Social media has become an indispensable marketing tool in little more than a decade. Are you using it in the most beneficial way possible for your company? Download our guide to using social media to generate leads and maximize ROI.
Download the E-book and get:
• Why there’s no avoiding having a plan for social media marketing
• Insight into 7 social media platforms and their unique marketing uses
• Who among your customer base uses the top social media platforms
• Which marketing content works best in which social media
• 5 tools that make social media marketing more efficient
• How analytics measures social media campaign performance
• The key metrics for judging the success of your social media marketing
• How to calculate ROI from social media campaigns
Digital Marketing with Social Media:
Marketing with Social Media
In the span of a little more than a decade, social media went from being a novelty communication tool to one of the primary marketing channels for many businesses.
Not only is social media marketing a fun and user-friendly way to reach consumers, it’s incredibly lucrative. In fact, social media advertising revenue will reach $9.8 billion by the end of 2016.
This is just part of the reason why 96 percent of small business owners/marketers use this medium in some form. More importantly, 34 percent agree that social media is critical for small business, and 58 percent strongly agree.
Acknowledging the inherent value of social media and understanding how to capitalize on it has become a necessity to compete within most industries. In this guide, we will discuss the fundamentals of social media marketing and how to use it as a means of generating consistent leads and maximizing your ROI.
We will also highlight some of the top social networks and how to extract the most from them.
Understanding the Value of Social Media Marketing
Researchers have found that salespeople who have an excellent understanding of the use of social media for prospecting, nurturing relationships and closing deals are over six times as likely to exceed their quota than sales peers with rudimentary or no social media skills.
Furthermore, “74 percent of overachievers are skilled social media users, and 36 percent of underachievers are unskilled social media users.”
This makes it hard to deny the correlation between social media aptitude and marketing success.
Is it just a coincidence that the top performing salespeople are adept at social media and their lower performing counterparts are not? That’s highly unlikely.
By looking at these numbers, it’s easy to see just how valuable social media is. Those who “get it” have a decided advantage over those who don’t.
You must also take into account that a third of millennials (people born roughly between 1982 and 2002) claim that social media is one of their preferred mediums for communicating with companies. With this generation being one of the main demographics businesses now cater to, it only makes sense that social media should be a top priority.
The Real ROI of Social Media and How to Find It
Although there is a plethora of metrics social media marketers will want to track, ROI is one of the most important. You’ll obviously want to know how much profit you’re making in comparison to the amount of money you’re pumping into your campaign.
While it’s impossible to nail down an average ROI because of the nearly infinite number of variables involved with social media marketing, here are a few examples from companies that have crushed it and that show the potential:
- Dell achieved $3 million in sales for its Dell Outlet via Twitter.
- Starwood made $2 million via one Facebook campaign.
- VMware obtained more than 1,600 percent ROI hosting a live Google+ Hangout.
There are four steps involved in calculating ROI:
- Create conversion goals.
- Track your conversions.
- Assign a monetary value to each conversion (e.g., you make $15 per download).
- Determine your total costs.
From there, you subtract your costs x 100 from your benefits, and divide this number by your costs. Here’s a visual breakdown:
If you’re looking for a comprehensive outline of how to calculate social media ROI, check out this infographic from QuickSprout.
ZMOT and FMOT and How They Have Changed Social Users
Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) describes a point when a consumer is researching a product. This is prior to the purchase, and in some cases, the consumer may not even know that the product exists yet. They may still be on a search engine.
First Moment of Truth (FMOT) is when a consumer is actually standing in front of a product and looking at it.
Social media has had a dramatic effect on the ZMOT because many consumers now use social media to perform research prior to deciding whether to make a purchase. With smartphone usage being at an all-time high, it’s never been more convenient for consumers to perform in-depth research quickly and conveniently.
In fact, “79 percent of Americans use a smartphone to help with shopping.”
Promoting your company, having positive reviews, engaging with customers and building brand awareness through social media can have a major impact on the ZMOT. In turn, this can be an influencing factor when consumers are actually looking at your product and comparing it with other brands.
If you’ve built the perception of quality and value, and appeal to your consumer’s emotions, this is going to work to your favor.
Twitter: The Big Picture and The Future of Twitter
When it comes to social networks that receive the most attention and exposure, you could make the point that Twitter is only second to Facebook. Since its launch in 2006, it has experienced major growth and is a cornerstone of the social realm.
As of mid-2016, it had 313 million users, with roughly a third of those users being active daily.
This makes Twitter a marketer’s playground and, when used correctly, it can be a valuable channel for building brand exposure and generating ongoing leads.
