With the first half of 2015 in the books, it’s a good time for companies to take a hard look at how their social media plans are performing and to make the necessary changes to finish the year strong.
SocialCentiv, whose marketing software tool helps businesses find new customers on Twitter, today outlined steps that organizations can take to assess their social media strategy at the 6-month mark to improve and polish performance by year’s end.
“Sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest offer marketers revolutionary tools for reaching and interacting with the buying public,” says Bernard Perrine, co-founder and CEO of SocialCentiv. “But as in any other area of endeavour, these tools are only as effective as the person who wields them.”
Not sure where to start your social media audit? Perrine offers tips to help.
1. Review your goals. Social media for social media’s sake isn’t helpful. It’s important to know 1) your end goals, 2) who you want to reach and 3) what you want them to do. The answers to these questions will vary with every business. While the end game may be the same in all cases—getting people to buy the company’s products or services—the particular audience segment a firm wants to reach will be unique, as will the best role that social channels can play in turning prospects into customers.
“The owner of a local pizzeria may want her eatery’s Twitter followers to go to its web site and order slices online,” Perrine says. “A management consultant, on the other hand, may want to increase his stature as a thought leader in leading corporate turnarounds. These two businesses’ respective goals require totally different strategies in order to become reality.”
2. Check out customer comments. Quick searches should give you a good idea on how people are rating the quality of your products and service. You may be surprised—and dismayed—not only by what’s says, but who is saying it.
“Even at small companies, well-meaning but misguided employees sometimes set up profiles for their employers without bothering to tell the boss,” Perrine says. “All of this can create a host of issues, from confusing customers to leaking trade secrets. We recommend putting together a very clear social media policy for all employees to sign.”
Similarly, it’s important to monitor what people are saying about your business on social media. Customers take to platforms like Twitter to provide feedback that, while sometimes harsh, can also be important for corporate leaders to hear. Tools like Mention, HootSuite, Talkwalker and Social Mention can all help with your efforts.
3. Evaluate the brand position on social media. To ensure brand consistency, accuracy and effectiveness, you need to check that everything from product information, profile pictures and headers contain consistent, updated logos, images and color schemes.
Other elements of the analysis include determining how many posts include images, which tend to increase engagement – such as generating more Retweets on Twitter, what your competitors are up to on social media, and evaluating how you engage with others on social media.
Metrics are also important to collect. This effort can be simple, such as using the page insights that Facebook provides, or something more sophisticated, such as through third party technology, notably Followerwonk’s data crunching and graphing service for brands that use Twitter.
“There are a lot of resources out there to help execute a successful social media strategy,” says Perrine. “Don’t feel like these are simple, do-it-yourself platforms. They aren’t. You wouldn’t design and print a brochure all by yourself. You’d need help. Treat your social media efforts the same way.”