No one can doubt the power of social media with its demonstrable ability to shift market trends and courses of actions. The growing size of the online networks connects billions of people around the world.
Marketing’s duty is to turn the potential of the network into real world results for the owners, investors, employees, and customers. One way to accomplish this is by using social media to direct fans towards the company’s website. An effective social media campaign can do this in a few clicks.
Know Your Audience
Whenever you communicate, it is vital to know who the target of the message is and how best to frame the information to achieve your desired result. Since the goal is pushing website traffic via social media, all you need to do is define your target. This is easy when you create personas that best represent the major demographics within your target audience. If you already have target profiles for your media team, adjust them for the typical demographics of each social media service’s user base.
Pick Your Battle
The fundamental rule of networking is that the value of a network increases exponentially with its size. Facebook has been one of the clear choices across every demographic for years with more than 1.5 billion active users in 2016. But the trailing pack can shift dramatically over a short period of time. Some services also get a level of attention that boosts their user numbers, like Twitter’s frequent use in live broadcasts on TV. Rank your possible social media services according to the rate that your target demographic uses them. Setup media accounts on as many as is reasonable within your budget and time capacity.
Building a Social Media Persona
Your customers are used to interacting with other people in their social network. The intrusion of an obvious marketing agenda can be offensive if they’re not expecting it. Try to focus on maintaining a consistent persona that users will come to recognize over time. Your posts should all originate from this persona, whether it’s the faceless voice of company activity or an enthusiastic mascot. Keep in mind that more extreme personalities may be difficult to maintain through account manager changes.
Make Effective Use of Tagging
To help users sort through the quagmire of posts to find things that interest them, most social media services include some method of assigning one or more categories to public messages. The most iconic representation of this is the “#” hashtag, popularized by Twitter. Take a look at the tagging rules, search algorithms, and how users interact with tags before you craft your plan of attack.
The rules on how best to use the tags will vary between services. For example, with 30 tags to play with per post on Instagram, it may make perfect sense to use one of them as the company name or a company branding phrase. If you try to brand every post on your Twitter accounts with the same tag, you’ll eat into the precious character count while likely aggravating your followers. Instead, Twitter hashtags are better spent on placing your posts in active topics with relevant content.
Cross-Referencing Your Customer Engagement Methods
It’s a mistake to let your social media travel alone in a sea of possible contacts, directing the flow of resources it discovers to your website without receiving any help in return. If your website runs on WordPress, embedding social media links is an easy feature to add. You can even place a live Twitter feed into a WordPress page. This gives visitors a stream of live social activity that can reinforce their decision to engage with your business, both financially and socially.
Every social media service you use should occasionally redirect to the others since users who interact with the company may have widely different contact lists across their social networks.
You’ll also want to push your social media accounts in your direct ads and company collateral. Updating your business cards, newspaper ads, television spots, and billboards with accounts linked to your active social media campaigns should be done as soon as possible.
Working with Other Businesses
Small to medium businesses tend to rely on other companies for everything from day to day operations to reliably getting their product to customers. You should follow the same paradigm with your social media strategy. Actively seek out the accounts of businesses that work with your company and engaging with them through public posts.
A simple example would be a tweet that thanks them for their latest assistance in a project with tagging that advances both of your brands. The extra B2B connectivity may also directly drive sales if you have services marketed towards other SMBs.
The adage of “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” is just as tenuously true for social media engagement as it is elsewhere. Don’t be afraid to engage with competing brands as well. With a deft social hand, you may be able to ride their social network to “steal” contacts and drive engagement.
Posting Your Links in a Digestible Format
The last step in moving from a lively social media account to higher website traffic is posting blog links. Some services make it easy. Like Facebook’s ability to crawl a posted link and create a more informative window that can include a picture, header, and some of the website’s text. On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll want to use a link shortener on your Twitter posts, or you may not even be able to post the link at all.
Even if the site has a button to share the link, you should include some text to make it flow naturally. When crafting the text of the post, remember the steps that came earlier. Include tags to give it visibility to users. Remember to post from the perspective of the persona. Especially try to include expressions of their emotions to connect with people on a deeper level. Make sure to hit every social media service to maximize the amount of cross-exposure between your campaigns.
Always Keep Learning
The phenomenon of social media and the global network are continuing to produce more revelations about human and market behavior. What works for a marketing strategy now may be obsolete within the next year. It’s imperative that you regularly go through this process to ensure your campaigns are working effectively to drive customers to your website.