Social media marketing is an effective method of attracting new customers and building brand loyalty. Though the terms digital and e-marketing are often interchangeable, social media marketing now is rapidly becoming popular for researchers and practitioners alike. The rise in social media outlets has resulted in a marked increase in the amount of consumer interaction. Additionally, the increased interactivity and prevalence of blogs have created a marketplace for visual content. It’s no wonder then that many business professionals consider social media marketing an important part of their overall business strategy.
When it comes to social media marketing, there are a variety of metrics that can be tracked to determine success. While the methods vary, most analysts agree that an adept website and an active social media marketing campaign can draw a significant number of new customers to a business. While this may seem counterintuitive, research demonstrates that the right message can significantly increase conversion rates for websites. In addition, it can help to attract and retain an existing audience, as well.
There are a number of elements to a social media marketing strategy, each of which should contribute to increasing customer acquisition and retention. Some of the most important ones include the following:
* An engaging personality – The tone of a brand’s social media marketing campaign is critical to attracting and retaining an audience. It’s important for marketers to be honest about how they intend to interact with their audience. For instance, do they plan on using video or photographs? Will messages be communicated through RSS feeds, instant messaging or forums?
* A consistent social media presence – In order for a brand to succeed in the realm of social media marketing, it must maintain a consistent presence in the popular venues. This means regularly posting content to a blog, YouTube channel or other outlet. Likewise, it means making sure the appropriate social media presence is created through the various platforms. Failure to do so can result in a brand that is seen as “away from the mainstream,” a reputation that can have long-term negative effects.
* Metrics to track progress – To gauge success, a social media marketing strategy should first focus on tracking and then measuring key metrics. These include the following: fan page likes, engagement levels and comments. Next, the strategy should measure the growth of these activities as well as the demographics of users. Ultimately, these two metrics are crucial to ensuring a successful strategy. This includes both overall growth and engagement levels that can be tracked over time and targeting audiences that are more likely to convert into buyers or members of a business team.
* Metrics to track return on investment – Social media marketing strategies that don’t incorporate metrics for evaluating ROI are doomed to fail. It’s important to know the return on investment (ROI) of a given platform and measure it against other platforms. A good example of this is how Facebook’s fan page compares to that of Twitter or LinkedIn. Facebook clearly out-ran and out excelled its competitors with respect to ROI, which makes the social media marketing strategy all the more important.
* The ultimate goal of social media marketing strategies is to create a brand. Branding is vital for a business to succeed because it creates an image of authority, reliability and expertise. For this reason, social media marketing should integrate a strategy for measuring the branding impact a brand has on the business. Ultimately, it’s this measure that will guide a social media marketer’s efforts and help guide a brand toward building its own unique identity.