Social media is certainly being given importance. There are many companies that have invested time and effort in managing and promoting their social media channels, yet one does have to ask, are results being felt?
A typical approach to social media is by centralising its management and efforts to an assistant or executive and being asked to increase as many ‘likes’ as possible. Likes are then bought in exchange for iPad’s and other freebies and a community starts to grow. As likes increase, social media efforts are then deemed to be a success, because after all, social media is all about popularity.
The problem with this is that the value of such likes need to be questioned. Are the likes due to an interest in a product? Is your fan base potential or existing customers looking to engage with the brand? Or are they liking the fact that you give away free iPads?
Social media, like with any marketing effort, needs to be done with purpose and that purpose must solely be to increase sales. While a little bit of humour does help, social media must focus on giving your readers value.
How can we know whether social media is done right? There are a couple of clues in order to know whether it is being done in a proper way, some of which are listed below:
Know why you are bothering
What are you trying to achieve through your social media efforts? Many will say awareness, visibility or even sales which are all correct answers, though highly superficial. Let us take the tourism industry, particularly hotels, as an example. Social media may be an excellent tool to improve customer retention or by engaging with customers to create repeat visits.
A very specific objective with tangible advantages affecting the performance of your business.
Have a theory
It is impossible, especially when starting out, to know exactly what is going to work. You may believe that your hotel’s strong points, to stick to the same example, are the people that work within it. To create a scenario, your hotel’s staff has the ability to give that family run culture and patrons are therefore extensions to such a family. Therefore, if you can theorise this, back it up with evidence, and feel that that is your strong point, then have your hotel’s social media work with that scope in mind, making such patrons feel like an extension to your family.
Theories help give your marketing efforts an objective and scope in order to prove or disprove this theory. It may not be a 100% hit on your first go though you are slowly starting to create a structure in order to achieve an objective.
We are constantly being told to measure everything we do though most give little more than lip service to the most critical function. Measuring the successes of a social media theory through the understanding of engagement is vital for it to work. How many likes and shares do you get for your posts? Are such likes and shares led to a landing page with an offer? Are you seeing opportunities for your business increase with such posts? Is there an improvement in conversions?
Are you asking such questions?
Social media works. There is no question about it. It starts national revolutions, as well as helps companies build global brands. Making it work for you is the difference been achieving better returns and wasting a lot of time and money.
I leave you with this, if your social media followers stops receiving updates, will they complain? Will they call in to ask when the next update is due? Will you be missed? If you are answering no, than it may be time to rethink your theory or purpose. You may also want to look closer at your measures of success.