The beauty of technology is that it allows you to target the people you need to reach. "You can send fresh and compelling messages out to target audiences," says Michael Neumeier, principal of the Arketi Group, a small-business marketing consultancy in Atlanta. “You can use it to start delivering educational content to a narrowly focused list of people. Even if it’s only 50 people, if it’s the right 50 people, it’ll do wonders for your startup.”
Podcasting can help you become a leader and expert to your consumers. If your business is clothing, you should talk about the latest trends, fashion shows, or designers. If you own a wine shop, consider giving wine tips or food-pairing advice. In today's fast-paced world, catching a shopper's attention can be difficult. It’s easy for users to download audio content to their smart phones and listen to your advice on the go.
The fact that you're creating audio content instead of just adding words to a webpage means that your business will be seen as innovative. It gives you the kind of buzz that's harder to obtain. Allowing your content to be shareable and available can put you at the top of leaderboard.
We're not here to tell you what your process of hiring should be, but you certainly don't want to just pick someone you deem as "really good at Facebook". We're certainly not saying recent college graduates aren't qualified to work with social media, or that they are not more than capable of handling the responsibilities that come with running such an important aspect of your business.
However, since social media is a relatively new thing, many businesses assume that a younger employee is more knowledgeable with this channel. This is the kind of thinking that can get you into trouble. Social Media is important, and just like any other part of your business, you want to hire the most capable and experienced person. Some problems you may encounter are:
1. Lack of Social Media Etiquette
Yes, this newly minted graduate knows Facebook and Twitter, but do they know how to create posts that reflect your brand? Do they understand how to manage awareness of your products? Can you rely on them to take their responsibilities seriously? The last thing you want is a late night Instragram photo posted on the wrong Facebook Wall or a customer mistreated. The Chrysler Twitter incident and Best Buy Facebook ordeal are good examples of how bad this can be.
2. Getting on the Job Training
I know what you're thinking - how can this person gain experience if we don't give them a chance? Remember: there is a difference between having someone manage your social media and entry level experience. Social Media incorporates marketing, public relations, branding, customer service, and sales. We learn these things through years of on-the-job experience. Professors can only do so much.
3. Unfamiliarity with Your Business
Your business is your livelihood. Trusting a workforce newbie can be a risky. This person will need to really understand what your company stands for, the products or service that you provide, and the marketplace. We all have to learn these things when we start working at any company, but a new graduate will have a deeper learning curve.
4. Communication, Communication, Communication
The art of communicating in a businesslike manner is truly learned. It took many of us time to learn how to read company communication and reply in a professional manner. While blogs and social media interaction are allowed to be less stiff, you need to ask yourself, Does my new hire know the difference? Does this person know when to use a more formal tone?
This leads us to the next point....
5. Humor: Friend or Foe?
We all have a different sense of humor, and social media certainly can entertain us, but does your ingénue know the boundaries? The last thing you want is to offend your consumer base, like the famous Kenneth Cole Egyptian riots tweet, or the disastrous jokes Aflac spokesman Gilbert Gottfried made about the Japanese tsunamis.
6. Inability to Analyze Efforts
Social Media isn't just about posting and engaging. You need to find out if using these channels is working. You need someone who can understand the nuts and bolts of your marketing efforts. Can your hire craft content to engage and inspire fans? Can they also create reports and analyze high level information to determine next steps?
Here is the bottom line: you need to make sure you hire the right person for the job. Experience is necessary, but in some cases, budgets make it difficult to retain an expert. If you hire a new graduate, make sure you set expectations and keep control. Ensure all accounts created use your company's email address, passwords are shared with you, and all posts are double-checked before they are put out on social media. This may seem like a lot of work, but it's best to maximize return on this important part of your marketing plan.
The first question most business owners ask when presented with a new marketing plan: How much will this cost? The second question: How much business will it bring in? The big question about social media is how to determine the return on investment (ROI). Some experts will explain that measuring social media success is very difficult, however, they will also insist that you engage on social media sites in order to build your brand. How much time and/or money is worth spending on your social media marketing campaigns (or on social media sites in general engaging with customers)?
Although measuring ROI can be very difficult, here are some tips to help convert those fans into customers.
~ Create relationships with your fans. Respond to questions and comments. Your posts should create buzz -- interesting items that compel fans to share your content with their friends. When people receive great deals, they are often excited to share their finds on their social media profiles, thereby spreading the word about your brand. Increased awareness equals a higher likelihood to buy your product.
~ Follow up with leads. At the end of the day, you want lead generation. Each fan or follower is a potential customer. Determine how best to convert your particular fans into customers and then do it.
~ Track website traffic. As we discussed in our recent post, Using Social Media For Taboo Services, not every company's success can be measured by the number of fans they have on Facebook. Make sure there is a way for customers to easily contact you through your website.
You are probably thinking that we have not yet answered the question: How do you measure social media ROI? That's because it is a difficult question to answer. There are so many variables and benefits that can't be fully measured. There is no standard measurement, so we cannot apply an x+y=z to give you hard and fast numbers to prove that time spent on social media sites is worth it.
MDG Advertising recently released a study on social media ROI and explained how most companies are "looking beyond sales and dollar signs, and looking at metrics like site traffic, conversion, number of positive mentions, etc." The metrics used by CMOs to measure social media marketing activities are site traffic (68% of those surveyed), conversions (66%), number of fans/followers (63%), number of positive customer mentions (63%), number of contributors (50%), revenue (50%), number of page views (43%), number of posts (42%), number of mentions (41%), average order value (23%), reduced returns (16%), increased channel sales (15%) and reduced call volume (11%). MDG suggests defining your key objectives before implementing a social media marketing strategy. Are you looking for short term sales? Engaging existing customers? Increasing brand awareness? Increasing your searchability? Spreading news and important information? Encouraging word of mouth? Complementing a promotional campaign? You must determine what you would like to get out of social media before you can implement a successful campaign.
You don't have to navigate the social media jungle alone. If you would like a free consultation to discuss a social media marketing plan, please contact Social Sonar through our website.