At Fusion Content, we’ve been surveying the social media efforts of businesses. We’ve found some disturbing results. Most businesses we’ve studied have more than 1000 likes on Facebook but less than five likes per post. This extends to other social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter.
What we found even more discouraging is that for most of these sites, it is clear that they spent time and effort on their content. Coming up with a good looking graphic is not easy. It requires some skills and practice. And especially if you’re not a designer, it may take a lot of your time and effort.
Imagine spending considerable effort and time to come up with a good graphic, only to get 0 likes when you post it on social media.
If people on social media aren’t liking, sharing and commenting on your posts, it means they don’t care. And if this is the case, then your social media efforts are a waste of time. They’re not helping your business. There’s no difference between you and a business that has no social media presence at all.
Such social media failure is even more painful if you’ve taken the time to build a page with 1000+ followers.
It means there’s something you are doing wrong. The good news is that it’s possible to turn your social media fortunes around and start getting tangible return on investments for your efforts on social media.
Here’s What You Are Doing Wrong
Most businesses view their social media platforms as a chance to do normal marketing. If you’re going to use your social media the same way that you would use adverts on television, then you’ll definitely get poor results.
Have you ever seen someone choose to view adverts? The way it works is that adverts are forced on us. We are interrupted when watching something interesting on YouTube or when listening to our favorite radio show. If you use your social media pages as a space for adverts, you’ll be a nuisance to your followers. And that is exactly what most businesses are doing online.
What’s The Right Way For Businesses To Approach Social Media?
The results of our survey so far are disheartening. (We’ll be releasing the complete survey next month so stay tuned) Social media isn’t helping most businesses. In fact, maintaining social media platforms has become busy work – it makes you feel like you’re doing something but in reality, it does not add any value to your business.
However, there are some businesses that are doing social media right. For them, social media is a valuable asset. It’s attracting new followers and nurturing them into customers, helping businesses increase brand awareness and even in some cases, helping them save on costs in areas such as customer support.
A study of businesses with useful social media reveals that there’s a common way of doing things. We’ll look at that but first, how do you even know that your social media platforms are adding value to your business?
How Do You Know When Social Media Is Working For Your Business?
If you can’t define success, then you can’t win. Most people think that if your business page on Facebook has 1000 likes, you’ve achieved something. But like we’ve seen above, it is possible to have 1000 followers who don’t really care about your business and what you have to offer.
And, with the way social media works, these 1000 people might not even be seeing your posts to begin with.
On Facebook, people are shown what they like to see. If I always click the like button when I see a photo of a cute dog, then I’ll keep being shown photos of cute dogs. If I always quickly scroll past your business page’s post, then Facebook will stop showing me posts from your page eventually.
You can’t always rely on metrics like page likes or number of followers on Instagram. It can mislead you. However, there are instances when the number of likes and followers can be an indicator of success.
Whether social media is working for your business depends on two things: Your business goals and the role that social media plays in achieving these goals.
So, if you opened an Instagram page for your online boutique simply because other online boutiques are doing it, that was not the way to go. Below is what you should have considered before ever looking for your first follower on social media.
Using Social Media to Meet Business Goals
The goal of every business is to make profit. However, before you can make profit, there are other things that come into play. For example, you need to hire the right talent, you need to establish your brand and of course, you need to get customers. In the modern world, social media is a powerful tool with a wide range of possible applications. You can use it to attract and recruit better talent just as you can use it to learn about your customers and develop new products based on what you learn.
Below is a list of social media goals that your business can help you achieve:
- Building Brand Awareness.
Before a new business can start generating revenue, people need to know that it exists and know what it does. In the past, the only way you could build brand awareness was through avenues such as billboards and television ads. It was expensive. With social media, you can get the same results at only a fraction of the cost.
- Lead Generation
A lead is a person who is in contact with your business but who is not yet a customer. Most followers are leads and you can use social media to systematically nurture these leads into customers.
- Increasing Sales
You can sell directly on your social media platforms. However, you can only make significant sales online if your audience cares about you and you have established a relationship in which they can trust you.
