Social Marketing, a Trend?
Social Media Marketing is like a chainsaw, it can be extremely effective, or you can cut your damn hand off. There are a lot of marketing firms out there pushing social media as a must have in any given company’s marketing strategy. You’ll have phrases like viral marketing, direct contact and share value thrown at you with the force relative to the Jays plunge out of playoff contention after the all-star break. So what’s the answer? Should social media marketing be a priority in your marketing strategy? Should you invest the time and the money (good social takes money regardless of what someone may tell you) into the development and establishment of your company’s social identity? Well the answer is sadly as unclear as why Tuuka Rask can’t get his game together against the Habs. Sadly all I can offer you today is a firm “Maybe.”
“Social Media Marketing is like a chainsaw, it can be extremely effective, or you can cut your damn hand off.”
I know that’s not what you wanted to hear but whether or not social media is worth the investment or time depends completely on the type of business you run and what you hope to achieve through your social channels. If you are in an industry that deals solely in million dollar contracts with large corporations and your objective for social media is to land that new client, then you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Now if you are a company that deals with large clients and million dollar contracts and you want to use social media to attract employees, promote your community involvement to the world, or just help expose your brand to the general public, those are all goals that you can accomplish through social media. If you’re a local coffee shop and you want to get people through the door, then social media could be the answer.
What Are You Driving?
In any online marketing effort the key is determining what the ideal conversion through your marketing exercise is worth to you. Social media unfortunately requires a great deal of up-front time and capital investment. Depending on the end goal of your social efforts, the set up and maintenance can run anywhere from a few hours up front and one or two per week in maintenance, to at least 100 hours of up front work and 10-20 per week maintaining. Think of these two ends of the social investment spectrum as a Honda Civic and a Fully Loaded F-350. One is cheaper, more fuel efficient and can do the basics of what you’d expect a car or a social channel to be able to do, but it certainly can’t haul anything with any efficiency and if you try you’ll end up blowing your metaphorical engine. The F-350 on the other hand can work like a beast, haul, drive even run over pesky competitors and keep going; however, she’s a hell of a lot more of an investment up front and maintaining her and keeping gas in the engine will require a lot of attention. If you fail in this commitment one day you’ll wake up to see your beautiful F-350 has turned into a crappy Dodge Ram (good for nothing).
“Think of these two ends of the social investment spectrum as a Honda Civic and a Fully Loaded F-350.”
Analytics and You!
Now that you have selected your social media goals and the type of vehicle that you will use to achieve those goals, you need to learn how to use each platform’s version of Analytics, as well as Google Analytics. For Facebook you have your branded page Insights. For Twitter you use Twitter Analytics. These two systems are quite robust and can allow you an unprecedented sense of how your brand is being encountered on the platform, the level of engagement from your users/followers/fans, as well as a great platform to craft and monitor social media advertisements. All of these platforms are far to complex and awesome to try and force into the end of this article, so stay tuned for future articles detailing how to dominate your social media analytics. The point you need to take away from this article about analytics is, that regardless of your goals you need to gain an understanding of how to use the analytics for both your website and your social platforms. If your goal is to drive traffic to your site, you need your site’s analytics to be ready to capture where your visitors are coming from. If they are coming from social media you need to have a good enough understanding of your social channel’s analytics to figure out what it was that convinced the user to visit your page. Then you can keep doing what works and stop doing what doesn’t.
“…keep doing what works and stop doing what doesn’t.”
Well that’s it for today. If after reading this and you still think that the goals that you hope to achieve with social media are worth the effort (whether they are big or small), then keep an eye out for part two where I will give out some best practices from industry experts and successful brands that you can implement and test yourself. See you soon!