social media

Social Media Strategy: More Than Just Likes and Follows

Do you ever feel like your business is struggling to collect more follows, shares and likes? Does it seem like much of this social interaction is surface-level and ultimately meaningless? If your business is failing to land actual sales from social media, it may feel like you are wasting your time.

In truth, it is possible to futz around on social media and make little progress. Sure, you can increase your audience size, but how can you tell if this social activity is actually impacting your bottom line? Social media is an incredible tool, but it can only help you if you know how to use it.

Tell your story… again

Marketing experts always stress the importance of storytelling for modern brands.

Storytelling helps your audience develop a personal connection with your brand, and it helps you become more memorable.

We know that storytelling works. However, some businesses are simply not aware of how often they need to regurgitate their story. This doesn’t mean repeatedly posting the same paragraph until your readers are bored to tears; but telling your brand story isn’t a one-time deal either.

Your story must be continuously weaved throughout your social media platforms, revealing new twists and turns. Think of your audience as a group of people watching a movie. They don’t only want to see the trailer. They want the full story, including the ups and downs, the small victories and quirky mishaps.

If you are bored of telling your startup’s story, try telling new parts to new segments of your audience. Tell it with images instead of words. Mix it up and engage with your story in new ways.

Related: 9 Ways You Can Automate Social Media Marketing

Plan carefully

If your social media strategy is starting to feel aimless and unproductive, you may need to plan more. There are plenty of tools that can help you do this, such as Hootsuite for post scheduling.

In addition, adopting a weekly or monthly idea grid can simplify the planning process. Idea grids can be found all around the internet and will give you a basic topic or theme to post about each day. You can refer to these grids daily or just use them for inspiration when you feel stuck.

Build community

Most businesses have Facebook pages, but a page doesn’t equal a community. Thankfully, plenty of additional options for building a community exist on social media.

Facebook livestreams provide an opportunity for businesses to speak directly with their customers and create content in a new format. Facebook groups may be appropriate if there are subsections of your audience with a particular interest. You can open up two-way conversations in these groups rather than just bombarding your audience with content, and customized groups allow customers to get to know each other. Groups also give you an opportunity to communicate more personally with your supporters and build rapport, making exchanges more meaningful and increasing the likelihood that customers will return to your business again and again.

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Stop relying on surface metrics

There’s no need to completely ignore data that reveals likes, shares, comments and follows. These can give great insight into what kinds of content your audience enjoys. It can also reveal whether your page is growing or shrinking in its audience size.

However, putting too much emphasis on these stats can give a very misleading illusion about the actual state of your business. Much closer attention needs to be placed on the ROI behind your social media activity – especially if you are spending money on boosted posts and ads.

In order to stay focused and keep your head in the game, avoid obsessively checking on likes, follows and similar metrics. Instead, keep a close eye on where sales are streaming in from – email, website, social media, etc. If you find your social media is generating very little or no sales, consider your platforms in need of a serious upgrade. Likes and follows show that you are on the right track, but sales are the ultimate indicator of success.

Startups truly don’t need big budgets to make social media meaningful and effective. Through a combination of creating, observing and constantly tweaking, those with minimal resources can build thriving social channels.

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