- Target Audience Research
Selling without intimate knowledge of the people you are selling to is like shooting with your eyes closed and expecting to hit your target. It’s suicidal for businesses. Social media done right can help you learn what keeps your audience up at night and how you can be of service to them.
- Improving Customer Retention and Brand Loyalty
Social media gives you a chance to continue engaging with your customers and delighting them. Obviously, if all you do is promote products that your customers already have bought from you, then you will lose their interest. At some point, some other business that is using their social media in the right way will snap your customer up.
- Saving costs
Social media done right can save your businesses a lot of cost. For starters, you can use social media to manage your public relations. You can also use it to provide assistance to customers who have problems with your product. It’s cheaper than having a call center.
Metrics For Measuring Social Media Success
The smart way to use social media is as a tool to meet one or more of the business goals we’ve listed above. The following are ways through which you can determine whether your social media is helping you achieve your business goals.
If you plan to use your business’s social media to promote brand awareness and generate more leads, social media reach metrics help gauge your success. Reach metrics include the number of likes and followers. They also include impressions – the number of people who view your post – as well as the number of times your business gets mentioned on social media. Your share of voice – how much people are talking about you in comparison to your competitors – is also useful
Engagement metrics are crucial if your social media goal is to learn about your customers (target audience research) They can also be helpful in measuring the effectiveness of lead nurturing and your customer retention strategy. Such metrics include comments, likes, reviews, ratings, shares and link click-throughs.
- Return on Investment
There are metrics that show you just how much value you are getting in return for your social media efforts. The number of direct sales you make through social media is one such metric. The number of converted leads is also useful. You convert a lead when you get them to move one step closer to buying your product. For example, the number of followers you get to join a specialized WhatsApp group can be an important metric to measure the success of your social media.
- Retention and loyalty
There are metrics that can help you gauge customer retention and brand loyalty. Ratings and reviews are useful in this case. You can also measure the number of customer issues you’ve successfully resolved through your social media platforms.
Don’t Shoot In The Dark – Knowing Your Audience Is Key
Once you have determined how to win by setting social media goals and knowing how to measure success, the next factor is your audience. The importance of knowing your audience as much as possible cannot be over-emphasized.
Below are some of the benefits of knowing your audience
- You can form relationships because you know what they care about
Suppose you’re at a business event and you spot someone you’d really want to network with. If you know nothing about them, it may be difficult to approach them. But if you know that they are a fan of football or that they are passionate about environmental conversation, it will be easy to break the ice. It’s the same with your audience.
- You can position your business to solve your audience’s problems
If you genuinely care about your audience and actively seek to learn about them, you’ll find yourself discovering their problems. This is useful because you’ll know how to position your business in an effective way. It could also help you come up with a new product that already has demand because it solves an existing problem.
- You know which platforms would work best
Social media platforms are different when it comes to the audiences they serve. For example, Instagram is mostly used by males aged 18-24. A considerable number of people who use snapchat are teenagers whereas the people on Facebook are generally older. If your product is aimed at teenagers, you could focus on Snapchat and Instagram and maintain a minimalist presence on Facebook.
- You know which content would work best
Different groups of people consume different content online. Younger people are more into videos on YouTube and short videos on platforms such as Tiktok. Professionals feel more at home with white papers and email newsletters. Podcasts are also becoming popular among young people. Knowing your audience helps you align yourself with the content that would work best for you.
Everything we’ve looked at up to this point is crucial when handling social media for business. If you use your social media platforms to achieve clear business goals, have a way of knowing whether your strategy is working and put your target audience at the center of your social media efforts, you’re off to a nice start. It is easier for you to create content that people care about. However, it might still help to know what types of content work.
How To Create Content That Works
First of all, let me clarify that there is no formula that works every time and in every scenario. Yes, the basic principals are the same but depending on the nature of a business, the content that works will differ.
As such, you will need to experiment with different techniques. Even after finding an approach that works, you’ll still need to continue improving it.
In addition, I’ve already told you that if your social media is dedicated to adverts of your products, you shouldn’t expect success.
