by Jay Bemis | Advertising Systems Inc.
Now that your organizers and calendars are out as you’re planning a new year, it’s time to think about your social media strategy for 2018. Once you’ve decided what worked last year and what might need to be tossed out the window, it’s time to add some new twists to your strategy that will make your sales funnel spin out of control.
With that in mind, we offer you these five social media tips and trends to consider for a new year that could be filled with better engagement with your customers—and happier sales, of course.
1) Review Your Site’s Content: It’s Still the King
Your website content should drive your social media posts, so make sure it continues to inform, inspire and entertain your audience—your brand, after all, is why someone has come to your website in the first place. You should know what is relevant to your customers’ lives and give them the information that they want.
Are you a real estate company, for example? Studies have shown that online real estate listings that include videos receive 400 percent more inquiries than those that don’t—stand out from all of those other real estate agents in town by posting a listing video that features different parts of a showcase home that’s up for grabs.
These three key areas are essential to your social-media content review:
—Your engagement percentage. How many comments have your Facebook posts generated, and how many followers do you have overall? Divide the latter by the former, and that will be your engagement percentage. Comments from followers mean you’re successfully engaging your audience.
—Your share percentage. Are your posts getting any shares? If a blog post on your site generates 100 shares on Facebook and you have 500 followers there, your share percentage would be 20 percent. That would be one worthy rate, and it means that your audience likes what it sees in your content and wants its friends and colleagues to know about it, too.
—Your conversion percentage: How many sales leads have your posts drawn, and what’s the percentage of those leads when compared to your number of followers? If your Twitter post generates 10 sales leads and you have 1,000 followers, your conversion percentage is 1 percent.
Conversion, engagement and share percentages all are good ammunition when you go to the boss and tell her we should increase our social media budget next year.
This also might be a good time to tell her that it’s time we add a blogger to the staff, as well, to help us keep our content fresh, updated and consistent with the company’s branding strategy.
2) Remember: That Conversion Rate Is Your Chief Goal
Your great content should lead your company to great conversion rates.
What is a good conversion rate? While it can vary among businesses, a successful conversion rate for a social media advertising campaign generally ranges anywhere between 2 and 5 percent. Thus, if your ad is targeted at 1,000 people and 20 to 50 of them perform the desired action you want them to take, which is clicking on the ad or “buy now” button, you’ve attained a successful conversion rate.
Ask yourself such questions as: Are your YouTube videos generating sales inquiries? Are our Twitter posts driving traffic to our website? Is our Facebook page generating meeting requests?
Take advantage of the analytical tools that accompany about any social media platform and study the conversion rates.
You say you haven’t even delved into analytics yet? Well then, Google Analytics is a good place to start, but if you feature Facebook and Twitter accounts, you’ll want to study their analytics tools, too.
3) If Content Is King, Then Video Is the Queen of the Court
We’ve already told you that real estate listings with videos are four times more likely to be viewed than other listings.
Also, be aware that 64 percent of social-media users are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it, and 90 percent of them say such product videos have been a factor in their decision-making.
Video done well can take what is a complex subject, say the production of a regional craft beer, and make it simple to a prospective customer in an engaging way.
Twitter’s Periscope and Facebook Live have made it easier to deliver videos that convey important messages about your brand to audiences who want their information quickly and with as minimal effort as possible. Social marketers have proven that videos lead to higher conversion rates and greater brand awareness, more than any other medium.
What sorts of videos could your small business create? Your first crack could be a simple video about your brand and what your company does; a good one to add shortly thereafter would be a testimonial video from a happy customer, who just might be the mayor or some other local personality.
In lieu of video, you could also try LinkedIn’s SlideShare, a newer slide-show tool. With that tool, used via PowerPoint or Google Slides, you can repurpose an existing blog post into a video-like infographic.
SlideShare actually has been around for a couple of years but has been steadily catching favor more recently—it has been called “The Quiet Giant of Content Marketing.” Users now upload 400,000 new presentations to SlideShare each month
4) Is It Time to Try More Paid Ads?
Perhaps your organic traffic drives customers to your website and product at a satisfying pace, but the numbers have become stagnant in recent years. Facebook studies have shown that its Pages platform reaches about 16 percent of your fans, organically, on average. To make sure many more potential customers see your posts, you could sponsor ads and expand that reach considerably.
Like other online ads, such as Google’s AdWords, Facebook ads run on the concept of pay-per-click/pay-per-impression. But Facebook also comes chock full of personal information in its database, and you can dig deep for your ad targeting. Whatever users might put into their Facebook profiles— age, sex, location, education, job title and the like—can be used to filter your sponsored ads.
And Facebook ads can be cheaper than you think, with some people getting results on budgets of $5 to $50 per day.
Twitter ads, like Facebook, can be purchased fairly inexpensively, and LinkedIn has gained popularity in both its user and advertising platforms. Forty percent of LinkedIn users visit the site daily, thanks to a better mobile app, a polished desktop version, better spam management and the SlideShare tool.
5) Becoming More Visible Within Your Community
We talked recently in this space about how you can use prize giveaways on your website and social media channels to increase traffic and customers, and how you can work with others in the community in those campaigns.
But there certainly are a number of other ways you can make an impact in your community and become visible as a social media channel, without focusing solely on increased leads and sales.
Late last year, for example, a New York-based writer dispatched a novel idea to her social media followers: Contact local schools to see if any of their students had unpaid cafeteria balances, then donate money to whittle down those debts. The chief pitch was that donations of just $10 or $20 would pay off more than a few $2 to $3 lunches.
The writer’s idea since has spawned similar charity initiatives nationwide, with people donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to local schools so that kids don’t go without hot lunches.
Another example: In these days of dwindling newspapers, many people check their social media accounts for local news, if they can find any there. As a social-media outlet, your accounts can function as a town bulletin board of sorts.
Whether it’s announcements of community meetings or letting the neighborhood know that a new breakfast diner has opened just down the street, your social media outlets can grow to become respected beacons where you live.
And the number of people following you can reach even more respectful numbers, too.