Social Media Research: Know What Works
This is the third post in our series of understanding how Social Media works and how to tie it into a Digital Marketing Strategy. The first post Intro to Digital Marketing and Social Media addressed the subject of Should my local, small business be on social media? The second post started us on the path of Social Media Research. We continue on with the subject of research.
Knowing what works saves you time, money and increases the chance of success of any social media strategy. Emulating what others have done is a great place to start. Copying successful strategies is just plain smart. We all want to be creative and come up with an original idea and this is a wonderful way to approach things, but it’s not always practical. There is nothing wrong with taking what others have done and applying to your business. Does this mean you will have the same success that they’ve had? Absolutely not. That is why it is important to try and test different approaches.
Test Then Invest
Now, before we get into the nitty-gritty of each channel that I have mentioned, there is something that needs to be said. Before we get into the details of properly tagging and organizing your website to be more sharable, the necessity of having all of the correct image sizes on your pages, and the utter need to embed code so that your information is shared correctly — before we do all of that — you have to understand that you cannot possibly do it all (and don’t have to). At least, you cannot do it all across every channel available. As noted above, each social media channel is different. Each channel brings its own “particular set of skills” (to quote Bryan Mills from Taken). For a business or individual to sit in a conference room and brainstorm the best channels for their business and then take the next five years on those channels alone would be a complete catastrophe.
Rather, use the TEST THEN INVEST model.
Maybe you have had great success with a channel or two already. If you know for a fact that Facebook is your bread and butter then stick with it to avoid getting toasted by the competition. Stick with what works but be ready to try out new platforms before you map out your Social Media Marketing campaign hard and fast. Testing a platform simply means get familiar with it. Get into the social channel, create an account (even a faux user if that works for you), and begin engaging with the community that is already there. You’ll learn more about what works and what does not work once you’re on the inside. You will discover things like how well tweets with visuals, videos or pictures, perform versus those without imagery. You’ll get a better idea of what acquiring a shallow, spammy community can do to your page’s engagement levels. You’ll also find out how fun and exciting it is when reputable brands or local businesses seek you out or mention you in posts. Test, test, test! Create profiles for SnapChat, Path and Vine to see firsthand just how different the channels are and what makes them tick. All of the testing that was just mentioned was what the industry calls free promotion and earned promotions; You and your profile gain exposure just by being active and earning your spot in the ranks.
You should also take time to test paid promotions. Create a few ads in Facebook to get a glimpse of how you can very specifically target your ads, even down to a five-mile radius around your storefront. Get into the Pinterest Ads community and try your hand at putting your business in front of the millions of users! You can read up on how to use these Social Media Marketing ad platforms until your eyes ache, but nothing teaches somebody like getting into the trenches, investing a few dollars (I would suggest around $25-50 per platform to see any real results), and analyzing the results. Test both earned and paid techniques across all available channels to see what platforms may be most effective for your own brand or business — then map out how to dominate your niche! Speaking of planning ahead, let’s talk about that now.
Pouring time and money into one approach only to find out later that it was a failure can be disheartening and cost you your job. Find out what really works by testing.
Next up in our series is Determining a Social Media Strategy
Sanctuary Marketing Group has a dedicated team of Social Media and Digital Marketing professionals who are ready to help you with the advice, research, testing, development and implementation of a social media strategy. Contact us today and request a quote or call (330) 266-1188.
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