At Fusion Content, we are experts of content marketing. The first rule of content that works is that it should be centered around your audience. It should have clear value for them. Does that mean that you should not promote your products on your social media pages? No – but you should limit your self-advertising. Research has shown that an 80 – 20 distribution works best. Only 20% of your content should be adverts of your products, just enough so that your audience knows what you have to offer. The other 80% should be content made for your audience.
I know you can handle the 20% self-advertising content. But the 80% can be a problem for many, as we have learned from our experience with business owners at Fusion Content. Below is a basic approach to the 80% audience-centered content.
Various Forms Of Audience Centered Content aka Content That Works
- Educational Content
At Fusion, we like to encourage businesses to think of themselves not as sellers of products but as experts and problem-solvers. Think about it, if you can run a successful shoe shining business, then you must have some knowledge about shoes and shoe-shining that normal people don’t have. If you sell chapati to people for a living, you must be really good at making them.
So, if you want to create content that will appeal to your audience, simply share your knowledge with them. I might quickly scroll past a photo of chapati on Facebook because I’ve seen so many, but if I see a video that promises to show me “The Secret to Making Irresistible Chapati,” I’ll be tempted to take a look. And that’s how you attract strangers to your business.
- Problem-Solving Content
You and I have already agreed that you are not a business person but an expert who also happens to be in business. We’ve also agreed that there is a lot you know about your business that I might never know.
If you want to create content that will get my attention online, why don’t you use your considerable expertise to solve a problem that I have?
Let’s assume that you sell shoes. I have this problem where I buy shoes and some months later, they have one problem or the other and I can’t use them. If I see a video titled, “How to Know How Durable a Shoe Is,” I’ll definitely watch it.
On the other hand, if I see a video of the current stock of shoes you have, I’ll probably skip it to go watch a funny Eric Omondi video.
This is why knowing your target audience is crucial. You can’t solve my problems if you don’t know them. And if you assume that you can imagine my problems, you probably won’t be accurate and I probably won’t care about your content. It’s important to actively research your target audience.
- Entertaining Content
People love entertainment on social media. You can find a way to entertain your audience that is loosely related to what your business does. It can be funny or simply interesting.
For example, if you do interior decor, you could have a video series where you explore the most beautifully done houses around. They don’t have to be houses that you yourself have decorated. It could simply be content that helps your customers get inspiration for their own interior decor.
It offers real value to your audience and it’s more about them than it is about you.
Since we are entertaining, an alternative could be to explore the most horribly done interiors. I’m not sure people would volunteer their houses for such purposes but if you found a way to pull it off, it would be great. Not only would it entertain your audience, but it would also give you an opportunity to laugh at a third party together, which would help advance your relationship.
A nice way to pull this idea off would be to film houses before you give them an interior decor makeover. Of course, you’d have to get the consent of the house owner.
The point is to be creative and entertain your audience.
- User Generated Content (UGC)
This is content that your customers come up with. For example, if you sell dresses, you could encourage your customers to take photos of themselves in dresses that they’ve just bought from you. You could then reshare this content on your social media platforms, with the permission of the customer who took the photo.
Such content works wonders. People trust content created by your customers more than they trust content from you as a business.
One advantage of UGC is that it helps you reach out to more people for free. It is also a way of getting content created for you. Coming up with great content can be demanding, which is why a little help from your customers would be great.
All businesses that have successful social media use some variation of the approach we’ve given above. It’s called Content Marketing – which is what we specialize in at Fusion Content. Even with a great content marketing strategy, you won’t turn your page from a grade D to a grade A in two weeks. But it’s possible to gradually make progress and to eventually have social media platforms that play a clear part in helping your business make money.
If you have any questions about the Content Marketing way, feel free to reach out in the comments section.
Fusion Content is just starting out. We are eager to prove what we can do. This means that if you want, you can get a free content marketing consultation from us. All you need to do is answer five questions about your business and we’ll come up with a content marketing strategy that fits your unique situation. This offer is limited though. We’ll stop giving consultations after we get the first ten or so businesses.
To claim your free consultation, click here.
The writer is an Information Technology graduate with Hubspot Academy certifications in Inbound and Content Marketing. Stay tuned for more awesome Content Marketing tips.