How-To Tips for Optimizing Your Social Media Strategy
The starting point for optimizing your current social media strategy is to take some advice from Jay Baer, President of Convince & Convert e-commerce consulting services:
“Companies should focus more on how to BE social, and less on how to DO social media.”
It’s true that social media optimization (SMO) does require some website and network analytics and administrative tools for measuring progress with your strategy, based on quantifiable markers like page views, social shares, likes, and retweets. But the willingness to interact with your audience, to give them solid, valuable content, and to put in ample time to do both are fundamental to any successful social media marketing campaign.
Whether your current strategy has been yielding most or all of the results you wanted at the outset, or whether it has gaps in some parameters that have created a mixed bag of results, you can tweak it to obtain even greater or more balanced outcomes. Most experts suggest you should approach the SMO task by revisiting the plan that brought you your results. The optimization tips here are reminders of why and how you developed your social media strategy in the first place, peppered with some tools and insights that may help you freshen or revitalize your strategy.
Do You Need to Re-Shift or Narrow the Objectives of Your Social Media Strategy?
Most experts agree that relying on social media for e-commerce is the product of any number of company marketing goals and objectives. And they suggest that, although the goals are interrelated, only one or two specific social media objectives should be driving strategy.
Look at the following list and revisit what you and your company want from your strategy.
- Increase brand awareness
- Drive traffic to your website
- Generate new leads
- Grow revenue
- Boost brand engagement
- Build customer loyalty
- Build a community around your business
- Drive social signals for SEO
- Increase mentions in the press
- Research and learn about your customers
Each one of these objectives has its own specific tactics and analytic markers for measuring their success. But the key is determining which one is most appropriate for your company, its mission, its resources, and its future.
The Goals That Many Social Media Marketers Pursue
A 2014 “Social Media Optimization Survey” by Software Advice and Adobe found that marketers had their greatest success with two social media marketing objectives specifically — gaining new followers and enhancing recognition of their brands. They were least successful at using social media to generate leads and to drive direct-response sales.
What this finding may suggest is that the primary objective of a social media campaign should target less at generating revenue and more at establishing an audience, and then using subsequent marketing strategies like emails to improve sales. Again, the trick is to be social.
Use the SMART Model To Reset Your Goals and Objectives
Goal-setting theory is a fundamental management technique and is particularly appropriate in marketing. One of the theoretical models that SMO experts agree is most useful in social media marketing is called SMART. To achieve your objectives, each goal has to be:
- Specific (with precisely defined amounts or outcomes)
- Measurable (with clear-cut indicators for monitoring progress and results)
- Achievable (with realistic ceilings and boundaries)
- Relevant (with strategic application and linkage to resource commitments)
- Time bound (with target dates for specific milestones)
One of the best ways to apply the SMART model is to think in terms of the broad company goal first, and then determine how the social media objective helps achieve the broad mission in the most consistent, consequential way possible.
How Are Your Social Media Marketing Resources Targeted?
There are hundreds of social networks that may be appropriate for your marketing campaign. The top 10, as of 2017, include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Vine, and Snapchat. Many experts agree that you shouldn’t overextend yourself and try to be everywhere at once. They also agree, however, that placing your content on multiple networks is necessary for enhancing your visibility and extending your audience reach.
Analysis (as of 2017) of statistics from an Edelmann Trust Barometer survey showed the following breakdown of company participation on social networks:
- 23 percent are on three
- 25 percent are on four
- 16 percent are on five
- 10 percent are on six
- 3 percent are on eleven or more
Altogether, 84 percent of companies are using at least three social media networks to share their content. Yet the more revealing statistic is that a full 48 percent are using only three or four.
Are You Capturing the Right Audience?
You had customers in mind when you launched your business. But was your consumer analysis definitive enough to match your social media message with the right people?
Social media marketing experts recommend creating “buyer personas” to determine your entire target audience down to the last person who would purchase your product. Buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers that capture personal characteristics. These characteristics include age and gender, income and occupation, and avocational interests, but also more specific details like motivations, problems, dislikes, habits, and other internal values.
Target the right people with the correct message by checking out online resources, including research, surveys and interviews, to create buyer personas to precisely match your social media marketing campaign.
Are You Appropriately Distributing the Content You Use to Target Social Media for E-Commerce?
Regardless of whether your content sharing on social media is visual, audio, or print — in blogs, or posts, or tweets — how you present it in the right amounts and the right time parameters is key.
Follow two rules:
1. Use the “Social Media Rule of Thirds” set forward by Hootsuite for targeting content:
- One-third promotes your business, converts readers, and generates profit
- One-third shares ideas and stories from thought leaders in your industry or similar businesses
- One-third consists of personal interactions with your audience
2. Create an editorial calendar for creating content by determining:
- Times and dates and frequency of content posting
- The target audience for each piece of content
- The author of each piece of content