4 questions to ask yourself when investing in social media

Today’s buyers are looking for a sense of community, culture and environmental appreciation where they can search and research, then connect, collaborate and challenge. In a recent Forbes survey, CMOs overwhelmingly expect to interact with customers over social networks in the next three to five years – and yet 66% of respondents say they are unprepared to do so. 

Prospects and customers are looking for solutions to the challenges they’re facing. Social media is your opportunity to share knowledge, expose your brand and listen for ways to drive new revenue streams for your business. 

To set ROI metrics, start by looking at your marketing KPIs and resources – both financial and human. To hit your target and maximize your company’s social media investment, ask yourself these four questions:

 

  • How much time and money will it cost?

 

If not properly managed, social media can quickly become a full-time investment – and the more channels you’re managing, the more challenging time management becomes. There is a plethora of social media tools – including lead gen, security, monitoring, sharing and more – to help you get started. 

Good social media tools help you find more content to share, schedule posts at the perfect time, as well as measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. They help you stretch your human resources and efficiently manage your social media workflow including: 

  • Create/curate content, posts, hashtags and imagery
  • Monitor and engage responses, likes, shares, etc.
  • Look for trends in spikes/dips – and the sources that caused them

Capterra.com helps you compare product reviews and features based on price, features, users, deployment and more. Take advantage of free trials to learn which features help you the most as you learn ways to maximize your human and financial resources.

 

  • Which channels will you use?

 

Do your homework and go beyond the number of followers, likes, shares and re-tweets. To create competitive and community benchmarks for your existing channels, start by finding out where your customers, partners, suppliers and competitors are spending time. Look at current and potential audience size, engagement channels and patterns across major platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Using your business lens, get to know what makes each platform tick, the types of posts that get shared – and the ones that get panned – and the general rules of engagement. 

Focus on one channel at a time as you build your base of key influencers, bloggers and subject matter experts – as well as your content, keywords and posts – and continuously assess the value of engagement and community-building, its impact on conversions, and which platforms matter most.

  1. What are you going to share?

As you audit your content library, look at how you can re-purpose and transform it into shareable resources like blogs, templates, guides, case studies, videos, webinars or demos. 

Pair your content with a click-worthy post and an eye-catching image (check the royalty rights), then create hashtags based on relevant keywords and on the conversations that matter to your business. Be mindful of platform etiquette – you can stuff a lot more hashtags into an Instagram post than LinkedIn – and balance pre-written posts with community engagement, comments, shares, likes, thank-you’s and re-tweets.

Once you get into the groove, it won’t be long before you are creating, scheduling and posting content in bulk – freeing you up to fill your content gaps and grow your library.

  1. Who’s going to share it?

When you put someone in charge of social media, you’re putting them in charge of your brand and your reputation. Arm them for success – from messaging about who you are, what you do and why it matters – to relevant groups and influencers. Give them permission to maintain the processes and create the guidelines that protect your brand – and your company’s integrity.

Whether you outsource your social media, keep it in-house, or share the responsibilities, budget time and/or dollars for the following deliverables:

  • Police the brand
  • Create, schedule and post content
  • Source images and give credit – or face stringent copyright infringement penalites
  • Ongoing engagement with your community of customers, prospects, partners and influencers
  • Report on activity

No matter how large or small your business, when you’re wearing your business buyer hat on social media, you’re researching more than products and solutions. By blending SMART marketing with share-worthy content you will create more relevant experiences – and a successful social media investment. 

 

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Joanne Gore

Joanne Gore is a B2B marketer who’s passionate about print and has spent the last three decades helping companies maximize their marketing and communications efforts. Founder of Joanne Gore Communications, she helps companies tell their story to a new generation of print and business buyers. Email: joanne@joannegorecommunications.com Follow her on Twitter: @joannegore121