Social media and Google are the new storefronts as content marketing has surpassed many traditional commercial marketing efforts, like window shopping, print advertising, or billboards. But how do you know your content marketing is effective?
Follow these steps to connect with your audience online and funnel social media actions into real-world value for your business.
Define Your Objectives and Measures of Success
Begin by identifying what you want to achieve through your social media marketing. Are you looking to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic, generate calls, sell a product or services online, increase foot traffic, or foster customer loyalty? Your goals will dictate your entire social media strategy.
Be specific, and make sure your goals are realistic and measurable. The more specific your objectives, the easier it is to measure success. Reframe goals such as “increase engagement on social media” to concrete actions such as “respond to every comment on Facebook within 24 hours to increase engagement”.
Know Your Audience
Understanding your target audience is paramount to creating effective content. If you’ve been running your business for some time, you likely already have a grasp on who your typical customers are. Go one step further and use the analytics tools on each social media platform to discover who your audience is truly comprised of. The information might surprise you! Here you can determine if your audience skews male or female, assign an approximate age to your ideal lead, and explore other valuable demographic data.
Know Your Brand
Establish the basics of your brand. You likely already have a brand name, logo, colors, and fonts. Go one step further and define how you want your brand to make people feel. Communicate online in a voice and style that evokes that feeling. Should they feel at peace? Excited? Hungry? With your visual brand and brand voice nailed down, you can begin to create content that is consistent with your organization, relevant to your viewers, and engage the right people at the right time to inspire meaningful action for your business.
Define Leads / Offer Lead Attractions
A crucial step in turning likes into leads is defining what kind of customer information you need to act on a lead, and designing processes to acquire that information. Common leads may include a contact form on your website or a call/message button on your social media. Use valuable information or incentives as magnets to attract customers to your lead forms and gather valuable information. Offering ebooks, webinars, discounts, and exclusive content in exchange for contact information can help convert onlookers to customers. Personalization is key—tailoring content and offers to specific audiences and for specific occasions increases relevance and engagement
Remember, It’s Not About You!
Not all content should be a pitch. Not every post need to have your logo in it. Organic content marketing, especially on social media, is about building relationships and engaging with people authentically. Content that constantly resembles an advertisement risks alienating your followers and being tuned out. Instead, use a balanced approach that incorporates a variety of content types, including informative, entertaining, and relatable pieces that focus on the consumer experience. People want to feel seen. By offering value beyond a sales message, brands can establish a genuine connection with their followers, fostering a sense of community and loyalty. This strategy not only diversifies the content calendar but also contributes to a more positive brand image and create a brand world where consumers want to spend time. The goal is for the brand to be invited into their world, not to constantly drag the customer back to the brand.
Define Success and Track Your Results
Leverage the insights provided by social media analytics tools. Establish which metrics are most important to you. Reach and engagement are a good baseline, but in lead generation, you may also wish to track click-through rates and conversions to your website. These tools are also useful to compare the performance of individual posts, make notes on what works, and prepare for future content. This data will help you identify what’s working and what needs improvement. Social media is cumulative. You don’t have to hit a bullseye our first time. Just keep your eye on the prize and stay consistent in your strategy until you have enough time and information to make a targeted change.
Implement Paid Advertising
Paid ads provide a targeted and efficient way to amplify your content’s reach beyond your existing audience and/or outside of the organic feed. By leveraging sophisticated targeting options, you can hone in on specific demographics, interests, and behaviors, ensuring that your content is delivered to the most relevant audience segments. Moreover, paid ads offer immediate visibility, allowing you to generate brand awareness and attract potential customers quickly. This rapid exposure is particularly beneficial for new products or services and time-sensitive promotions. Additionally, paid advertising provides measurable results through analytics and tracking tools, enabling you to assess the performance of your content and adjust strategies accordingly. By combining the organic reach of content marketing with the precision and immediacy of paid digital ads, you create a multilayered approach that maximizes impact, engagement, and ultimately, conversion rates.
Don’t let your social media properties become ghost towns! Engage actively with your audience by responding to comments, messages, and mentions, promptly. People will engage more if they feel they’re contributing to a community and not just shouting into the void. Follow the important players in your local community/industry niche, and be sure to engage with their content as well. By engaging your customers and your industry at large, you ensure the continued distribution and engagement of your content. Don’t forget–avoid being overly self promotional. Be the brand, and meet the customer where they are.
Utilize Analytics to Change Course Strategically
Regularly analyzing and optimizing strategies based on data insights allows for continuous improvement. Utilize the analytics tools built into each social media property to get started. Google Analytics is also a great tool for your website. This data will help you identify what’s working and what needs improvement. Social media is cumulative. You don’t have to hit a bullseye your first time, or every time. Just keep your eye on the prize and stay consistent in your strategy until you have enough time and information to make a targeted change. Don’t make changes willy-nilly, as you will risk becoming disoriented in your strategy and unable to tell what action caused each change in performance. Track the changes to your strategy in a content strategy document. This will provide you with analytics data and allow you to extrapolate learnings from there. Adjust course and give it more time before you compare the performance between the two sets.
As always, if you need guidance on getting started or advice on how to improve your content strategy, your friends at BluFish are here to help. Just drop us a line!