How to Drive Real Value From Social Media

Social media marketing may be on trend, but the efforts you make in these outlets need to have a demonstrable effect on your business, proving their return on investment (ROI) just as any other strategy would. Social media allows brands to drive higher levels of engagement and provide richer customer experiences, but it can do so at a premium, so experimenting with different methods and trying to discern the best way to derive value from these channels can be costly.

And while it’s critical to your business’s success that you don’t waste valuable time and resources on platforms that just don’t give back what you put in, it’s even more important to get a handle on what works in your social media strategy, since you’ll want to dedicate even more energy to pursuing those tactics.

In order to gain the most value from your social media marketing efforts, start by focusing on the following elements.

Drive Your Organic Reach

Here’s the cold, hard truth: 70-80 percent of sponsored ads are ignored in favor of organic search results. The bad news? This means that even if your budget is endless and you’re willing to pay top dollar for a prime position at the top of the Google search results page, you might end up being disappointed with your ROI. The good news? Even if your budget isn’t endless and you don’t want to pay much of anything for a prime position on the results page, you can still earn way more traffic (and revenue) through better a SEO strategy.

And if you’re intimidated by SEO because you’ve been burned by bad investments in the past or feel as though you can’t get a firm grip on all the nuances of the strategy, there’s even better news. SEO doesn’t have to be that hard. Caleb Ulku, the founder of Ulku logistics, explains just how manageable improving your SEO marketing can be: “Ignore what people say about keyword density, H1 tags, and other esoteric SEO-specific terms. Write long and well, earn back links with outreach to other reputable sites, and your products will rank.”

What does that look like? Ulku suggests a few 2,000 word articles about those products linked back to the product pages — think long, authoritative content, he says. “If I wanted to rank a Star Wars product, I would write a long product description about Star Wars,” he elaborates. “Then, I would write articles about Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, lightsabers, etc. and link them all back to the Star Wars product.”

That’s it. Generate high-quality content with natural backlinks that consumers want to click through. That’s all you worry about to start improving your SEO, driving your organic reach and generating more value for your business.

Grow Your Brand’s Footprint

With the constant barrage of articles, videos, snaps, tweets, emails, messages, and content of all shapes and sizes pummeling audiences 24/7, it’s understandably challenging for emerging brands to break through the noise and reach their markets. Kip Skibicki, the founder of Top Notch Threads and Starchild Music Management, knows just how hard it is to break through the digital content void. “I would rather produce one great piece of content a week and spend the time sending it to audiences and customers who care about the context than produce five pieces of throw-away content a day,” he reasons, echoing Ulku’s sentiment that growth begins and ends with quality content. “I have found that building a solid brand foundation takes time, and if you rush it by jumping on the overproduction bandwagon, you risk alienating your core audience.”

Instead, focus on growing your brand’s footprint by building a bridge to your customers, who may desire to connect with you through a variety of channels. “Your ‘very responsive to messages’ badge on Facebook doesn’t mean much if the customers you want to reach use Snapchat,” explains Allison Smith, Forrester analyst on Lithium. “Bridge that disconnect by building relevant digital customer experiences wherever you think you may find your target audience..”

One high-quality piece of content tailored to suit several major social media markets will have a much bigger impact on your business than focusing on the generation of as much content as possible at any cost. In fact, businesses which focus on creating the right content for their audiences enjoy conversion rates nearly six times higher (2.9 percent vs. 0.5 percent) than that of their competitors, according to an Aberdeen study as cited by Neil Patel.

Strengthen Your Customer Relations

Social media marketing is all about building relationships with consumers through thoughtful content and authentic engagement online. One effective way to strengthen consumer relations while generating more original content to drive traffic to your page is by inviting your customers to participate actively in your social content.

Take a look at online bridal boutique Azazie’s social media presence for a great example of establishing social proof and encouraging word-of-mouth brand loyalty. Their Pinterest page, for instance, has over 20,000 followers and is flooded with real brides and bridesmaids who showcased their custom bridal gowns on the big day. Featuring real-life weddings as part of their brand on their social media channels speaks volumes about the relationships they have with their customers.

If you’re tired of spinning your wheels without gaining any real forward momentum in your social media marketing strategy, it’s time to get back to basics. Focus on engaging your target consumer to develop a stronger connection with customers through relevant content.

How do you drive value from your social media marketing efforts?