Have you ever noticed just how much social media has changed in the past 5 years? According to the Pew Research Center (PRC) just seven percent of American adults used social media back in 2005. As of 2015 the PRC confirmed that number grew to 65 percent, which is an 829 percent increase. This is brings us closer to our topic: tapping into numbers. We’ve seen a clear shifting in focus from quantity to quality. The only “quantity” that matters today is the data behind any social media marketing strategy. Analytics. Facebook Ads. Twitter Analytics. Instagram. Pinterest. LinkedIn. Each platform has a back-door to analytics and data.
Stats by Worldometers.info reveal that 250 million blog posts, 40 million tweets and 280 million Google searches. This only confirms that using the right tools and data can help in understanding KPIs such as engagement, brand awareness and lead generation. “Going for a data-driven approach allows a business to visualize the customer journey and better equip their products or services targeted for the different social media networks”, explains UXmatters magazine. This infographic explains how to perform social listening and how to capitalize on analytics.
As it shows, there are five crucial steps: listening, integrating, analyzing, engaging, and acting. Today the ‘social media web’ works for a brand only if the brand listens to their customers and followers. And while it may be challenging as a business owner to analyze everything on your own, you can always look for help, because data is just that important.
Word of advice: Before taking the plunge to engage use everything in your advantage. This can mean findings from reports, other studies, social experiments – anything works. Gather as much intelligence and assemble a team dedicated towards bringing customers through this channel. Because now more than ever, social media has the potential of a social sales funnel if done right. Don’t rely on just an existing audience and existing customers, instead design a real purchasing experience, from perks to gamification and loyalty programs for the community.
Using Effective Social Media Tactics
First off, build your brand around social devotion. In other words, respond within a reasonable timeframe, give your customers the feeling of value as a return on their own investment. Secondly, grasp well how each social channel works and what tactics are known to be successful. In a succinct report compiled by Ascend2 and Research Partners, the most effective social media tactics used seem to be:
- Creating compelling content
- Posting on social networks
- Managing website content
- Advertising on social networks
Creating compelling content means being great at storytelling. This helps in separating your business from the rest and achieve that sense of uniqueness. Don’t be afraid to find your own style and tone. Make your shares less in number and better in terms of quality. Respect the time of your audience. Build a website that is clean, clear and responsive, not only to your audience’s device, but also to their needs. Be generous with budgets. Larger budgets provide the ability to advertise and reach a larger audience. From Facebook to Twitter ads, sponsored posts on Instagram, LinkedIn ads and more, be ready to invest a couple of bucks on a monthly basis. For e.g., one of the rules in Google’s Partnership program is actually linked to how much a company spends on AdWords on a monthly basis.
Case studies, exploiting the benefits of small data and unleashing the potential of social media channels
Top platforms like Twitter and Facebook get massive traction, but they don’t always work for everyone. Instagram and Snapchat, through mobile photo-sharing and video-sharing services, have seen ‘runway’ success. Just Instagram alone, since the acquisition of its parent company Facebook, has had over 400 million active accounts and 40 billion photos shared. To learn from your competitors check out Instagram for Business, a page which provides more than 80 case studies, from worldwide brands.
But we’re seeing an increase in demand for local brands and small businesses. “Although big data offers companies thrilling new opportunities to learn from customer behavior and discover unknown correlations, it is important not to forget the qualitative part of consumer analysis.” says datapine Managing Partner Jakob Rehermann.“Excited by the new insights big data offers, some managers tend to blindly act based on the numbers presented to them. But equally important as the question of what is happening, is to understand why it is happening – finding the cause of the relationship. SMEs have realized this and have successively started including smaller, more detailed datasets in their analyses, which they can explore in-depth”.
Two other platforms worth mentioning are Pinterest and LinkedIn. With Pinterest shifting and changing the way social e-commerce works for businesses, it seems 75% of Pins comes from businesses and a remaining 25% from users. This Pinterest business blog post reveals just how much business potential the platform has for startups and SMEs in particular.
Separately, LinkedIn has become a vibrant professional social network. As Socialbakers explains, LinkedIn isn’t just a social channel to connect employers to potential employees, but also a great way to gather professionals in one place, create groups, pages and content that reflect the brand’s mission, vision and voice. With the way groups work, LinkedIn offers the perfect environment for customer support, community growth and brand development.
Social media channels are on a constant move in terms of communication, behavior and interaction, which brings us to the way a brand can be up to date with chances and shifts. Only by gathering data and analyzing it can a brand understand the history behind its successes and failures. Data can reveal old patterns and predict future ones, provide a deeper understanding of causal relationships and effects, as well as identify potential associations between variables. Even Twitter started providing standard reports on audience demographics, which demonstrates that once a brand forms and grows an audience, the next step for business growth is to analyze and explore it. q.e.d.
Featured photo credit: Victor Hanacek via picjumbo.com