Social media marketing has become a big deal. Apart from the fact that it makes it easier for people to find your startup, it gives you the opportunity to know what people want and find ways to give it to them. However, the harsh truth is that not a lot of Nigerian business owners understand it - heck, even big international corporations are still trying to figure it out.
Over the course of a year, I worked as a social media manager for two different startups. At the time, I didn’t realize that there was a huge difference between social media management for personal reasons and business purposes. It took me a while to understand that, but I did. From my interactions with many social media managers, I’m comfortable saying that most of them are thinking about their roles the way I used to. It’s safe to point that out as the reason why a lot of startups’ social media marketing efforts don’t pay off. It’s not because the social media managers don’t know how to use social media, they just don’t know how to use it for business purposes.
It’s taken me a lot of reading and trial and error to get to this point, but the process has been worth the time and resources. If you’re a professional social media manager, or a startup founder looking to optimize your company’s social media efforts, here are five important things you must take note of.
Listening is at the core of social media marketing success
Listening in social media marketing is when you are on the lookout for mentions of specific keywords relating to your startup on the internet. For example, if you run the social media account for a courier service, you would be listening for words such as ‘delivery’, ‘courier service’, ‘fastest delivery service’, and so on.
Listening, or social listening, also allows you monitor what people are saying about your brand - positive or negative feedback. A good social media manager will know how to respond to these mentions with speed and effectively. If you can pull it off, you’ll have yourself some potent leads. You can use Hootsuite or the Mention app to do this.
Analytics, analytics, analytics!
In social media marketing, and in fact all forms of digital marketing, you need to be able to track the performance of your marketing efforts. You shouldn’t just be tweeting or putting up posts for doing sake. Each tweet you send, each Facebook post, each Instagram picture has numbers that will accompany it. Your evaluation of the performance of each of these things depends on your social media marketing objective. Are you trying to acquire customers, or you’re trying to get more people to know about your business.
If you’re trying to acquire more customers, then the number of retweets or likes you get will not matter much to you. What will matter is how many people are making the decision to buy what you’re selling based on your social media activities. The buzz that comes with retweets and Facebook comments is for people trying to attain brand recognition.
Each social network has its own free analytics property. But to get the best results possible, check out Sprout Social or Hootsuite.
It’s a process; don’t expect magic
Be the smartest in the room
The easiest way to frustrate and work yourself up as a social media manager is to forget that executing and making a success of your social media marketing efforts is a process. There may be some encouraging results in the short-term, but those things don’t come often. If you want to experience great results in the long run, you should exercise patience till it’s buff, muscular and ready to kick ass.
It’s not a substitute for offline marketing efforts
Don’t dull it. What did I say? [Read this slowly] Do not dull it. Just because you have launched a social media marketing campaign, that doesn’t mean you should abstain from offline marketing. And here, I am not talking about billboards and television ads. This is Nigeria, and you have to face reality - not everyone who has access to the internet uses it when making purchasing decisions. Most people don’t.
Do not scoff at people who stand outside Ikeja City Mall sharing flyers. Do not hesitate to put up stickers inside commercial vehicles if you think that will work. The key to a successful social media marketing campaign is to complement it with offline marketing - whichever type works for your target market.
It’s not a matter of life and death
In the eternal words of Leonardo da Vinci, “One cannot come and go and die on top of a matter.” Wait, was it da Vinci or Wizkid that said that? Shrugs.
There is a Chinese Proverb that says, “Of all the strategies, knowing when to quit may be the best.” And I promise I didn’t make that one up. If you’re doing social media marketing right, then I assure you there are times when some of your efforts won’t pay off. There are times when some campaigns will flop. But that is what analytics is there for. Use the results of these campaigns to redesign your strategy. When it looks like there’s no way a campaign can work, kill it and start another one. Don’t let yourself fall victim of the sunk cost bias.
So, these are five important things social media managers need to take note of. What are some other things you think are important, based on your experiences?