Everyone is jumping on the social media bandwagon; some businesses are absolutely rocking it, others are bombing. The reason some bomb on social media is because social media is two faced. The business face and the consumer face. The two faces of social media are very different and finding the happy medium is a downright science.
Lets start with the business side of social media. If you are a business, you are going to use social media as a tool for social selling, creating awareness and customer retention. The business goal of social media is to create conversions of followers to dollars so why are so many marketers in the dark on how to measure the true dollars to cents ROI of social media efforts?
We’ve done a small survey of 30 companies that use social media to compliment their marketing efforts and a whopping 27 of those 30 have never looked past insights. So why do marketers and business owners stay in the dark when it comes to determining the ROI of social media? We’ve boiled it down to a few factors; the mindset that social media is “free,” the lack of knowledge of conversions and the actual goal of social media. As marketers, we wouldn’t dare signing on an advertising agreement without hard data on the number of people reached, the demographics, a set strategy and an end goal of the ad. It’s time to turn the social media mindset.
To address the first issue of the social media mindset that social media is free; it’s not. Time is money. The truth is, there is no magic unicorn of social media. Social media success comes from spending A LOT of time researching trends, data, performing a/b testing, building your audience and of course ENGAGING your followers. On Facebook, you will need to pay for ads to establish your following and build an actual fan base. If you play your cards right, you won’t need to pay for long. Keep in mind; your number of “likes” or followers is not enough to be considered a fan base. Your fan base is the number of people actively engaged in your social media efforts.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, lets talk numbers. How do you actually determine the value of your following? There are several tools on the web that can help you determine the value of a follow or a like on social media channels. We like Hubspot’s Value Of A Like formula because it’s simple and you can easily adjust the values to project results of different actions. Give it a click, enter your values…we will wait.
Congratulations! You now have a number to tell your boss in your next meeting. Now that you have determined the true value of a like, you can better plan your social media efforts with a little pep in your step because you now know what each follower or fan is worth. Before you start your happy dance, allow me to rain on your parade, no one likes to be a number. Though you need that magical number to shape your marketing efforts, you never want to use that number outside of a meeting room. In fact, if you say it too much, you will start thinking about it too much and you will draw a line in the sand between you and your following.
The true disconnect of social media is the absolute difference of the business goal and personal goal of social media. As a business owner or marketer we sometimes ask the wrong questions of social media.
“How much money will I make?”
“How many new sales will I see?”
Though these are absolutely valid questions, they are the wrong questions for social media and lead to bad tactics and strategies. Social media is a place to engage, share and learn about one another. The mindset as a business must be to make a difference, build and strengthen relationships and create awareness.
Social media works because of relationship building. Social media allows your business to establish a relationship by providing value to your audience. You can measure all the analytics you can gather but the bottom line is that if you aren’t connecting with your audience at a personal level, you aren’t connecting. Many times, social media is a better tool for customer retention than social selling. Even if your main goal of social media is customer retention. Customer Retention = Sales.
How do you find the balance in the two faces of social media? You need to know your customer before jumping on social media. Create personas to determine your ideal customer. Your personas will help determine the social media channels you should be using and your analytics and values will help tailor the content on each channel. You may begin on a channel and realize that your customers aren’t anything like you projected, don’t get discouraged, it’s a good thing. Social media is always changing but so is your consumer and their buying journey.
Time. Social media takes time, a lot of it. Half of the value of social media is that you put in the time and your audience recognizes that you value each and every follower and like. You are not creating a sales tool, you are taking the time to connect, share and nurture a relationship. When a company fosters a relationship with customers, each customer has the potential to become more valuable in dollar figures and metrics. The more relationship nurturing we do through social media, the more valuable your business is to the consumer.
Conversions, Retention and Sales are what we measure with analytics and metrics; they are a result of a good nurturing strategy. Numbers do not drive the magical unicorn of social media; it’s driven by the goal of learning about your customers and earning their attention.
Are you nurturing your relationships with Social Media? Check out our Social Media Training.
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