When it comes to social media, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all strategy. Rather, your social media strategy should be developed and executed with specific goals in mind. In other words, you need to think carefully about what you are trying to accomplish. Is the objective to promote your products? To offer a channel of communication and customer service to your customers? To increase your brand’s visibility? Here, we’ll break down four social media goals and why they are valuable to your business.
Goal #1: Drive Meaningful Engagement
Why it’s valuable: Your customers likely spend a lot of their time online. In fact, according to Business Insider, roughly 20 percent of total time online in the U.S. across both mobile and desktop platforms is spent on social media. Fourteen percent of that time is spent on Facebook alone. Therefore, if you want to drive meaningful interaction and engagement with your customers, social media is a great place to start the conversation. Research shows that customers are more likely to buy from a brand they have engaged with on social media, with more than half of customers reporting that they are more likely to make purchases from brands they follow on social media.
“Vendors who are willing to put customers’ interests first in the development of content are ruling the day,” Cheryl Snapp Conner explained in Inc, commenting on a recent study exploring how value-added content influences consumers’ purchasing choices. “Consumers were 131 percent more likely to buy from a brand after reading the educational content. When deciding among four brands, 83.6 percent were more willing to buy from the brand who had produced the material they had read. Additionally, they considered the brands who’d provided the content helpful (78 percent), trustworthy (64 percent), and reported positive feelings toward the companies who had generated the content. One week later, consumers were still 48 percent more willing to buy from the vendors who’d provided the content.”
How to do it: The key here is to ensure that you have conducted a comprehensive analysis of your target market and that you are posting content that resonates with them. If you’re trying to drive meaningful engagement, the goal shouldn’t always be about promoting your products and services. Instead, content should be focused on giving your customers something of value, whether it is informative, interesting, or entertaining. To gauge your progress toward meeting this goal, be sure to pay attention to platform engagement metrics, including likes, retweets, shares, comments, follows, etc.
Goal #2: Promote Your Products and Services to Increase Sales
Why it’s valuable: While value-added content is key, that isn’t to say that promotional content doesn’t have a place on social media. In fact, promoting your products and services can also lead to an increase in sales.
How to do it: This goal can be achieved through a variety of different means. First, you might want to use your posts to offer special promotions or discounts. Offering discounts on social media is an excellent way to promote your products and services and increase sales. Three out of five baby boomers report that they use social media to look for promotions. To effectively promote your products and services and drive sales, you may also want to consider paid advertising to get your ads in front of your target customers.
Goal #3: Provide a Platform for Customer Service
Why it’s valuable: Customers have high expectations for brand interactions on social media. Roughly one-third of all millennials report that social media is their preferred form of communication with brands. Plus, research suggests that if a customer reaches out to a brand, he or she fully expects a response. For example, 4 out of 5 customers who make a complaint to a brand on social media expect a response within 2 hours. Yet brands are failing to meet this expectation. A good chunk of messages sent to brands on social media never actually gets a response. On Twitter, for example, statistics suggest that half of customers don’t get a response when reaching out to a brand for help.
“There are about 310 million active Twitter users. These users send out more than 500 million tweets each day. Of those users, 67% have reached out to a brand to get help or service. That’s almost 208 million people who have complained or asked for help on Twitter,” Shep Hyken explained in Forbes. “53 percent of these people (customers) expect a response within 60 minutes. Here is what blows my mind: 58% of the customers reaching out to the brands they do business with don’t get a response.”
If you can use social media as a communication channel to improve customer service by consistently responding to customers’ messages, then you can set your brand apart from the pack. Moreover, the benefits to this aren’t just reputation; they are also commercial. Seventy-one percent of people report that they are more likely to buy a product from a brand after having a good experience with that brand on social media.
How to do it: If you don’t already have one in place, you need a social customer care program. The key here is to make sure you have a fully staffed social media team that is committed to responding to all messages on social media in a timely fashion. Of course, this is quite an investment, as it requires a sufficiently sized team and a good amount of time. However, with the right investment, it is possible to respond to all queries promptly. Department store Nordstrom actually clocks in with a Twitter response time of 17 seconds.
As part of your social customer care program, you will also want to consider creating a separate “brand handle” to offer customer service support on social media. “On Twitter, Nike’s brand handle is @Nike, but in addition, they have created another handle to manage customer service, which is @NikeSupport. Many brands do this to help separate support and complaint issues from general conversations between customers and the brand,” Hyken explained.
Goal #4: Increase Your Brand’s Visibility
Why it’s valuable: Customers are more likely to trust and make purchases from brands that they recognize. In order to be recognizable, however, your brand needs to be visible. Luckily, social media can go a long way in helping your brand boost its visibility and get your logo and your content out there for people to see.
How to do it: If you want to increase your brand’s visibility on social media, you should be focused on accruing more followers. Encourage followers to share your content and offer rewards to new followers. Make sure you are producing content that is inherently “shareable.” Remember, if a piece goes viral, it is an easy way to rack up hundreds – if not thousands – of new followers.
The bottom line? Before you embark on a social media strategy, you need to make sure you have clearly defined goals in place. A goal-oriented strategy will help you build your business more effectively by ensuring you leverage the power of social media in the areas where you need it the most. Contact the experts at 10twelve for assistance today!