Social media has played an essential role in people’s lives for many, many years now. It changed the way people acquired information and shocked the marketing world. Yet many business owners and skeptical marketers are only starting to learn this. Better late than ever. There’s a good reason for doubting Social Media Marketing: it’s because it brings so many questions with it.

Here are the most common questions and a short and comprehensive way to explain.

Do I really need Social Media?

The answer is YESWhy?

  1. Just because you don’t have an interest in Social Media doesn’t mean Social Media won’t take an interest in you. Meaning there are people leaving reviews of your products, complaining, asking questions, wanting to be updated on new products or services. You might not see it, but your potential customers and your potential employees will. That’s because they will Google, Yahoo and Bing what they want to know and provide them a vast amount of information about your company or your products before buying them or job seekers looking for a job and want to know about the company they are interviewing with. Research shows that 90% of the people do that.
  • Where is your targeted audience? 
  1. Apart from maybe a couple of rare exceptions, people of all ages, interests, and socio-economic statuses are on social media. All popular Social Media platforms have a substantial reach than all radio, newspapers, magazines, billboards and TV channels combined.
  2. The truth is that the old ways of advertising are going through a slow and painful death. No doubt, TV, radio, and billboards were solid way. However, it got to the point that there was so much advertising that people became immune to it. Our minds filter out anything that looks like an ad. And, not pay attention, they would go to the fridge for a snack using the restroom or start a conversation with someone in the room. Social Media Marketing doesn’t look like an ad. The whole idea behind Social Media Marketing is meant to be an informational and entertaining as possible opposed to it being promotional, think about it as you go through your social media seeing how your friends and family are doing all of a sudden a post of a product pops up and if done properly will capture your attention. Whether is a funny picture or a catchy title. There goes your curiosity and you click on it.
  3. If done right, Social Media marketing creates trust and loyalty by removing the feeling that you’re dealing with a corporation or a system that is made to only suck the money out of the customers. Social Media shows that there are real people working for the company, by providing information in a social media setting.
  4. Social media facilitates word-of-mouth marketing. People don’t listen to companies; people listen to friends and family. So, when they see a friend on Facebook “liking” a company page, they are more inclined to believe that they truly sell good products.
  5. And so many more reasons.

3. How to measure ROI in Social Media Marketing?

Measuring social media Return On Investment (ROI) is one of the biggest frustrations of business owners and one of the most frequently asked questions about social media. Fast Company reported that 88% of 750 surveyed marketing professionals didn’t feel they could accurately measure the effectiveness of their social media campaigns. Truth is, social media has direct and indirect effects that are impossible to measure perfectly. But so are many PR and marketing efforts!

While you can’t measure all SMM effects, you should still measure the ones you can.

  1. Start by setting your conversion goals. 
    1. Making online purchases;
    1. Clicking on a link to dealer website;
    1. Spending time on landing pages; Signing up for a newsletter and blog liking pages and engaging in social media interactions such as groups.
    1. Track conversions.
      1. Depending on what you think the number of followers is, the more people see your campaigns or promotions the people that sign up for your Blogs or Newsletters, the greater your ROI.
      1. Traffic. Again, your ROI depends on getting people to your website, or your social media platforms and liking your pages another URL picked up and conversions happen.
      1. Social media generated leads. The problem here is that you will only see leads that took online action. Even lurkers people that take no actions online but are still exposed to your product may do offline purchases as a result of Social Media exposure and that can be seen through Google Analytics.
      1. Customers – leads that become customers.
      1. Conversion rate. Tracking the percentage of visitors by social media platform, search engines, or even those people who visit your website don’t purchase anything but you notice an increase in revenue at the storefront or more appointments for services the promotion piece tells you what’s working and what’s not.
      1. Assign a monetary value to each conversion by estimating a Lifetime Value of a Customer.
    1. Collect incoming traffic and conversion numbers using Google Analytics.
      1. Compare with the monetary value of those conversions.
    1. Determine the cost per channel by adding labor and other costs.
    1. Use information from steps 4 and 5 to calculate the ROI per social media channel, which also can be seen on Google Analytics.

4. Do I need an SMM manager?

Many business owners are lost between believing they need an SMM specialist and not wanting to pay someone to “just go on Facebook”. So, first, let’s write down what should Social Media Marketer do:

  1. Manage a publishing calendar
  2. Schedule posts
  3. Curate content
  4. Monitor brand mentions and keywords
  5. Engage with customers and partners (i.e. reply to all comments, reviews, questions on Social Media);
  6. Review analytics and determine next steps;
  7. Follow up with connections and on projects;
  8. Run experiments to optimize social media posts
  9. Monitor the completion

5. What skills should a social media marketer have?

First and foremost, what are the skills of listening, communicating, and problem-solving? Think of someone who is a problem solver at all levels from doing the shipping and receiving to preparing the yearly budget. And be able to handle any kind of conflict whether its policy and procedures to disgruntled employees.

