If Social Media Is a Cocktail Party, Is your Business a Wallflower?
Last month, we completed our very first local business audit. If you didn't get the chance to read our first article about it, allow me to fill you in: we were pretty surprised by the results.
We studied more than 275 businesses across 20 industries in the greater Wilmington area with respect to their web marketing effectiveness. One of the main aspects of our audit was social media presence. Social media marketing tactics are a key way to increase brand awareness and retain clients, especially with local companies that rely on loyal customers.
So, what are Wilmington companies up to on social media? We're glad you asked.
[ 94% of Greater Wilmington businesses have a social media presence. Of these businesses, 55% have three or more social media outlets. ]
We were not surprised to see that our audit showed that most businesses are present on social media in some form or fashion. Most Wilmington businesses have harnessed, or begun to harness, this powerful tool.
But how well are they using it?
More than half of Greater Wilmington businesses are active on at least three social media accounts, but they might be doing it wrong on all of their platforms.
The evolution of social media is similar to the evolution of the iPhone. Nowadays, almost everyone has an iPhone, but not everyone is doing much more than texting and calling. In the same way, not every business is making the most of their social presence.
It is important to realize just how much social media has evolved as a business tool for customer outreach. Learn to stay a step ahead of the competition by following our advice.
Have a game plan, and stick to it.
Develop a game plan where you outline your social media objectives and how you plan on reaching them. Develop a weekly outline of your posts, and describe typical posts in a document for your company to reference. For example, do you want to post an inside look at the company every Wednesday? Describe what that post should look like to keep it consistent week by week.
Include in your overall game plan how much you plan to spend on boosting your company posts on Facebook. Companies need to spend money to ensure their posts reach more than the average 6% organic reach for business posts.
Know your audience, and provide value to them.
Keep your followers in mind with every single post across social media outlets, and post about what interests them. What's in it for them? What do your customers need to know from you that could enhance their lives? Your insider information for your industry that makes you a resource.
This means that retailers shouldn't just post about what's on sale. They should post about the current retail trends and upcoming events. A homebuilding company shouldn't just post pictures of their portfolio, they should sprinkle in posts that have insider advice for homeowners.
Keep your presence consistent by posting regularly. Keeping a consistent voice is a crucial way for social media to reinforce your brand image and company voice.
Sporadic posting shouldn't be the go-to strategy for any business. Without an organized plan, your posts may appear fragmented and your followers will lose interest. Once you make your posting outline, stick to it.
Harness the data at your fingertips.
All top social media outlets except Instagram offer free analytics and tracking. Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest offer Analytics features, and Facebook has an Insights tab for the pages you manage. These analytics tools show your follower base growth over time, as well as engagement statistics for individual posts. Taking the time to use these tools to monitor your social media and see what fosters the most engagement is an incredibly cost-effective way to make strategic social media decisions.
Take your tracking a step further by installing UTM tracking codes on your site and utilizing Google Analytics to see which social media outlet is driving the most traffic to your site.
Analyze the data you've collected from your social media outlets' analytics and put your theories to the test with a/b testing. Test one strategy for a week, and compare it to another. The possibilities are endless!