for reaching women. In the car business, 85% of vehicle purchases are influenced by women so develop a content strategy that speaks to them.
- Google Plus is a great platform for engaging with niche groups of people. The Circles tool allows you to tailor content to specific groups. Google Plus is also ideal for sharing your blog posts and gaining authority with search.
- LinkedIn is the ultimate platform for your salespeople to develop a referral network and prospect for new customers. With LinkedIn Premium, your salespeople can leverage advanced search to locate those they want to connect with. Example: many car manufacturers have financing programs through large companies. Your salespeople can search for employees within those companies to prospect with.
Social Media ROI is clearly where your focus should be. Start with a solid marketing plan, a proven system, and identify your ideal audience before you begin any online marketing.
Goals and objectives provide a starting point from which to measure. During the lifecycle of your campaigns, track and analyze your results. When it’s time, you tie your results back to your goals. That’s true Social Media ROI.