Have you ever felt frustrated with trying to work out what makes for successful social media marketing? Wondered why you can’t get the sales or marketing leads you need, or the engagement with your audience, however much time and effort you throw at it? Perhaps you struggle with proving the worth of all that time and effort spent on social media and actually be able to show ROI for the boss – or for yourself and your partners if it’s your business?
Maybe it’s a cinch to get people to like your social media output, but you can’t make them buy or donate? Or can’t work out how to get them OFF social media on to the website and into your database?
You’re not alone. And it’s not you. Well, not exactly.
Social media marketing is NOT easy
Never make the mistake of believing social media marketing is easy. It’s not. It’s the quintessential Dark Art, where Creativity and Intuition meet Science and Analysis. It requires knowledge and skill, timing and effort, attention to detail and precision, broad insights and the bigger picture, personableness and sociability, and a creative-meets-analytic mindset.
It’s a tough call.
However, as with everything, it all becomes much simpler when you know exactly what is required. Then you can see where you are getting it right and if any improvements need to be made. You can also see where you are either getting it wrong and need additional training, need to call in additional support or even International Rescue if it’s all going Pete Tong!
Having specialised in social media marketing for more years than most people have actually been ON social media, we know a lot about what skills are needed for success, why social media for business fails, and ultimately what makes social media marketing WORK.
Ten skills needed for successful social media marketing
Want the insider fast track on how to make social media marketing actually work? Here’s the skinny:
1. Knowledge – Knowing what is happening is essential, and using that to understand WHY is the key. So, do you know if people even SEE your posts or tweets (and the answer to that if you are sharing on Facebook is almost certainly NO – and it’s not that they don’t like you) or how to position your output so the people you want to reach actually see it? Do you know why they are connecting with you and what they want from you? Do you know if they like your output and are passionate about you or your brand, or are they ignoring and muting you because you’re annoying them?
2. Data – Stats are there to be used to inform your strategy and help you make a plan that works, so if you have been just glancing at them, it’s time to get down and dirty. Do you know when the people most likely to want to come to your event are on which particular network and at what particular time, for example? Or which network suits what you are selling? What people are even looking for or talking about?
3. Graft – ‘One tweet an empire will not build’ and you do need a substantial presence on social media and be visible on your networks all the time if you are to gain any leverage. Having said that no one (not even us) can be expected to sit updating social media all day, so commit to getting your skills up to date. Make sure you understand best practice, find the shortcuts, the right tools and best techniques and apply. Else you’ll end up like a rabid hamster on a wheel and ultimately end up achieving very little for all that effort.
4. Soft Skills – Are you personable and sociable, or dislike interacting with people? Have you lovely manners and automatically say thank you and are generous with your retweets and shares and likes, or are you a grumpy scrooge? Do you like networking and find building relationships easy? Instinctively know how to defuse an irate client who is venting all over your feed? Know what to say to persuade someone to enter into a conversation, or even sign up for more?
5. Attention to detail – Mistakes on social media are common, but keep on sharing rubbish links or content or pushing out dodgy misspelt posts, and watch people start to ignore you or mute you. Actually you won’t know they have, you’ll just notice less engagement. You also need good attention to detail and an analytical mind to enjoy looking at the stats on a weekly and monthly basis (we look at ours daily, but then we happily accept the title of ‘Geeks’!) and understanding how they translate into your strategy and inform the bigger picture.
6. Consistency – Your audience expects a brand or business to be like a person. It has to be consistent wherever it is encountered and to ‘feel’ the same at every touchpoint. It’s perhaps not surprising just how many companies don’t, mostly because of a lack of brand guidelines, attention to detail and a digital strategy. People also know, but mostly don’t remember, that most businesses have more than one person doing the output, or that many business these days are very lean and therefore the output might be patchy at busy times – what they see is inconsistencies and irritating gaps.
So take steps to ensure your brand is consistent and you have scheduled checks and tests on a regular basis. You need to work with what is feasible for your company, but as a guideline we suggest daily for tone and output, weekly to check stats and analyse them in the bigger context, monthly for web links, 505s and SEO, a 6-month cleanse and update on all social networks and brand elements (amazing how quickly inconsistencies creep in), annual pan media review, replace the website every 2-3 years, refresh brand every 5 years.
On a day-to-day basis, make sure everyone involved knows the brand guidelines inside out and that there is somewhere everyone shares, right down to HR and the receptionist. After all, if someone is likely to ring reception after venting on Twitter, the receptionist needs to KNOW.
7. Sales Skills – So how persuasive are you? How persistent? Do you know how to write a CTA in less than 140 characters and position it under the right person’s nose when they are actually looking for that very thing? Do you know where they are in the sales cycle and what they are looking for? Have you the social sales funnel in place to persuade them down to your website, into your database or to press ‘buy’?
8. Strategy – Can you tap into the Zeitgeist? See trends before they hit the mainstream? Understand the bigger picture and what will help get people to focus in what you are saying? Do you know what CTA works for your audience and what turns them off? How that translates on other platforms? How to weave it into a larger campaign and keep the momentum going? Stand out from the crowd? Do you love analytics and use them consistently?
9. Creativity – Can you think outside the box and see how to engage people’s attention when frankly they have less time than it’s possible to imagine and no intention on spending any of it on you or your product? Can you entertain them? Keep them coming back for more… liking it, pinning it, favouriting it, hearting it and sharing it?
10. A helping hand – If you ‘hardly look at Twitter’ as one editor of a well-known supermarket magazine once said in defence of his slowness (16 hours) in answering an irate food blogger’s justified complaint on Twitter, do you have people who will do it for you? Who monitors what is being said about you or your brand and can alert you and defuse it? Or if that’s you, have you got a strategy and a crisis plan in place just in case?
How to make social media work for business
Like I said, social media marketing is no walk in the park.
It’s something that requires more skills than the average person can realistically be expected to have – although we can help with that as we provide training for all levels of skills – so is often best approached as a team effort, rather than just being ‘given’ to one person as their responsibility. This is the point where the concept of the Social Business comes in ie where every employee ‘does’ social media as part of their job function and it’s all interconnected.
However, most companies are not ready for that larger step, and therefore it is likely that social media in your organisation is still quite siloed. So if you have the responsible for the social media marketing for your business or brand and any of the elements above are leaving you feeling a little naked, socially, and you are concerned that you are suffering from a Digital Skills Gap then there are things we can do to make it easier for you and help you make it WORK.
We can give you a helping hand, from a social media/digital/SEO assessment of your brand, a social media/digital policy, and a strategy to help you achieve your goals. We can also offer you ongoing monthly direction, advice and analytics, or actually become your outsourced resource on a daily weekly basis.
We can conceive and execute creative campaigns and give you the analytics to understand what is working and why, as well as what isn’t working, and why. We can do it all for you, some of it, or just offer direction and monthly analysis. We also provide training courses and knowledge to meet all your own and your company’s social media marketing needs, whether you want to polish your skills, understand a new network or delve deeply in with a bespoke Masterclass.
So if any of that ticks your boxes and you want to find out how we can help you make social media work for your business or brand, just get in touch on 0203 664 7973 or send us an email.