Make the most of your social media in 3 steps

By: Kate Mason

By: Kate Mason

With 4 out of 5 internet users on social media, and 50 percent of those users following branded organizations, it is time to take your social media by the reins.

Here are a few tips for maximizing your social strategy … 

1. SET SOCIAL GOALS        

All good business plans start with clearly defined goals, and the same applies to strategic social media planning.

Goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time bound and fit in with your organization's holistic communications and business plan. 

goals

In fact, integrating your communication materials into your social sharing can be effective in developing brand awareness and distinguishing your organization from the pack...but you can’t measure the success of your social media endeavors without first setting goals for what you hope to get out of social sharing. 

Is your goal to attract more followers?  Do you want your followers to donate to a project or sign up for a service?  Are you hoping to grow your mailing list?  Would you like more views on your blog posts?  Are you looking for more people to comment on and share your content?

Established goals will allow you to measure your conversion and success rates and use that information to make adjustments to your current social media approach. 

2. ENGAGE YOUR AUDIENCE BY ASKING QUESTIONS

Just as in fundraising, successful social media marketing requires relationship building.

The best way to build a strong following and create important relationships that turn into clientele or long-term supporters is to acknowledge and connect with your audience.  Ask questions, engage your audience in conversation, share their relevant content, and thank them for engaging with yours! 

Social media users are most likely to respond to posts that ask questions beginning with “Why” and “Should”.  People have opinions and they like to share them!  Give them the opportunity to do so, and boost your organization’s social engagement at the same time.

According to a recent study by Pew Research Center, 89% of internet users between the ages of 18-29, 78% of internet users aged 30-49, and 43% of internet users 65 and older are using social media sites.  Baby boomers, those between the ages of 49 and 67, also represent 43% of online giving.  Be aware of your visitor’s demographics and focus your outreach.

3. USE ANALYTICS TO EVALUATE PERFORMANCE

We recommend you set up goals and track conversions using Google Analytics.  Google Analytics is a comprehensive analytics tool that can be used alongside Facebook analytics and other internal analytics tools to help you track your social reach. 

An easy how-to explanation for setting up goal tracking in Google Analytics can be found here: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2013/05/making-it-easier-to-measure-your-goals.html

Once you’ve established goals in Google Analytics, you’re able to see your conversion rates, that is, how many people are carrying out the goals you’ve set. 

You can also see the flow of traffic, how users landed on your page and what steps they took before fulfilling your goal.  This can be useful, for example, if you see many users are having to follow a long channel before landing on a page with the content you want them to ultimately interact with.  That long click-through process may be preventing you from receiving maximum traffic.  You could consider restructuring your navigation system so fewer clicks would be necessary to achieve the same end result.

Social Media marketing is an evolving medium that requires constant evaluation and increased flexibility, but establishing good goal setting, engagement and analytics habits early on in your strategic planning will allow you to stay ahead of the curve.