Social Media Marketing isn’t new, but everybody makes it sound like it’s the coolest thing since the internet. It probably is, judging by how much of the budget goes to it and how much of the collective effort is devoted to perfecting it. No one can or ever will, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. One of the people whose calling card shouts social media marketing expert shares some valuable insights to us. Here’s Mike Allton of The Social Media Hat.
The Savvy Marketer: You’re one of the most influential thought leaders in Social Media Marketing. Tell me, how do you create and maintain a vibrant online community?
Mike Allton: Creating a vibrant online community is not easy. In fact, I’ll be the first to point out that there are many who are far more adept than I am at community building (i.e. Martin Shervington). But, what I tend to do well is to create helpful content and make sure that it’s distributed to all of my channels in ideal ways.
That means, first, understanding my audience’s needs and creating articles that fit that need. And then, when sharing to social, making sure that I do so in the best way possible for each network – use hashtags, formatting, etc.
While I certainly share new content (and evergreen articles) to all of my major networks, I tend to rotate which network I’m actually focused on and spending additional time on so that they all get equal coverage. Most businesses should, instead, focus on just one or two primary networks (as a social media marketer, I feel obliged to be familiar with them all).
TSM: No matter how prolific and efficient you are on social media, if it can’t be measured, it’s almost an exercise in futility. What are the most important sales-centric social media metrics we should track?
MA: Businesses need to measure:
- Follower Growth– While the number itself can be a vanity metric, it’s still important to pay attention to the rate at which you’re growing your audience and ensure that it is in fact growing.
- Engagement & Reach– Next, pay attention to the percentage of that audience that your social posts are reaching, and how much engagement (likes / comments / shares) those posts are receiving. Again, these are metrics that should be trending upwards.
- Referral Traffic– Next, watch how much traffic your site and content receives from each individual network, and pay attention to how that trends over time. If you’re regularly creating new content, you’ll likely see spikes in referrals each time you publish something new, which is fine. You’ll also though want to see continued organic traffic from your own and other’s shares of older content.
- Conversions– Finally, you must be able to measure conversions. Whether it’s sales, leads, email subscribers or something else, measure it. The easiest way to measure is to create Google Analytics Goals so that you can then review where those conversions have come from.
TSM: How can we organically grow our Twitter followers/Facebook friends, etc?
MA: Organic growth of any particular social channel is done through a variety of methods:
- Follow and engage with other people in your niche.
- Create good, engaging posts.
- Participate in group activities (i.e. Tweet Chats, Facebook Group Discussions)
- Reference your social profile in emails, website, etc. so that people can find you.
TSM: What are the biggest social media trends to prepare for in the next couple of years?
MA: The biggest trend currently in social media is video, specifically, live video. Businesses need to consider how they can leverage what is currently an insatiable appetite for video.
Whether it’s live video or pre-recorded. Whether you’re interviewing experts or demonstrating your own expertise. Whether you’re showing off a product or answering questions – video can be a tremendous asset to any business.