Social Strategies, analytics and Brand ROI, OH MY! For many of us in the audience, we weren’t in “Kansas” anymore. There were graphs and equations on the screen showing the behind the scenes data and tools of multiple different platforms and our image of success in social media transformed before our eyes from a haphazard struggle for popularity into a graceful fact-based science. Trina Albus from Magenta Agency had concentrated her 2 hour lecture into an hour Master Class for SMWLA; she began sharing her wealth of knowledge on social media optimization at promptly 1:00 pm and never lost pace over the course of the hour. Her theme for the discussion, one I found to be a theme across many panels and classes that day, was “organic”. Authenticity of what you’re sharing is the most important marker for the likability and success of your social media endeavors. Start with something worth sharing, and then experiment with your data of when and how to exercise your media platforms. Create a social strategy, use the platform analytics to increase the success of each post and thus increase the ROI for the brand.
Creating social strategy can be done efficiently with Albus’s 5 steps: define target demographic, define goals, decide on social channels, define metrics and execute a strategy. First step is relatively obvious for any business: who is your audience, who are you targeting and what demographic will you find the most success with your product or service? Another obvious step is defining goals. Within these goals exist more tactics and ideas to brainstorm on how to use the next step, which social channels to choose. Once you know your demographic, you can find out where they spend most of their time, be it Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Within those social media channels, what makes sense to measure your success. How can you track progress and use the analytics of the platform to move onto the last step: execute your strategy. This strategy is based on how you measure and then refine, refine, refine. Evolve to what your audience is telling you and change tactics if something isn’t getting the response you need to achieve your goals. There it is, 5 steps and you have a social strategy.
In order to make anything worthwhile out of the social strategy created for a brand, you must understand how to utilize what social platforms offer. Facebook, for example, has EdgeRank which is an algorithm developed to govern what is displayed (& how high) on the News Feed. The EdgeRank is measured by the individual’s affinity or measurable interest in a brand, the level of interaction by the individual (i.e. share, like, comment, etc.), and age of a post. There are many ways to increase your EdgeRank. Posting at least once per day helps to increase your reach to individuals and offers your audience more opportunities to interact as well as keeps your content fresh, minimizing the age of your posts (use Facebook Features to Schedule your posts at least 4 hours apart or throughout the week for efficient marketing). Being mobile friendly in the content that you share on Facebook will increase the interest and interaction with your brand. Finally, offering a variety of content: photos, links, videos, promotions, etc. Once you have a collection of posts, you will be able to preview Facebook Insights each week to determine what works and what doesn’t work with your audience and fix your tactics accordingly.
Perfecting your EdgeRank is a Facebook based example that shows the trial and error nature of successful social media marketing. Many other platforms have ways to analyze your audience behavior & determine popularity of posts. Educating yourself on how to utilize these tools is key in the ROI for your brand. If we take the haphazard approach to social media, the results will be equally as random and unpredictable. We are in a tech-based world and there are plenty of ways to facilitate your endeavors in social media and boil down your social media investments to a well-oiled ROI machine. Social media’s key is in its name: being social. Make connections, partner with people who are relatable to your brand and cross-promote on all your platforms. Don’t forget to be authentic. The connections that you make should be organic and seamless; the content that you post should be genuine and valuable to your audience. People can smell the stink of fake and it’s not worth risking the return for your company by forcing a characteristic that isn’t natural. The big take away is: be Real, Organic, and Constructive and success will follow.