  • They should be a storyteller. The reason being is that at the end of the day you want that sale and people like talking with people who can tell stories and know a lot about the product because it makes them feel comfortable and trustworthy, that they are in good hands. In a group surveyed, only 24 percent had marketing, business, or advertising degrees, while 50 percent had undergraduate degrees in English, English literature, public relations, or journalism.
    • They should be able to read and interpret data. With social listening and Big Data key to the field, it is essential to understand numbers. And be able to present reports in different ways to prove their theory.

As you can see, social media marketing is a truly multi-skilled field.

6. So, do you need to hire a specialist?

  1. That mainly depends on your budget, if you have the time that’s involved, do you have the skills listed above. It’s possible to handle social media marketing yourself if you use the right tools (Social Media Management and Social Media Monitoring) and if you keep it simple.
  2. While on-going customer service is still essential, everything else is optional. You can limit your posts to once a day and cover only a couple of major platforms. Enjoying the post? There’s more. Sign up to receive one email a week with exclusive, actionable tips on social media and digital marketing. Write to me in!
  3. But you know what they say the more the merrier.

7. What should you post?

  1. You should post relevant content that is interesting and/or entertaining to your potential customers. Sounds hard? It really isn’t, if you know your target audience know your product or service to the tee then you shouldn’t have a problem. Some good advice is yourself if your funny take that approach, if you’re analytical then take that route, just be yourself.
  2. Imagine you are selling a home and kitchen appliances. What is your target audience interested in? In how all these things work; what coffee maker is the best one; why in the world would you need a rice cooker. Besides, maybe, in recipes, nutrition advice, and so on.
  3. If you are stuck for ideas, you can always ask customers directly what they would like to read about. You can also follow influencers in the niche to get inspired and to share their valuable content. Truth is, the more you write, the more you discover unexplored topics or topics that can be looked at from a different angle.

8. Which social media platforms should my business have a presence on?

  1. It is common advice to be on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, and any popular local social network.
  2. If your product is visually appealing, consider Instagram and Pinterest.

9. How often should I post?

  1. Buffer conducted a study that answered this question very precisely:
    1. Twitter – 3 times per day. Engagement decreases slightly after the third tweet.
    1. Facebook – 2 times per day, at most. 2x per day is the level before likes & comments begin to drop off dramatically.
    1. LinkedIn – 1 time per day. 20 posts per month (1x per weekday) allows you to reach 60 percent of your audience.
    1. Google+ – 3 times per day and the more often you post, the more activity you’ll get. There is a positive correlation between frequency and engagement. When posting frequency decreases, the traffic may drop to up to 50%.
    1. Pinterest – 5x per day, or more. For Pinterest, the more you post the higher the growth is.
    1. Instagram – 1.5 times per day, or more. Major brands post an average of 1.5 times per day to Instagram. However, there’s no drop-off in engagement for posting more, if you can do it.
    1. Blog – 2x per week. Companies that increase blogging from 3-5X/month to 6-8X/month almost double their leads.

10. What time should I post?

  1. A study by Buffer found that:
  2. The early morning hours appear to be the time in which tweets receive the most clicks, on average.
  3. Evenings and late at night are the times when your tweets receive the most favorites and retweets, on average.
  • This other study found that the best times to post on other social networks are:
  • Facebook 1-4 pm weekdays;
  • LinkedIn 7-8:30 am and 5-6 pm Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday;
  • Tumblr  7-10 pm weekdays and 4 pm on Fridays;
  • Instagram 5-6 pm weekdays and 8 pm on Mondays;
  • Pinterest  2-4 pm and 8-11 pm weekdays with weekends being the best;
  • Google+ 9-11 am weekdays.

Keep in mind that times to post depend on your target audience, so do test instead of blindly following the suggestions above.

11. Can I repost the same content to different social media networks?

  1. Yes! Users would rarely follow the same brand on several networks. By reposting the same content, you reach more people. Besides, it leads to network integration: users might find your content on Twitter and later post it on their Reddit/Tumblr/etc. page.
  2. You can post the same content on the same network multiple times, just in case, your followers haven’t seen it the first time. Life of a Tweet, for example, is only about 5 minutes. So only by posting it 3 or 4 times (on different days and different hours), you can be sure that most of your audience has seen it.

12. How to handle negative comments on social media?

  1. Fast. Use a Social Media Monitoring tool to be there right away for any outraged customer. Research shows that people take it better when their complained is answered too quickly, even if the problem is not solved.
  2. Act friendly and personal. Try to show that you understand the problem and are being as helpful as possible.
  3. Use humor if appropriate to your brand image.
  4. Never argue (remember trolls) and never delete any comments (remember Print Screen).

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