The Big Picture of Twitter
But does Twitter truly live up to all of the hype?
More importantly, is it a network that you should devote a lot of your time to?
Like when using social media in general, getting tangible results tends to take time. It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon.
For that reason, it’s important that you see the big picture when approaching Twitter. But when you put in the time to build a strong foundation and grow your audience, you can expect to see some several benefits. In particular, you can:
- Create a unique and personable brand identity
- Connect with your audience in an intimate manner
- Allow your personality and company culture to shine through
- Build a community around your brand
- Drive consistent traffic to your website
- Generate quality leads
- Perform market research.
Where is Twitter Going and Why Should You Care?
Many experts have grim expectations of Twitter’s future. Some are predicting a “digital death sentence” simply because “in the digital world, the equivalent of every organization doing business anywhere in the world dies every 8.5 years.”
Considering that Twitter is already 10 years old, this doesn’t sound promising.
And while you could make the argument that Twitter peaked a few years ago and that it may not necessarily be viable 10 years from now, it’s hard to deny that it’s still highly effective from a marketing perspective at least in the short-term.
Countless companies are still seeing significant results, and continue to use Twitter as one of their primary social networks.
Here are some key statistics that show why you should care about Twitter marketing:
- 65.8 percent of U.S. companies use Twitter for marketing purposes.
- 23 percent of millennials follow a brand on Twitter.
- 47 percent of people who follow a brand on Twitter are more likely to visit that company’s website.
Using Twitter to Spy on Competitors and Gain Customers
One of the best features of Twitter is that it makes analyzing the competition incredibly easy, and it can be done with great stealth. Of course you could simply follow key competitors to see what they’re up to, what they’re tweeting about, who they’re engaging with, check their replies, etc.
But if you want to be a bit more secretive about it, you can always create a private Twitter list and add the accounts of any companies of interest. This can be done by clicking on “Lists” from your homepage drop-down menu and then clicking “Create new list” on the right-hand side. Just be sure to choose “Private” so that only you can access the list.
Twitter can also be the catalyst for an influx of new leads – many who can be converted into valuable customers.
Whether you subtly promote your product by mentioning it in your timeline, link to relevant posts that feature your product, or use promoted tweets, Twitter is an excellent resource for getting attention from your target audience.
LinkedIn: Advancing Your Career With LinkedIn
Of all the social networks available, LinkedIn is quite possibly the best for B2B marketing purposes. Some experts have even gone so far as to dub it “the king of B2B networks.”
While other platforms are often more casual, LinkedIn is your best bet if you’re using social media for professional networking purposes.
As of mid-2015, LinkedIn had 380 million users, and 63 percent of marketers have reported positive results when implementing it into the sales cycle.
Whether you’re looking to connect directly with industry professionals to unlock career advancement opportunities, make key contacts or simply promote your business, you can do all three on LinkedIn.
How to Use LinkedIn to Your Advantage
The great thing about this platform is the fact that you can use it for business, marketing and professional networking. In other words, you can accomplish multiple goals by running a single campaign.
By filling out your LinkedIn profile completely, you can provide other users with plenty of information on your background, qualifications and expertise. You can also feature your company and any other projects you have your hand in.
Besides this, there are multiple ways to prove your credibility. For instance, you can add professional recommendations and publish posts to relevant industry content. You also have the opportunity to join LinkedIn groups or create your own to make valuable connections with like-minded individuals.
Here’s just a small sample of the types of groups you can find.
Making the Best Use of Your Time and Your Next Steps
It sounds cliché, but getting the most out of LinkedIn begins with creating a thorough profile and fully optimizing it. Some specific examples include:
- Using a professional headshot for your profile picture
- Filling out all applicable areas such as skills, education, summary, experience, etc.
- Adding a few recommendations
- Including keywords to help you attain greater visibility in search engines.
You’ll also want to stay engaged on this network and be sure that you’re putting forth legitimate effort to make connections. For example, you’ll want to:
- Invite other professionals to connect (don’t just wait for others to connect with you)
- Reach out to existing contacts who are active on LinkedIn
- Check who’s viewed your profile and reach out to relevant individuals
- Join groups
- Consider starting your own group
- Consistently publish content.
But this is just the beginning. You can learn a lot more about thriving on LinkedIn by checking out this guide from HubSpot.
Facebook: Lead Gen and Ecommerce Using Facebook
As we all know, Facebook is without a doubt the biggest player in the game and the undeniable titan of the social realm. It’s the face that runs the place.
Recent research from mid-2016 found that it had 1.7 billion active users with the key word here being “active.” User engagement is also off the charts, and 66.1 percent of people use it daily. And let’s be honest, Facebook has an addictive quality to it, and many people just can’t help but to compulsively check it.
