You're tasked with launching a social initiative or making social media marketing work. You're given the keys with strong expectations that social will just work for your organization and drive brand awareness and ultimately, sales.
The question: is there really a social ROI? And what can you do about it as the master of the keys to your social media marketing success?
Too often social media is handed off to digital marketing directors or marketing managers who are just too busy to focus on creating and managing an optimal social media brand experience. What happens then is that those social media keys are generally passed on and on to people in the marketing department that seem to have this time to make social work. The handoff is troublesome.
Further, the final person tasked to manage social media most often is not equipped with the knowledge and experience to do it right.
How can you ensure a positive ROI from social media marketing activity with the complexities of resources and related responsibilities? The following steps will help you to solve the social media marketing assignment challenge.
Step 1: Talk to Your Executives About Social Before They Make a Poor Hand-Off
During my recent presentation at SES Toronto, I shared the ways in which executives need to start thinking about social to see the big picture of investing and reaping its rewards. Executives who pay attention to the bottom line need to take the time to plan for social media marketing to ensure positive ROI.
If you're one of the lucky few with a CEO who appreciates the time, thought, and money that goes into social, the conversation should be simple. Once you've shared the insights as to how social media can benefit all areas of an organization and visualize to the executives how this works, then they will be in a better position to hand-off to the right people with instructions to make it work.
Step 2: Prep a Team Before the Hand-Off
Assuming that you're a digital marketing manager, marketing manager, or VP of marketing reading this article, you probably have a team of underlings and a peer team from IT at your disposal. If that is indeed the case, you will want to review these resources and define appropriate roles, support levels, and decision trees.
The key in making a social media marketing team work well is to have buy-in from the right resources. Social media marketing is a huge time investment.
Further, it needs to be done by people with the skills, experience and knowledge to do it well. Make sure you're interviewing people for the team well before a launch.
Step 3: Have a Weekly Content Plan Ready to Roll
In those planning meetings with your future social media marketing team, start to brainstorm first and then write out a weekly content plan. Note that the success of this plan will be measured by the success of the content plan and related engagement, target growth and online brand sentiment.
When thinking about your content plan, think how the content you will create and publish will fit the mission and culture of your organization and the value of the products and services you provide. Think how the content will engage the audience by what type of content they prefer and where, in social media, they digest this content.
Step 4: Carefully Measure the Success of Your Social Media Team
Like any other marketing initiative and related vehicle, measurement is of the utmost importance. It isn't enough to measure success metrics in social, such as likes, fans, followers, connects, subscribers and the like.
Each team member who contributes to your social media program must be audited on a frequent basis. This includes your graphic designer, developer, PR person, publicist, online media manager, web analytics person, social media manager, subject matter experts and bloggers.
If social media marketing isn't your core business, you'll need to do this often. If you do invest heavily in these types of programs, many times it makes sense to bring in a social media consultant to help in the beginning to get things rolling and team aligned appropriately.
Step 5: Ensure Your ROI When Investing Your Money and Time in Social Media Marketing
The question executives always ask about social media marketing is how to measure an effective ROI from related efforts. As a digital marketing director, you need to be constantly aware and measuring success in social.
During the social media set-up phase, you want to make sure that your analytics are set up to measure traffic coming from each social channel. You will also want to make sure that your social media monitoring tools such as Viralheat, Hootsuite, and others are set up to track groups of traffic-driving keywords, just as you would a PPC campaign.
Besides measurement of social analytics, you also need to test your return on investment in your people and outside sources continually.
The role of the digital marketing director today is more complex than it has ever been and it's only getting more so due to the nature of social media being a 24/7 job. That's why it's crucial for digital marketing directors to plan ahead and constantly have someone qualified on their team to measure the results of related programs and campaigns against the time, effort and spend dedicated to social media marketing.
If you're a digital marketing director, and utilize any of the five steps above, I would love to know your results. To your social media marketing success!