Social media is really important nowadays and it's crucially important for your business in today's society. But beginning on your social media journey as a business can be daunting and often confusing, there are so many platforms with so many options. It can be difficult to know where to start.
So, when thinking about building a social media strategy or creating a campaign, it’s best to start at the beginning and that means thinking about what your objective is. Most businesses will agree that they want to increase awareness of their brand and thus increase sales - and yes, that is pretty much the end game for everyone isn’t it? But it’s not quite as simple as that.
Start-ups and those businesses that have neglected their social channels or simply haven’t known how to get started will mostly likely need to begin with the objective of Brand Awareness. They will want to build up a loyal and engaged following.
Increasing your brand awareness means getting your business name and product/service in front of as many people as possible, in an ‘on brand’, consistent manner across the most relevant social channels. Once this has started, your business can then concentrate on showing the audience what you offer and why they might want to buy from you as opposed to your competitors.
Key metrics that will be measured during a brand awareness campaign or over the course of a strategy are things like follower numbers, reach and post engagement (so likes, comments and shares). These should all increase if you have a well thought out social media plan.
Businesses that have already got the word out successfully will be able to move onto the next objective of Building an Engaged Community.
This means interacting with your target customers and engaging them. They will be interested in what you are posting and will want to like and comment on your content. They may share your content with their followers. You will be having online conversations with them, answering questions, providing information and generally building trust and a good relationship.
Engaged customers are customers that are listening to you and interested in what you are saying, and ultimately, are ready to buy from you. Perfect!
Key metrics to measure would include the average engagement rate, engagement interactions and increases in follower numbers.
Driving Website Traffic is the third main objective that pretty much all businesses want. But it doesn’t usually happen without successfully achieving the preceding two stages mentioned above. Customers need encouragement and a reason to visit a business’s website; if they are fully engaged then they are likely to go ahead and visit the site where hopefully there will be a conversion.
Key metrics to measure in this case would be an increase in click throughs, increases in social shares (shares, RT’s etc.) and social media referral traffic. However, not all businesses work the same and this might not be possible.
So another objective that your business might find itself working towards is Email Sign-ups.
In the same way that a business’s target customers need to be aware of the brand and engaging with it’s content efforts before they potentially convert, so a business driving email sign-ups will need to have done the ground work with brand awareness and building engagement before they can expect people to start signing up to their products or services.
Being able to collect emails is valuable and presents another opportunity to be a step closer to a sale. However, a customer is not going to just sign up without knowing who you are, what you stand for and reasons for buying your product or service over your competitors.
The customer will also need to be incentivised to hand over their email address so you need to be in the right point in your journey to make this your objective and be really successful.
So as you can see, choosing the right objective to base your strategy or campaign on, is really important. It affects a number of elements in your planning, and essentially the outcome.
A professional social media manager will have the knowledge and experience to know which objective and goals your business should be setting and how to best achieve them.