And although it was founded in 2004, which is old in internet years, users are showing no signs of tiring of it. In fact, usership has never been higher.
This graph from Statista demonstrates firsthand how the number of monthly active users on Facebook has grown between 2008 and 2016:
The bottom line is that Facebook is still considered the No. 1 go-to social network for most marketers, regardless of industry. If you know what you’re doing and understand how to effectively reach your audience on Facebook, you’re almost guaranteed to get results.
Generating Leads with Facebook
When you look at the sheer volume of people who use this juggernaut of a network every day and the level of engagement, it’s easy to see why it’s so effective for generating leads.
One of the quickest and most direct ways to do this is to simply use Facebook Ads. This allows you to narrow in on a targeted demographic to ensure that you’re bringing in highly qualified leads that are ready to buy. The best part is that Facebook Ads is designed to accommodate marketing budgets of any size, and you can run an ad for as little as $5.
Or you can take a more organic approach where you gradually build your audience and promote your product/service by including calls-to-action in your posts. This tends to work well when you’re more interested in nurturing your leads and gradually moving them through the sales funnel.
Ecommerce and Selling on Facebook
There’s good news if you’re looking to sell directly on Facebook. You can do just that by adding a shop to your page. And since the average Facebook user spends 20+ minutes a day on this network, you can are making sales without requiring your customers jump through a bunch of hoops.
Here’s an example of what a typical shop looks like:
Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat and Google+
As a social media marketer, you shouldn’t forget that there are several other networks out there besides Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Depending upon your target audience and goals, any or all of the following networks can be instrumental in taking your campaign to the next level.
As of mid-2015, Pinterest had 100 million active users, and 30 percent of all U.S. social media users were on this network.
In case you’re unfamiliar with it, Pinterest revolves around people creating “boards” that they “pin” content onto. It’s an image-centric platform with a crisp, clean and somewhat minimalist design that’s very appealing to the eye.
One of the more interesting aspects of this network is that it has an overwhelming female demographic. In fact, 85 percent of users are women. This makes it ideal if you’re trying to connect with this audience.
Some of the top industries that thrive on Pinterest include:
- Home décor and remodeling
- Arts and crafts
- Dieting and fitness
You should also know that “93 percent of pinners shopped online in the past six months.”
A study from Shopify even found that “people referred by Pinterest are 10 percent more likely to make a purchase on ecommerce sites than users of other social networks.”
The bottom line here is that it’s fairly easy to make conversions when marketing on Pinterest. Many users already have the mindset to buy, and if your business falls into any of the aforementioned industries, it’s strongly recommended that you become active on Pinterest.
Would you believe that Instagram already has 500 million monthly active users and 300 million daily active users? It’s true.
Although this platform has only been around since 2010 (considerably less than Facebook and Twitter), its usership has swelled, and it’s never been more popular. In fact, 20 percent of total internet users are on Instagram.
It revolves around a very simple premise, which is posting images and short videos under your profile. From there, others can like and comment.
Although the idea of marketing on Instagram is fairly new, it has plenty of potential, especially when you know how to do it right. For instance, it’s perfect if you’re looking to showcase a product with strong visual elements that tend to resonate with users.
It also serves as an excellent outlet for branding. When you or your customers post pictures with your product, it will reinforce your brand image.
Here’s a great example from Starbucks:
Released in late 2011, this is one of the newer social networks. Despite being an up-and-comer, Snapchat still has 100 million daily active users, and there are 9,000 “snaps” (photos shared) on this network every second.
As you might imagine, it’s popular with a younger demographic, and 30 percent of millennials use it regularly.
Numerous big brands like the NBA, GrubHub and Audi already use Snapchat in some capacity, and more companies are likely to follow suit.
One of the main selling points of this platform as a marketing tool is the level of intimacy it can create between brands and their audiences. For instance, you can deliver private content that only your Snapchat followers have access to, and with it provide direct access to live events.
In turn, you can create a very personal campaign and give your business a feeling of authenticity that’s difficult to achieve by other means.
Unfortunately, Google+ isn’t what it used to be. In fact, many people regard it as Google’s failed attempt to rival Facebook.
There have even been countless articles and blog posts written about how terrible of a platform it is, and how it’s basically a social media graveyard.
But despite all of this, Google+ can still be a useful marketing tool if you take the right approach.
For instance, it’s useful for demonstrating your industry knowledge and showcasing your expertise on a particular topic. Here’s an example of how Gary Vaynerchuk promoted one of his seminars:
It also provides you with a way to engage with your audience and build key relationships in your industry. By creating “circles,” you can easily group all of your contacts in one place, which can come in handy for networking purposes.
