Social media is no longer a buzzword. It is a business necessity. But there is still a lot of misinformation and conjecture about what works – and what doesn’t – when it comes to social media marketing.
According to LinkedIn, 81% of small and medium-sized businesses currently use social media to drive business growth and 9% are planning to use it in the future. But how exactly are all of these businesses driving this growth?
Social media, like most activities that are worthwhile, does not have a “one size fits all” solution. Rather, businesses must discover for themselves what works for their industry and company.
Still, there are some general rules of thumb that can help brands discover their own unique social media secret sauce.
- Tie social to business
A full 78% of companies now have a dedicated social media team, but only 26% integrate social media fully into their business strategies. This means that two thirds of businesses that devote full-time staff hours to social media are potentially setting themselves up to fail.
The brand that is built on social media is no different from the brand built using other channels. Social activity should be integrated with business strategy so that the effort spent crafting compelling content and measuring its effectiveness is not kept self-contained in an echo chamber.
To discover what works on social media, all social activities – from sending a tweet to developing a three-month promotional campaign – must connect to business goals and strategy.
- Be consistent
Social media can benefit a brand in many ways, from improved awareness to better relationships with valued customers. But in order to realize these benefits, a business must be consistent.
Tweeting for a week and then abandoning the account can lead a business to believe that Twitter “just doesn’t work” for them. But without consistent care and attention, any business growth effort – including sales, marketing and customer relations – will wither.
Consistency applies to all aspects of social media marketing, from content to measurement. By being consistent, businesses will begin to see which activities are most effective and can focus more time and resources on them.
There is no way to uncover the social media tactics that work for your business without measuring results. Businesses need to dig into the data that social media provides – from audience insights to traffic patterns – and learn.
And measuring the number of Twitter followers is simply not enough. A business must know who it is connected to, which pieces of content resonate most, and what actions their audience takes. Only then will a brand be able to determine what works for them.
There are many tactics and strategies that work for businesses on social media. For instance, 94% of SMB social media users prefer it as a marketing channel, while 50% use it for learning and deriving business insights. Because each business is a unique entity, its social media goals, strategy and tactics will be unique – but the necessity of understanding what works and what does not is the same for all businesses across the board.