“Doing social media for business is easy – it’s just sitting around on Facebook all day!”
… said nobody who’s ever worked on social marketing for business.
But we aren’t here to gripe about people’s misconceptions about social. Those who realise the effort that goes into it are often curious about how agencies like ourselves create social success for businesses of all types.
A cursory Google search can tell you the technical lowdown on how to use tools like Hootsuite, or how Twitter’s algorithms have changed in the past 6 months. But we feel that it’s the more intangible things that go into true social success.
We’ve boiled these down into 3 crucial factors that any company embarking on a social media journey needs to embrace – whether they’re tackling social in-house or they’re employing an agency.
So what are the keys to social media success? Let’s take a look at these three essential elements to growing a meaningful social following.
Time (and Patience) is Money
Running social accounts for business takes time and patience. The online landscape is incredibly busy nowadays and there are no overnight sensations anymore – except for the wrong reasons! It can take months – even years – to gain an engaged following of a decent size, much like filling a bucket one drip at a time. Those who are unfamiliar with social media may be puzzled by this “long-game” – perhaps because everything seems to happen so quickly online. If they’ve asked in-house staff or an SM agency to grow their social following, they’re sometimes left scratching their head when they don’t receive tons of immediate business through the door.
Sadly, social isn’t going to bring you loads of new clients straight out of the gate. Building a social presence from scratch is hard work. No social account is created with thousands of engaged followers immediately, just like your business didn’t magically materialise clients once your business cards were printed!
If you need instant uptake and don’t have much of a social following, taking the organic social route may not be the best option for your campaign; however you may see some results through paid social ads (but that’s another topic for another day).
You need to be patient with social media and trust that rewards will come later, provided you’re doing a good job of giving your followers useful information. The payoff will generally come later, after a great deal of perseverance…
Keep Calm and Post On
Growing your social following also requires perseverance and consistency. An ongoing and regular investment of time is required to “show up” on social media every day, which can be tiring even if you use scheduling tools to lighten the load. You also need to respond to comments, likes, and shares, because why would someone want to engage with you if you don’t engage back? Sharing content that’s relevant to your audience is imperative – whether that’s created by you or curated from elsewhere.
One mistake we see companies making time and time again is putting time and effort into creating a piece of content like a blog post, only to share it on a single social platform one time and never mention it again. Here’s the harsh truth: there’s so much content online nowadays that your lovingly crafted blog post is just a drop in the ocean. You should continue to post older content periodically on different platforms as long as it’s still relevant and useful. There’s always going to be someone out there who didn’t see your previous posts – especially if your following is growing!
You need to be consistent with social to see results. Organic social media marketing is a slow burner, and you get out what you put in – eventually.
Analysin’ and Strategisin’
In order to make the right moves on social, you also need to analyse your performance. How are you going to know what kinds of content resounds with your audience if you don’t record and analyse the successes and failures of previous posts? Here are some crucial metrics to start you off, but they’re far from all that needs recording:
● What engagement are your posts getting each month (the amount of likes, shares, comments)?
● How much are your social follows growing month on month?
● How many impressions do your posts achieve per month (i.e., how many times has a post of yours shown up in someone’s feed)?
Delving into the data gives you a good idea of the posts that your followers like and respond to, and indeed what attracts new followers. The analytical side of social should also touch on a bit of market research. Who are your target audience? Which platforms are your target audience using? What kinds of content do they consume on each platform? This information will help you define what success means to you, and give you a strong foundation to build a meaningful strategy and set realistic goals.
As with most things, setting goals is an important part of encouraging growth and development. But goals like “more followers” or “more engagement” are far too vague. Create your goals around the SMART marketing criteria: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. This leaves us with something more concrete to aim for, like “15% increase in Twitter followers between January and June”.
Never fall into the trap of just doing what your direct competitors do. Just because a competitor is doing something on social that resounds specifically with their audience, that doesn’t mean that your followers are going to have the same reaction. You need to use both data and imagination to craft a social voice that’s totally your own. Don’t be afraid to try new things out and see how they perform, and indeed how they fare in terms of workload and suitability for your team.
There you have it – the keys to social media success!
Handling social media matters for your business initially might sound easy, but in order to do it properly, you need to work hard and spend time on it. You need patience and perseverance to make something of your social accounts, and an analytical mind to identify what’s working and what isn’t.
It’s true that a great social strategy can be instrumental in bringing in new business, whether you’re a B2B or B2C, but you need to approach it with the right attitude and keep sticking it out even when things seem slow.
If you’re a small business, then social media can be a truly worthwhile way to grow brand awareness. However it sometimes feels like a bit of a time-sink. When you need all hands to the pump, staying on top of social can take valuable manpower away from essential tasks. If this sounds familiar, the friendly team here at OMG can save you time and effort by taking social media matters off your hands. Chat to our friendly team of experts today on 01902 324411 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.