Social media marketing isn’t about creating the most viral video or snapping beautiful Instagrammable photos. Instead, it is a systematic digital marketing strategy which uses the right social media content on the right channels to improve reach, engagement, sales and loyalty.
But how do you decide which content you should create, and which channels you should choose? What are the social media metrics you should use to measure success? To guide you along, I have developed a 4-step social media marketing process involving the 5 different types of social media content.
Establish Right Social Media Marketing Goals
First and foremost, you need to establish the right goals and objectives. The best forms of goals are SMART, ie Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound. Fortunately, almost everything which your target audience does online can be tracked, attributed and measured. Typically your social media marketing goals would come in the following broad categories:
- Awareness: Raise overall awareness of your brand and products;
- Consideration (Engagement): Stimulate interest and desire in what you have to offer;
- Conversion: Encourage membership sign ups and fuel purchase;
- Loyalty: Extend customer value by encouraging repeat purchases and loyalty; and
- Advocacy: Trigger social sharing and Word Of Mouth (WOM).
Depending on your unique company needs, you may choose 1 or 2 marketing goals to focus on. Now spend a minute or two to think about your most important goals.
Define the Right Objectives, KPIs, Content, and Channels
The next stage involves defining what I call the four rights:
- Choose the right objectives.
- Match with the right measures.
- Create the right content.
- Share on the right channels.
Raise Brand Awareness. Awareness is the most common reason for brands to venture into social media. Your goal here is to reach the most number of people and deliver enough impressions (i.e. number of times your ad or content appears) to your target audience. From a social media perspective, social media posts boosted by ads could be a good way to reach your audience. You may also wish to look at using videos rich in storytelling to build brand awareness, perception and top-of-mind-recall. These considerations and their respective measurements are summarised by the table below:
Elicit Consideration. The next stage involves eliciting a response from your fans or followers. Engagement or interaction tracks how good your content is in eliciting a response from your fans or followers. Typically, engagement is measured in terms of the growth of fans or followers, duration in which a fan views your videos, number of likes per post, as well as number of comments per post. The more engaged they are, the higher your average number of likes, comments and views per post relative to competitors.
Trigger Conversion. Conversion is where the rubber meets the road or the cash meets the cash register. If you don’t convert, you don’t generate a sale, and if you don’t generate a sale, you don’t eat. In most cases, conversions normally do not take place on social media channels; there are exceptions of course. There are usually two stages of conversion in any digital marketing initiative:
- Lead Generation: Getting your fan or visitor to sign up for an e-newsletter, download an eBook, or attend an event. This usually includes capturing their names, email addresses, phone numbers, and other customer data.
- Sales: This can either be done directly through a compelling offer often with a promotion included, or a process of lead nurturing via a series of emails.
Build Loyalty. This is where the “social” element of social media marketing comes in. If you’re effective in building a loyal online community, or in creating content that adds value, you’ll have a higher chance of growing your community, improving your customer retention, and generating repeat customers. Over time, this will improve your customer LifeTime Value (LTV) and reduce your acquisition costs per customer.
Encourage Advocacy. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are the kingpins of virality. To trigger social sharing, it is important to publish content that is contagious, and to consider working with influencers either paid or with in-kind benefits. Perhaps the best way to get your customers and fans to share your content is to provide them with remarkable products and customer experiences.
Map To Your Marketing Funnel
A digital marketing funnel or digital funnel captures the different points of entry of your target audience to your social media channel, website, or other online channels. Mapping our earlier social media marketing objectives to the digital marketing funnel, we would see that there is a gradual intensification of customer relationships from mere visitors to customers and advocates as shown below.
Your goal is to “graduate” your online visitors to move progressively downwards towards a profitable action like an online purchase or signing up for a programme. This process is called inbound marketing, bringing visitors into your funnel via content and lead nurturing, improving the likelihood of conversion. On the left side, I have mapped the different social media objectives to the funnel, together with the types of content and channels that match them. Let us look closer at the two rightmost components.
Top Of FUnnel (TOFU) Customers and Metrics. In digital marketing parlance, the position of your customer on the funnel can be identified as Top Of FUnnel (TOFU), Middle Of FUnnel (MOFU), and Bottom Of FUnnel (BOFU). At the TOFU level, your chief goal is to raise awareness and draw them in with attractive content and ads. The potential customers you are reaching to are either folks who viewed your ads, or social media fans. There are three key metrics for you to consider:
- Awareness and reach. Social media reach, ad impressions – usually measured in thousands of views, and keyword searches.
- Engagement. Number of comments and shares, retweets and duration of stay.
- Visitorship and views. These would normally be on your social media channels.
Normally, the numbers who “bounce” off your website (i.e. leave after viewing only one page) is an indication of how “sticky” your content is. The lower the bounce rate, the higher your chances of converting your visitors to become readers.
Middle Of FUnnel (MOFU) Customers and Metrics. If we go one step lower, we will be at the MOFU level of the funnel. The folks here are more invested in your brand, although they still need convincing before they will open their wallets or take out their credit cards. Here, the key metrics used could be defined as:
- Web visitors. These could be easily tracked on Google Analytics, and may either be new or repeats.
- Content readers. Web visitors who spend a longer time on your website can be easily tracked with Google Analytics or other analytics software.
- Leads. Those who choose to opt-in via a form.
Bottom Of FUnnel (BOFU) Customers and Metrics. At the BOFU level of the funnel, you are really looking at conversion stage customers for social media. We can classify them as such:
- Prospects. Folks who not only subscribed to your email newsletters, but clicked through on an offer.
- Customers. Leads or prospects who actually responded to your offer by completing the purchase process.
- Repeat Customers. Customers who make two or more purchases of your product or service.
- Advocates. Customers and sometimes non-customers but fans who helped to spread your content on their own social networks.
Track and Measure Content Performance
After you’ve got your objectives, content types, and customer classification in place, your next step involves measuring your performance with a variety of free and paid social media and digital analytics tools. They include:
- Google Analytics, which is probably the most powerful analytics tool you can get out there. Almost everything can be tracked here. And it’s free!
- Social Media Insights that are usually present on the social media channels themselves. They include Facebook insights, Twitter insights, Instagram insights, YouTube Analytics, LinkedIn insights and many more.
- Lead Page creation tools like Leadpages, Unbounce, Instapage and Click Funnels
- Marketing automation tools like MailChimp, HubSpot, Marketo and Infusionsoft. These can track each customer through the funnel based on their interactions with your content.
- Hashtag and social listening tools like Socialbakers, Keyhole, and Google Alerts.
Here is an example of the possible numbers that you could track down the entire marketing funnel for customers.
By measuring the numbers at each stage of your customer journey, you can diagnose and determine where your performance gaps are, and apply the necessary tactics to improve them. For example, if you enjoy a high number of social shares for your content but the actual number of sales (conversions) are very low, you may wish to review the content on your landing page as well as your sales offer to improve conversions.
Social media marketing is more than just a Facebook or Instagram campaign. To succeed in this space, you’ll need to put in place a coherent step-by-step marketing system matching your objectives, measurements, content pieces and channels. Only by doing so, can you achieve your desired outcome.
How has your experience with social media marketing content been like? Do you have a way of tracking and monitoring success?