This article is part one of two in a series about calculating social media ROI and how to improve it.
I hear a lot of business people say they spend a ton of time on social media and they just don’t feel as though they are getting what they need from it. Many people abandon the platforms altogether soon after that because they simply don’t understand what to do or why it’s not working. And while social media marketing for your company does indeed take your time and effort, I can definitely help you make it take a little less time, saving you money and helping you with ROI.
Research Your Audience
This is actually one of the first issues I find when I probe my clients for information in our initial meetings. “Who is your target audience?” or “who are we trying to reach?” Who is your customer? Honestly, probably about 80% of the people I speak with don’t really know the true answer to that question. Some focus purely on referrals, so they don’t take the time to pay attention to who they are offering their services to. Some have been in business so long, they are a trusted source for their product or service and beyond making sure they make a better product/service than their competitors, and that their customer is the general “owner of a certain industry business”, they don’t delve much deeper. But in this day and age, if you aren’t growing by learning more about your customer, businesses are finding that their customers are disappearing or finding a competitor more attractive than before. So to get started, know who you want to reach and you will already save yourself a ton of time, because you may eliminate a platform or two from your social media marketing plan.
Choose Your Social Media Platforms
Once you know who you want to reach, choose 2-3 platforms that match your audience and where they like to be. The big 3 that I see the most are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, with SnapChat coming in a close 4th. Facebook will cover your general population because most everyone and their dog is on it. Grandparents to grandkids. They hold 79% of the world’s adult internet users, with percentages of age groups like this: 18-29 at 88%, 30-49 at 84%, 50-64 at 72% and 65+ at 62%. Twitter is said to be dying, but I still find that people like to engage with companies they like there and it’s easy to get into a conversation with your customers there. Easier there almost than any other platform. Twitter boasts 24% of all adult internet users and of those, 36% are 18-29, evenly split between men (24%) and women (25%). Instagram is becoming more popular with older groups, where it used to be mostly teenagers and photographers. They are 32% of internet users, with their biggest population coming from women (38%), 18-29 (59%) and 30-49 (33%).
So knowing that, you can more accurately paint a picture of where you should probably be spending your time. If your audience falls into those categories, then you should probably lean that direction. If you would like to see more information about people on those platforms – including their income and education information – you can take a look at this study from Pew Research, which is where I got all of my numbers from above. (They perform a yearly study and we’re still waiting on 2017’s.)
Use a Content Calendar and an Archive
So one of the biggest things that has been touted the world over is the use of a content calendar. A content calendar is basically a document where you store links and copy (what you write in your post) as well as dates and times, etc. for the posts you wish to use on each platform. You would then schedule all of these posts on the different platforms using your favorite way to do so (tools like Buffer, Facebook allows scheduling natively, Sprout Social) and then IDEALLY, you would go back into those platforms once a day or so and check to see if you had any responses or questions that you needed to answer. This is what I do for my clients. I create a content calendar on an excel sheet and use different tabs for the months, if there is only one platform or I use multiple sheets for the different platforms, using the tabs for the months, like you can see below.
This works well for ongoing, fresh and timely content. However, you can also utilize an Archive. In this post, I talked about creating a Tweet Archive, and in another post I created a Hootsuite Template full of social media tips for the social media marketer to use. In these posts, I talk about creating evergreen content to use over and over again. Something like the company FAQs or little unknown facts about the founder, etc. These pieces of information that never change can be added to an Archive and used over and over again. All you have to do is schedule them out and my favorite way to do that is to use HootSuite’s bulk upload. This way, I can schedule MONTHS worth of evergreen, unchanging content if I would like to. The only thing I suggest you be sure of, is that you check the links of this template on a regular basis in case of broken links.
Respond on Social Media
After you have “all the things” scheduled, you can now check on your responses on a daily basis. I normally allot about 15 minutes per platform, but depending on your platform and on whether your audience is engaging with you at an enormous rate, it could be a lot less than that, or a lot more. Facebook doesn’t take long (unless you have a lot of ads going or a few really popular ones, or your brand is on fire with customers on Facebook [it happens!]) but Instagram and Twitter can take a while because you’ll also spend time looking for people to follow as well as thanking people for talking about your brand or answering questions, etc.
Part of a good strategy on platforms where you can follow people is to find good engaging accounts to follow or follow back and that is a manual search. Even with tools that can show you who is active and who is not following you, I find that a good manual search has always been best. If you’re truly against taking 15 minutes though, to search through the followers or accounts, I find that CrowdFire is a pretty good website to help at least find followers that are active and match your keyword searches.
Saving time comes down to being smart about how you spend it. I like how people frequently, in my space, like to tout “What is the ROI of a cup of coffee with a client?”. Well if you make $250 from that client, than that coffee is worth $250. It’s the same with social media. It’s worth the time and effort if you are doing things right, with a plan.
Thanks! Next up will be the second part to this article, Social Media ROI: Saving Money where I will discuss breaking down the time spent and how that works into your social media marketing ROI.
If you’d rather someone else take it over for you, so you don’t have to worry about any of it, be sure you get a hold of me if you want a free social media marketing quote for your next social media campaign.