“Your goal should be to own quality time in your customer's inbox.” ~ Drew Davis, Brandscaping
When you were a kid, remember when you wanted to a do-over? Maybe you play a sport or engage in activities that encourage a learning period. After all, practice makes perfect!
As many business owners and entrepreneurs know too well, there is little time for practice when it does not cost money or repeated efforts to change course. As the New Year approaches, many business owners cross over into January without examining the progress of the past year.
In truth, January is the perfect time to make New Years Business Resolutions that will help boost marketing efforts and examine social media because business owners have year-year data to make decisions.
Here are five New Year’s Resolutions that will make the difference in any social media effort in 2014:
- Planning is Everything: Many companies start social media accounts without considering WHY they are on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or blogging. The truth is that all social media have a demographic that is directly connected to traditional marketing demographics like age, gender, income, education, and children status. Having a social media plan based on facts with a plan for content distribution, timelines, and KPIs (key performance indicators) increase the probability of success in a social media campaign.
- Be Consistent: This step always seems the most complex to clients because it requires the implementation of the first resolution…plan, plan, plan…except in a little different way. It is the same concept with marketing and social media, but to really achieve strong audience following and search engine presence there has to be consistent participation in social media. In truth, you are in charge of managing and setting the customers’ expectations. Social media participation needs to be like hours for your business. If you set the expectation that you will be open from 9 am – 5 m on Monday through Friday, then the customer does not try to find on you Saturday and Sunday. Find the right time to post (using your analytics and insights – see #4 and #5) and stay on track!
- Decide on Content: In this area, the old adage “you are either with us or against us” applies. The content for all social media channels should work toward three goals: create content people want to engage with and share, further your brand and messaging to your clients, and promote your marketing goal (that might be to become an expert in your field, share intelligent information, or whatever!). The important thing to note is that content should never be created just for one social channel. Like any good marketing channel, there should be a well planned theme to content to make sure that it fits into your overall marketing goals. When you find something that works, do it again. Remember: Content can come from sharing things others have done as well as personally created content. The measurement should be – does it fit into the goals and pull up engagement levels.
- Measurement is Critical: Speaking of measurement, the New Year is the perfect time to measure results and see what is working. The loneliest place in the social media stratosphere is the analytics and insights. So many have drank the Kool-Aid, so to speak, that social media impact cannot be measured or gauged. Nothing is further from the truth. Many business owners approach social media channels without planning and goal in mind. This same thinking leads to shortfalls in other areas such as setting milestone and creating a continuous measurement process. Think of it this way…if you never balanced your checkbook, then how would you know if you had money in the bank? It is the same thought process. If you are consistently measuring what works against what you want to achieve, then your social media marketing plan will be more successful because you will understand what is resounding with your audience and what falls short in both content and in social media channels. Perhaps you are receiving more traffic from Facebook and Pinterest than Twitter and blogging. You will know where to invest your time (and money) when you set up measurement dashboards and start to really look at the reports.
- Redirect and Re-Engage: When you have your stats staring you in the face, it is easy to see what is working and what is not working. The question is more complex than the actual answer. The easy answer is – if it is not working is stop doing it and if it is working do more of it. Using the Google analytics, insights, and stats from your website, every social media channel can be / should be evaluated for performance and contribution to goals. When something is not working, redirect and re-engage to make the customer experience more beneficial for everyone.
From assessment of the plan to designing a schedule to arranging content to creating a measurement plan, a business owner can answer the biggest question about marketing that arrives every year at budget time: Is my social media marketing working? After all, this is the real question that needs to be answered when devoting time and money to any marketing effort.