When it comes to fixing something, the first step is figuring out exactly what’s wrong. As obvious as that sounds, you’d be surprised how often this first rung of the “results ladder” gets missed. Anything from misidentification to shallow investigation can derail your plans – think of apologizing to a friend without really understanding what you did wrong. If you have a company that has delved into social media with limited success, the only thing that should concern you is why – you’ll get to how to fix it much more smoothly if you can identify the factors contributing to non-engagement.
1. [Who] You Talkin’ ‘Bout, Willis?
A social media marketing evaluation should begin by identifying your core audience. Using social media to reach them in some way is a foregone conclusion (everybody uses social media), but you need a strong handle on your demographic in order to plan how to reach them. If people aren’t engaging with your Facebook posts, it isn’t their fault–maybe you need to spruce up the language or get rid of the Seinfeld references. If you’re selling fishing rods or off-road ATVs for riding in the country, there’s a good chance that Duck Dynasty-oriented references would go over much better for your intended audience.
2. Be a [Perfectly Legal] Peeping Tom.
A proper social media marketing evaluation should include a bit of completely legal snooping on your competition. In fact, you don’t even necessarily need to look within the same industry – inspiration for ideas on how to tailor your messages can be found simply from successful websites with a social media presence. Start laying the groundwork for your own successful social networking presence by taking a pastiche of the various blogs you encounter. Don’t forget to incorporate tried-and-true techniques in your strategy, such as including images and video where applicable.
3. Use Analytics!
Analytics are essential and easily accessible. Whether you choose to go with the free and comprehensive Google Analytics or a paid full-service suite from somewhere else, there isn’t a better measure of the canal that brings you the most traffic. More to the point, a comprehensive social media marketing evaluation cannot be done without identifying your most successful sources of traffic. If you have a post that’s being passed around like hotcakes, analytics can tell you how your audience found your post. For example, are they coming through a link you left on the business social network LinkedIn? Or does your post have timely references to popular trending news, and Google News picked it up for the given keywords? Visit the Facebook pages of industry leaders to see what they’re talking about–including a similar reference in your unique post can bring in visitors searching with those keywords. After all, you can’t open the floodgates if you don’t know where the doors are.
4. Renew. Reuse. Recycle.
No matter what content management system you’re using, there’s almost certainly a widget that allows you to keep track of most popular posts and other delineations. Dig back into that well from time-to-time; write follow-up blog posts to a successful social media post. This is easier than you think. How so? Well, the definition of a successful post is the engagement it inspires, so there will be many Likes, Shares and comments on that post. Often, the comments themselves are quite insightful, and you may be able to form a new post answering questions, extending a treatment of a topic, and anything else that will resonate with your targeted network.
Remember: in most cases, it’s not a question of whether your audience is on social media. It’s what they’re using and how they engage with it. Find out where “your people” hang out, show them what they want to see, and answer what they want answered. Use analytics to see what’s working and how your fans are finding you. Pay attention to what they love and don’t be afraid to revisit (and, even more importantly, expand on) the content that’s been successful. And finally, be original, but let yourself be inspired by the social media marketers you admire.