Stepping into the world of social media advertising and lead acquisition without an end goal is like heading out to sea without a destination. You might reach land eventually, but you could be waiting a long while.
Understanding goal setting and how it applies to your business is the first step to building a social media strategy that works.
What’s The Goal?
The first step to any successful social campaign is identifying your end goals. You might want to ask yourself what kind of challenges your brand is facing: is your customer loyalty low? Has your traffic dipped? Having a clear map before you set off greatly increases your chances of arriving somewhere profitable, and successful campaigns have clear goals in place from the start. Let’s take a look at some social media goals:
End Goal #1: Social Selling
There are various ways to make sales directly through social media, but in general it’s a good idea to avoid coming across too ‘sales-y’, as that can quickly turn your audience off.
Direct response (or ‘DR’) is the most straightforward and measurable form of advertising around: show something to a prospect, ask them to buy, get a ‘yes’.
Social selling is defined as the process of forging relationships through social channels, in order to sell more. Creating trust with your customers can be as similar to the type of trust they would have when asking their friends for recommendations.
One great real life example of social selling is Earthegy. Their relentless pitching might appear tiresome to people uninterested in gemstone jewellery, but through smart social selling founder Chrisy has built the page to over 115,000 fans with a reasonably high level of engagement.
There are three keys to social selling: research, authenticity and nurturing.
- Research is about understanding and profiling your ideal customer.
- Authenticity is about laser targeted messaging that resonates with the audience.
- Nurturing is about building friendships over time, much like as with a new friend.
Combining all three in your content and social media marketing can drastically increase your engagement, look less self-promotional, and build relationships that last past one sale into multiple sales.
Of course, the idea of being able to sell straight from Tweets and posts can seem appealing.
Afterall, social media can be mistaken for free advertising, leading some business owners to keep posting their new products over and over again. The danger comes when the business starts to believe that their audience’s goal is to buy more products: it’s not.
Any audience is always asking “‘what’s in it for me?” and the answer is not that they really want more product pitches in their social feeds.
The so-called “golden ratio” for social media marketing is 30/60/10. That means that 30% of the content you share should be created by you (to entertain and/or inform), 60% should be created by others relevant to your audience and shared by you, while just 10% should be purely self-promotional. While every business is different and we’d advise against religiously following a formula, the ratio can be a useful starting point for a business that is relatively new to social media marketing.
Bournemouth Pizza Co is a small startup pizza restaurant that used social selling very sensibly to build their following online when their restaurant first opened.
They used Facebook to publicise special offers for new “friends” of the restaurant that engaged with the audience’s interest in great new food, discounts (which everyone loves), and an level of inclusive exclusivity that makes the customer eager to “show off” to their friends/family/followers by sharing about their experience.
Fitness Supplement company Shredz built their entire brand from scratch on Instagram by combining the same principles.
They built a following on their Instagram account of over 1.6 million followers by mixing fitness pictures, recipes, workout gear and, of course, sales pitches for Shredz supplements. Some are overt, such as special offers and discounts exclusively for followers. Others are more subtle.
Before and after pictures from Shredz customers serve as motivation for the audience, but also tell a story that sells more product. Images of Shredz sponsored athletes working out in the gym with their Shredz supplements neatly stacked next to them reinforces the association between Shredz and living the lifestyle their target market aspires to – and it works: revenue went from $90,000 in the company’s first year to $5 million in year two.
End Goal #2: Loyalty and Retention
According to the Chartered Institute of Marketing, it can cost between five to eight times more to attract a new customer than it does to keep an existing one.
By getting existing customers to follow you on social and constantly drip-feeding useful and helpful content to them, you can stay at the front of their mind until the buying cycle repeats and they’re in the market for their next purchase.
The three main methods you can use to increase loyalty are:
- Share your customer’s positive feedback through Retweets and shares of pictures featuring your brand.
- Publically address public questions or concerns rather than trying to discuss them 1-on-1 with Direct Messaging. Put an issue to bed early with a public message to one or more concerned parties.
- Reinforce the benefits of the product or service with ‘in use’ action shots or videos.
Through skillful positioning and cultivated word of mouth, you can use your existing customer base to find some new targeted customers through social referrals.
Asking for Facebook or Google+ reviews not only builds the strength of your social ‘pitch’, but also exposes you to the friends and followers of the happy customer, who can now see this public recognition.
Every customer could be an extremely effective walking, talking, Tweeting/instagramming/snapchatting/facebooking advertisement for your business — but very few people will do this out of their own initiative, so nurturing the process is required:
- Every follower is valuable, even if their audience is only twenty-five followers. What’s important is how often their updates are Liked, Retweeted, and commented on. Nurture every engagement, no matter how small.
- Sharing isn’t an instinctive action. People need a reason to share something, usually due to self-interest. Provoke it with rewards; i.e, Tweets of thanks, etc
- Pick out the trendsetters. Bring them onboard and use their high visibility and influence to reach their audience.
End Goal #3: Awareness
One trap that many new marketers fall into is thinking of everybody using Facebook, Twitter or Instagram as a single audience.
If social media is a sea, they think of their marketing campaign as a very wide net. They lob it in and hope they’ll pick up the right sort of fish. The trouble is that wide nets are expensive and pick up a lot of crap.
Businesses casting a wide social media net are much better off when they find where the right fish hang out, throw in some targeted bait, and pick out loads of the right type of fish.
Thanks to audience targeting on every social network, finding the right fish for your business is usually pretty straightforward.
If your audience is sports fans for example, run ads targeting those that like a particular football club. If you need sports fans who drives new-ish Range Rovers, with a university education, living in Spain, you’re in luck.
Almost without exception every target audience is out there, it’s just a case of narrowing down your search, understanding the identifying traits of your perfect customer, and spinning that into an increased brand awareness.
Awareness is most often a goal for businesses that have a specific audience but who might not be ready to buy right now. New businesses usually need to raise awareness amongst their target audience, whether it’s to attract funding or kickstart sales. In this situation, having established competitors can give you a distinct advantage, as you can piggyback the audience they’ve already spent money building.
Launching a hotel? Let’s do some outreach to followers of existing hotels in your city. Promoting a furniture e-commerce store? Let’s find people that like established furniture stores selling a similar sort of product, or manufacturers of those products. The established players have already done the work of collecting an audience, and there’s nothing that stops you sneaking in and advertising to them.
If you don’t have established competitors, that’s usually good news too because it means your audience is being underserved. In the short term it means you’ll have to work a little harder to collect your target customers together in the first place, but once you have them they’ll be receptive.
What’s your first goal for today?
You can find more details on how to get the best out of your social media marketing via our new book Profitable Social Media Marketing: How To Grow Your Business