Business and Operations
Seven steps to leverage social media marketing
By Natalie Henley
By Natalie Henley
Oct. 23, 2013 – Getting on social media is just the beginning. Find out how to use online marketing to drive real results.
Oct. 23, 2013 – Investing in marketing campaigns can be a nerve-wracking
decision for many small and medium sized businesses. CEOs and Marketing
Directors know that when you have limited resources, you must be
strategic with your budget, and every marketing investment has to pay
off. This is why social media campaigns tend to be the first thing cut.
Although free to setup, they take valuable staff resources to manage,
and the ROI is not as apparent. While launching a social media campaign
likely won’t bring leads and sales pouring in your door tomorrow, when
you implement a few social media success strategies, you’ll find it much
easier to drive a positive ROI with social that benefits your
organization for years to come.
Reframe your outlook
Many businesses fail at social media because they think it means
Facebook or Twitter. Social media is actually much more than that.
Rather than putting labels on social media, think of it as a concept.
Social media is actually about engaging with your audience in a broader
Traditional media has always been one directional—you place an ad, the
customer calls, and you have an offline private conversation. Social
media is the first time where businesses can interact with their
community in a public online forum. That openness and transparency is
scary to many business owners, but it’s exactly what customers crave.
As you delve into social media, begin with the platforms that can make
the biggest difference for you. Usually, this means starting with the
three main platforms that can drive results and interaction: Facebook,
LinkedIn, and YouTube. Depending on your business model, there may be
others; however, if you are just getting started, this is a great set to
· Facebook: Facebook has a high adoption rate and people of all
ages spend time on this social media platform, thus giving you great
· LinkedIn: While LinkedIn is not consumer-focused like Facebook,
it can help with B2B sales, vendor connections, recruiting, and other
· YouTube: Although a bigger investment than the others, consumers
resonate with different types of content, and YouTube videos tend to pay
off in the long term.
Don’t be boring
Guess what … your brand, services, mission statement and corporate
values are boring. Although they may represent you as a company, they
don’t represent the human element and personality of your team. Social
media is about not only building a community, but also engaging your
customers. Doing that requires that you show some serious personality.
For example, if you’re located in a city that has an NFL football team,
you can support the local team as part of your company’s personality. If
you’re a family-oriented company, you can post updates about your “Take
Your Kids to Work Day” and include photos of the event. In essence,
it’s about strategically deciding what your company’s culture or persona
will be and then posting interesting content that relates to that. This
means getting outside your comfort zone and talking about things that
interest you as a company, not about your industry, products, and
As you delve into social media, don’t rush out and hire a full-time
person to manage it. Instead, start by looking around your company and
finding someone (or a team of people) interested in the additional
Chances are you have someone personally involved in
social media who would love to have this as part of their job
description. As your social media presence grows and becomes successful,
you can see the business case for growing the department.
Look beyond the “likes”
Judging a social media campaign solely by the size of your Facebook
likes is a bit backwards. Although “likes” can be a good indicator of
success, a new Facebook like won’t feed your sales team’s families. In
order to measure a successful social campaign, here are a few of the
major metrics that social media can influence, and that you can measure:
A. Reach, Likes and Shares – This soft metrics of social lets you know you are keeping your audience engaged.
B. Social Referral Traffic and Goal Completions (Measured
through Google Analytics) – You can figure out who is coming from social
media and either buying something or filling in a lead form on your
C. Social Media Leads – Yes, you can drive business leads from prospects straight on social media.
D. Increased Search Engine Rankings & New Inbound links –
Having a presence on social media can have a huge effect on any other
organic or SEO programs you are running. Social media can be a key
component of driving search engine traffic to your website.
E. Increases in Branded Traffic (Measured by Google Analytics)
– If you are keeping your audience engaged and getting prospects
“warmed up” on social, you should see an increase of consumers searching
for your brand in search engines.
Measure your results based on goals
Now that you know that results are more than just “likes,” decide how
you are going to measure results before you start any social media
activity, as well as the specific metrics you’ll use to determine
success. Social media is just like any other marketing initiative, which
means you have to answer some key questions, such as “Why are we doing
this?” and “What are we hoping to get from it?”
Each business will have its own definition of social media success. For
one business, a metric like sales or leads is vital. Other businesses
focus more on market share. Decide before you start what’s important to
you. For a free measurement tool, use Google Analytics. For standardized
reports, consider using an out-of-the box report suite, such as Sprout
Social or Raven Tools.
Commit to it
Too often, a small- or medium-sized business sets up a Facebook page,
goes gung-ho with it for a few weeks, and then gets busy and forgets
about it. That sends a negative message about the business. To avoid
this scenario, start small with activity you can handle and stick with
it. Post something daily, or at the very least weekly so your company
can stay relevant.
Additionally, make sure what you’re doing looks professional by getting
custom banners to match your website. If you are pinching pennies and
don’t have a designer in-house for custom designs, you can get something
that looks reasonable on sites like Fiverr, or something that looks
very professional on sites like 99 Designs. Both are better than just
Social media can be one of the best investments your company makes. The
key is to be smart about it and to treat it like any other business
So if you’ve attempted social media in the past but let it go
by the wayside, or if you haven’t embarked on this journey yet, now is
the time to take the plunge and get on the social media platforms. By
following these strategies, you’ll find social media to be a rewarding,
enjoyable and profitable endeavor.
Natalie Henley is the Vice President of Client Services at Volume 9 Inc.
Volume 9 creates custom search marketing campaigns for clients,
including a mix of SEO, paid search management, social media, local
search marketing and website development for more than 100 clients and
200 managed websites. Natalie and Volume 9’s enterprising team leverage
search marketing into real bottom line results for their clients’
businesses. They were recently honored by both the Inc. 5,000 and the
Denver Business Journal as one of the fastest growing companies in
Denver and in the U.S. For more information, please visit www.volume9inc.com.