97% of adults between the ages 16-64 say they logged on to at least one social network in the last month.
Chances are you’re using social media, whether it’s for business or personal use, you probably have an account somewhere. If you are a company though, you should definitely be utilizing social media as a way to boost your marketing efforts. Why wouldn't you want to connect with more customers and build brand awareness? If you’re sleeping on this resource… it's time to wake up.
Don’t think your companies audience is on social media sites? 68% of US adults between the ages of 18-29 are on Facebook. 35% of Instagram users check Instagram multiple times a day and 51% open the app daily. 81% of millennials view their Twitter account daily and there are more than 450 million LinkedIn user accounts.
It pays to be social
Why use social media...
I won’t bore you with endless statistics but you see my point. There are unending benefits of having a social media presence and a dedicated following. The data shows that successful businesses are having frequent social interactions with their customers. There are lots of ways to connect with your current customers and potential customers as well. You can ask for users opinions, do a giveaway, or take a poll involving your brand. These are great ways to interact with your audience. Asking customers to do things like participate in a poll not only gets them to interact with your brand but gives your business valuable information to use in the future. Burberry, for example, ran a marketing campaign where they asked customers to post pictures of themselves in their Burberry coats. Their customers got really into it because seeing other real people wearing the coats humanized the brand and it’s following, and was a form of peer-to-peer marketing. What’s peer-to-peer marketing? It’s communicating person to person (or customer to customer) instead of business to customer. There are lots of ways you can relate to customers and make them feel valued, while also adding value to your brand. This can all happen through the correct use of social media.
Social media interactions humanize your brand and make it appear more approachable, so think of how your brand would talk and act if it were a living breathing person. Who would you want to buy something from, the person who seems knowledgeable, helpful, and approachable? Or the person who never responds to your questions and doesn’t seem to care if you are happy with their products or services? Social media is also a great way to connect with mobile users, I know when I’m looking for a product or service I’m much more likely to look it up on my phone before I head to my computer. If there isn't a functional and easy to navigate mobile site, or they don’t have an Instagram or Facebook, I probably won’t make it to the desktop version at all.
“Users spend on average 69% of their media time on smartphones.”
LET'S TALK DATA
But how do you know that what you’re posting, and when you’re posting it, is having the desired effect? Are you talking to a silent room, or are people excited by your content and want to learn more? This is where analytics comes in. Wouldn’t it be great if you could track how your content is performing over time, on every social site you use? You totally can! Through understanding the social analytics, Google Analytics, and other similar tools, you can truly see if what you’re doing is working. In the beginning, it may seem overwhelming to figure out what metrics are important to track. These less important metrics are often referred to as Vanity Metrics and although they are valuable, they are likely not as important when it comes to gaining customers and making conversions.
UNDERSTANDING VANITY VS ACTIONABLE
Some examples of vanity metrics include things such as follower count, site visitors, or the number of likes. Let's talk about follower count. If you have a large follower count but they aren’t the right kind of followers, and they are not leading to conversions, it’s not really that helpful. It’s always better to have a smaller more dedicated following, rather than a large number of followers that don’t really appreciate what you have to offer. On the flip side of that let's look at the metrics that are important to keep an eye on. Some actionable metrics to monitor are things like click-through rate, engagement rate, and conversion rate. These are the stats that lead to sales, new customers, and building your brand. When it comes to reach vs engagement rate, engagement is what you are really looking for. Engagement rate is the rate at which people are interacting with your content. Interactions lead to conversions and conversions lead to new business.
TAKE IT SLOW
So we’ve touched on Google Analytics, but the social platforms you use have their own versions of analytics as well. Facebook, for example, uses a tool called Facebook Insights. Through the use of this tool, you can see how many people your content is reaching, and what your top performing piece of content is, as well as your lowest performing piece of content. With this information, you can be aware of the type of content you should continue to post, and the subject areas you should stay away from. Now keep in mind, things like the best time of day to post will vary and change over time, so it's incredibly important to continually run tests, and change things up now and then. Analytics is also a really cool way to get to know your audience. Through analytics, you can see the times of day your customers are most active, what region your customers live in, and what type of device they are viewing your content on. Those of you that are extremely private people are probably running for the hills at this point, but we promise we’re not stalkers. We just truly care about improving the customer experience. Whether you are using Google Analytics, Twitter analytics, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram, what really matters is that you are tracking your content performance and optimizing your content over time. The landscape of digital marketing is constantly evolving, don't get left behind.
Not as creepy as it sounds...
THAT'S A WRAP
All in all the takeaway should be that data is incredibly important when using social media to promote your brand. Trusting your gut is great, but making guesses about what people want to see is often a waste of time and money. Stop putting out content based on feelings, or based on what someone else did. Not that other companies aren’t posting great content, but what works for them may not work for you. Watch what others in your industry are doing, but always be true to your own brand. Create a social media strategy that best represents your business. When you know what is working and what isn’t, and are making the right optimizations, you can better serve your customer. In the end isn’t that really what matters?