4 Steps for an Effective Social Media Program

At 2018 Summer NAMM, Ben Blakesley, social media and content marketing leader, musician, and author of Get Social: A Practical Guide To Using Social Media For Business, shared the keys to social media success. Blakesley revealed that adding value and being consistent are what drive social media success.

Here are his four steps for effective social marketing. (Watch the video for the full session.)

1. Set Your Strategy
Blakesley directed businesses to identify their marketing objectives and marry each with a social media benefit. Also, put purpose and direction behind everything you do.

He broke out the two types of social media:

• Owned: Organic is what’s publicly posted for everyone to see, and paid is targeted to specific individuals.

• Earned: This is what everyone is saying about you. Don’t lose sight of earned social media, and think about how you can trigger people to share your brand.

Social media benefits. Think of your marketing objectives and which of these social media advantages connects to it.

• Building and deepening relationships.

• Humanizing your brand.

• Education and thought leadership. You’re experts in your field, and you can share that.

• News and updates in real time. You can be a news sources for your customers.

• Expanding the reach of your message. Shared content to reach people you would have never reached otherwise.

• Generating foot traffic.

• Drive web traffic.

• Increasing search engine optimization (SEO).

• Generating sales.

• Extending the brand experience. When people interact with your business, it must feel good. Social media lets you do this for customers not visiting your store. Starbucks does a good job of this, so that customers feel a certain way.

• Creating an audience for campaign use. Targeting audiences lets you provide the right message at the right time to the right person.

• Customer insights. If you want to know what your customers are feeling, just ask them.

• Customer service. If you’re on social media, you’re participating in customer service online. As a side note, airlines are good at this.

2. Choose Your Platform
Blakesley shared his key takeaway: Don’t choose platforms that don’t match your marketing objectives. You don’t have to be on everything, so don’t pepper your messaging everywhere. Different platforms each have communities that you need to respect. Use unique messages for unique audiences to add value. Be consistent.

• Facebook. Pros include that everyone is there (2.2 billion users), amazing functionality, lots of paid options and superior interest targeting. Facebook can also be highly effective for local marketing. As far as cons go, it’s unpredictable and inconsistent, according to Blakesley. Plus, it has low organic reach and an aging demographic.

• Twitter. Pros include a large audience (330 million), real-time conversation, lots of paid options and quality interest targeting. Plus, content is easily sharable. Cons include that it’s no longer growing quickly, it can be hard to follow, and it’s a crowded space.

• Instagram. Instagram offers a large audience (1 billion), very engaged users, efficient paid options and Facebook integration. In terms of cons, Instagram content isn’t very shareable. Also, users can’t link out organically, and the platform offers few audience insights.

• Snapchat. Pros include a large audience (300 million) and very engaged users. Plus, Snapchat isn’t too crowded and offers some paid options. Still, Blakesley noted that content isn’t very shareable, and users can’t link out organically. Snapchat also offers few audience insights and is ephemeral in nature.

• LinkedIn. According to Blakesley, don’t write off LinkedIn. It has a pro audience of approximately 250 million and is multifunctional, good for B2B and not too crowded. Also, it has good paid options, effective user targeting and quality analytics. The biggest con is its focused audience.

• YouTube. If you use YouTube, make sure you have something of value and deliver. YouTube has a large user base. It can be great for SEO, is easy to use and has good paid options. YouTube also offers great statistics and long-tail content. Cons include a difficult community, and it can be resource-heavy.

• Tumblr and Pinterest. Pros include a long tail on content and fewer active brands. Still, these platforms have lower adoption and limited functionality.

Use search stats from Google to find out how many people are searching for a specific topic or keyword at any given time. This information can be used to fill a hole in the marketplace.

3. Put Processes in Place
According to Blakesley, the most exciting word in social media is “process.” If you have a process in place, you don’t have to worry about what comes next. When creating social media content, process is the key to sanity, efficiency and results. Make whomever is in charge of your social media program accountable with metrics and performance reviews. Plan to be spontaneous.

4. Measure and Retool
Blakesley insisted that you must measure to succeed:

• Set your KPIs (key performance indicators). Make sure you’re focusing on what social media is supposed to do in the mix. For instance, if you have an in-store event that you posted on social media that attracted high traffic but low sales, it’s not social media that was unsuccessful, but the experience in your store.

• Set your targets. Set a benchmark, such as you expect to get 1,000 impressions on a post, and know if you do better or worse.

• Test, learn and try again. What can you do differently, or how can you repeat it?