Fifty-two percent of companies say social media increases their revenue and sales, according to a new survey from Clutch and Smart Insights. As the social media industry continues to grow, it is essential for businesses to utilize a strategy to reach customers.
It can be difficult, however, to clearly design, execute, and evaluate your social media strategy. Do your customers know you’re using social media? Do they interact with the brand, or do they scroll right over your posts? How can you measure success and ROI?
Social media insights
In the past, companies considered social media an afterthought. Today, however, as the relevance of social media continues to grow, companies need a finely tuned strategy to stand out in the crowd and to be competitive on social media.
One social platform doesn’t fit all
One post does not fit all when it comes to social media. For example, you can’t use the same 140 characters you use on Twitter for Facebook or LinkedIn. Not only does each audience respond to a different type of message, but they use platforms for specific purposes.
“I think each site has its own story, and it’s hard to peg those other sites all into specific groups,” said Steve Pearson, CEO of social media marketing agency Friendemic. “It’s a mistake to think of all the social networks as the same. They each have their own core users, their own reason for existence.”
Social media meets AI
Social media and artificial intelligence (AI) are extremely hot topics right now–even more so when you combine them. We’ve seen how store apps can help consumers compare prices and products side-by-side, alert customers to product placement in-store, and view furniture and paint colors virtually in their homes.
This is an exciting time, as social media tased incorporated this same concept of customized and personalized target messages. For example, LinkedIn is refining its algorithm to offer a better job-candidate match to compete in the job placement industry. Meanwhile, Facebook engages its facial recognition tool to help identify people in photos to tag friends.
“I see social media and AI becoming hand-in-hand, which they’re moving toward right now,” said Clay Darrohn, founder of digital marketing agency fishbat. “AI and social planning and actual execution should be taken seriously by companies that are currently doing social media. AI is probably going to grow within the next three years to a $20B industry.”
Measuring social media success
Maintaining a successful social media strategy is an investment of both time and money. It’s not as simple as posting on a whim or sharing a picture or curated content; you have to engage your audience, create a conversation, and build loyalty.
“Engagement is rated highly as a metric to track since it’s a challenge to achieve ongoing engagement in social media with the competition from other brands,” said Smart Insights CEO Dave Chaffey. “Conversion rates are rated highly since businesses want to see return on their social media investment by visits to the site converting to leads and sales.”
Social media is the new normal
Social media is no longer a pastime or hobby; it’s a full-blown obsession, consumer addiction and burgeoning industry. As this asset continues to weave itself into our daily routines, the importance of nurturing customer relationships via social media will no longer be an option but the norm.
“What people tend to be outsourcing more and more is strategic advice and paid media and data capabilities,” said Josh Krakauer, founder and CEO of social media marketing agency Sculpt. “As these platforms mature, in-house teams are pressured to achieve more with less and to stay on top of everything that’s happening. And that’s where specialized and focused agencies can provide a lot of value. I would say all together, every platform has invested significantly in making more sophisticated ad buying and optimization tools, and it’s now a full-time job to maintain an understanding of what new features and capabilities exist to target and measure the results of your campaign.”
Social media is here to stay, and it’s a valuable tool if you know how to integrate it into your overall marketing and branding strategy. If done right, it’s an effective way to communicate with customers and create a constant presence in the lives of your audience.
This article has been edited.