Social Media and Content Marketing
Content marketing has become one of the most insanely effective tactics for reaching an audience, increasing site traffic and ultimately making conversions.
Successful content marketers continue to see major results, and “61 percent of consumers are influenced by custom content.”
Social media plays an integral role in content marketing because it provides an efficient ways to distribute content to a brand’s audience.
Say you wrote an in-depth, comprehensive blog post about a topic pertaining to your industry. If you simply posted it on your blog and did nothing else, it would probably receive some attention but nothing over the top unless you had a significant number of readers.
But if you took that post and posted it to a variety of social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on, you could potentially double, triple or even quadruple the amount of exposure it receives.
Why Content Marketing Works for All Social Campaigns
Content marketing and social media go together like peanut butter and jelly. The reason why content marketing is so effective is simple. It allows you to go to where your prospects are.
Regardless of the specifics of your social media campaign, content marketing is a viable strategy because it’s inherently versatile and completely customizable.
No matter the audience you’re trying to reach and what type of content you’re creating (e.g. blog posts, videos or slideshows), you know for sure that you can distribute your content through social media.
What Content Works Best on Each Network?
Here’s a breakdown of what content formats tend to do best on the networks we’ve discussed:
- Twitter – Commentary on industry trends, images, humorous tweets, list-based and how-to articles.
- LinkedIn – Career advice, self-improvement stories, shorter articles under 1,000 words.
- Facebook – Inspirational quotes, memes and images.
- Pinterest – High-definition images with moderate or light color, DIY content, recipes, and food and drink content.
- Instagram – Customer-centric photos (e.g. user generated content), employee-centric photos, images with bold colors.
- Snapchat – Exclusive content and behind-the-scenes snaps.
- Google+ – GIFs, infographics and videos.
If you’re looking for more of an overarching trend across all networks, this graph from OkDork is quite telling and can direct your path. This data was generated by analyzing 100 million articles.
Another way to maximize the engagement of your content is to understand which emotions to evoke. This pie chart shows us which emotions are likely to get the biggest response.
Social Media Analytics
As with just about any other form of marketing, utilizing social media analytics is incredibly important. Doing so allows you to spot patterns and trends so that you can make key adjustments to optimize your campaign and increase your odds of long-term success.
One of the first discoveries you’ll make with social media analytics is which networks are performing the best. For example, maybe Twitter and Instagram are bringing you a boatload of qualified leads that are resulting in conversions, while Facebook isn’t necessarily carrying its weight and only driving a minimal amount of traffic to your site.
You’ll also be able to tell what your audience’s engagement level is like. For instance, you can determine which types of content are getting shared and commented on the most.
As you accumulate a bit of data, it will become more obvious what your audience’s habits and preferences are, which will help you modify your campaign and inevitably improve it.
Some other key metrics you’ll be able to measure include:
- Funnels (e.g. the paths that users are taking before converting)
- Response rate
- Audience growth rate.
How to Find Out What Campaigns are Working the Best
There are numerous social media analytics tools available, though some are more sophisticated than others. If you’re just looking to gain a brief overview of which networks are bringing the most traffic to your site, Google Analytics is a great tool to use. The basic version is completely free, and it will give you a bird’s eye view of what’s happening.
Simply click on “Acquisition” and then “Social” from your GA dashboard.
From here, you can take a look at “Overview” to see how much traffic each network is bringing to your site.
“Network Referrals” will let you know how many specific page views you’re getting, along with the average session duration and pages per session.
“Users Flow” offers a visual layout of which areas of your website visitors are landing on and how they’re exploring your site afterward.
Although GA doesn’t offer the robust metrics of some other analytics platforms, it’s more than sufficient for getting a quick snapshot of which social networks are working the best.
What Tools You Need to Be the Best
If you’re looking to take your social campaign to the next level and want detailed insights into its performance, there are a variety of tools that can help.
HootSuite is one of the best known and most popular social media management platforms, and will provide you with accurate reporting on major social networks. It also has a user-friendly interface that’s fairly easy to learn.
Buffer is another social media management tool that allows you to schedule posts, create personalized content and track the progress of your campaign.
Followerwonk is an app from Moz that’s specifically designed for Twitter. This lets you learn more about your followers, determine what your influence is like and locate influencers in your industry.
Also, there’s Cyfe. It will provide you with plenty of visual reporting on things like brand mentions, give you valuable data about your demographic, and allow you to track how your following grows over time.
If you’re looking for more information on other social media analytics tools, check out this list from Keyhole.