6 Essentials for Profitable Social Media Marketing

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This article is taken from the Build Your Queue podcast below, Season 2 Episode 16 with Mickey Cloud, Executive Director of The Sasha Group (a VaynerX company).

You want to turn social media into a profitable marketing channel for your business, but how do you spend your resources and time to do it?

Your customers and target audience are already spending time on social media, but before you can capture their attention, you’ll need to consider:

  • How can social media help your business?
  • How do you set expectations for the amount of work and time it’ll take?
  • How can you determine if your social media strategy is gaining traction?
  • What will help your content earn the most engagement and reach?
  • How do you scale your campaigns as your company grows?
  • What’s the first step to starting your social media strategy?

We’ll help you answer these questions, so you can stand out on social media platforms and make profitable returns on your investments. Keep reading, or listen to the full audio in the player above.

1. How can social media help your business?

Making social media profitable for your business means utilizing everything it can offer, including:

  • The ability to reach your audience exactly where they are
  • The capability to level the playing field between small and large businesses
  • Full-funnel marketing in one platform

Full-funnel refers to marketing that covers every stage of the selling process. Platforms like Facebook, Google, Instagram, and Youtube offer full-funnel marketing when they help you build both your top-of-mind awareness and your direct response marketing to retarget people.

You essentially get to show off your brand’s storytelling while following up on sales related content when consumers engage with your posts—and all in one place! Any marketing pro will tell you this makes life much easier.

Your local business also has the opportunity to outshine larger players and get better rates on ads depending on your targeting and creativity. Social ad spots go to the businesses that provide the best value to the consumer, not who has the biggest spend (it’s a matter of effort, not money).

You’ll even be able to more easily see the conversions and return on ad spend to make adjustments than you would with traditional advertising.

Knowing all of these benefits will give you ways to expand upon your goals and not pigeon-hole your social media marketing strategy into just one focus.

PC: Social Media Examiner

2. How do you set expectations for the amount of work and time it’ll take?

Your team is going to want to see results, and your biggest challenge will be explaining that they have to be patient, because success in social media come down to:

  • How consistent you are about posting
  • How much value you put into your posts
  • You content’s discoverability (or likelihood to be found and shared by consumers)

You can’t expect there to be an exact date you’ll see results, because success will only come after a period of regular posting and interacting with customers. But that’s not to say you won’t see immediate bumps in reach, especially if your content has discoverability.

BumbleBerry Farms, for example, was able to immediately make a huge splash on Tik Tok when they posted videos of their team gathering honey from their bees. Their content was naturally engaging, and they recognized viewers would take interest in what was going on behind the scenes at their business.

This kind of immediate traction won’t happen for everyone, but you stand a better chance of getting results like that when you create engaging content. Figure out what you have to offer as far as exciting content, then set aside time to document it. When content isn’t engaging, consumers will just scroll past it, so consider what could pique their interest, including:

  • Your company’s unique culture
  • Education or industry tips that could benefit them
  • Peeks at your behind the scenes process
  • Industry or community news

Staying on top of posting and gauging interest is the number one way you’ll see faster results.

You’ll also want to set proper goals and objectives to guide your efforts and report back to your team with (but we’ll talk more about what those goals could be later).

Should you start with organic or paid campaigns to see the fastest results?

Depending on your budget, you may not be able to immediately jump into paid ads. Luckily, organic tactics can be just as fruitful and yield powerful results when you put time and effort into them.

You can start with micro-engagement, a.k.a. “twitter-fishing.” Search for brand relevant hashtags and create a list of people who are using them. Then engage with those people in their posts and provide value.

For example, if you’re in the beauty industry and search for people using #cosmetics, you can then start a conversation with those users and pique their interest about your products. This method takes time, but it’s completely free and has a great chance to immediately capture interest.

Just make sure the conversation is natural and gives value to the person. Otherwise it’ll just come off as a sales pitch!

The key is to use free, low hanging fruit tactics, like this, and put the effort into utilizing them to increase your organic traffic.

Once you put the time and effort into organic traffic, you know you’re ready to move on to paid ads. Afterall, your paid campaigns will also only yield positive results when you put the proper amount of effort into them (just like you would with organic ones).

Related: [Podcast] 5 Musts to Effectively Navigating Digital Advertising

3. How can you determine if your social media strategy is gaining traction?

Your strategy always needs to tie back to a desired business outcome, and those outcomes need to be specific.

For example, if your supervisors say they want more engagement, ask them what the goal behind that is. Is it to generate more leads, increase conversions, or double foot traffic?

Once you know, work backwards from that goal to figure out how much of your budget can be allotted to tracking that outcome. You can buy your media based on those objectives. It also makes sense to build separate campaigns with distinct KPIs for each outcome you want to see.

For example, awareness might be tied to how long someone looks at your content, while direct response could be tied to the potential lifetime value a customer from social media brings.

Tracking these KPIs is how you can keep your team onboard with pursuing your social media strategy.

PC: Hootsuite

4. What will help your content earn the most engagement and reach?

You need to understand the balance between clickbait and quality. Otherwise your viewers will just scroll past your content when they realize you don’t have anything valuable to offer.

Content is anything you offer to consumers that they can share, and can come in the form of videos, images, text posts, long-form articles, quizzes, etc..

Clickbait content can help your ad score and performance, but it won’t please your audience when they discover the content isn't worth the click. And that doesn't do any good for your brand when people bounce away from your pages and never come back.

Content is consider clickbait when it uses tactics, like:

  • Misleading customers into thinking they’ll get more information out of a post than what’s actually there
  • Using padding and fluff to be much longer than it needs to be
  • Promising one thing and then delivering another (for example, when an article that's advertised to be educational turns out to just be promotional)

Instead, you should use tactics that provide value and save the viewer time when they view your post, like:

  • Keep your sentences short and concise so your audience knows exactly what your post is about
  • Frequently share posts that provide useful knowledge instead of promote your products
  • Respond to any comments viewers leave, so they know you care and the platform prioritizes your post based on the engagement

Giving your viewers this kind of value helps ensure that the engagement you create will lead to actual sales stead of just being vanity, or empty metrics.

PC: Dreamgrow

5. How can you scale your campaigns as your company grows?

You may not be able to commit a consistent amount of time to your social media strategy as your roles change and your company grows. This means you’ll need to keep track of which tasks take the most time, and pass them off to others as needed when you outsource or hire someone specifically to do social media.

Always document your content creation process, so you have a record of where most of your time is spent. There are moments throughout the work day where content opportunities exist, and your teammates need to know where they are so they can take advantage of them.

In the case of BumbleBerry Farms, their content opportunities were collecting honey from their bees and capturing behind the scenes moments. Your teammates won’t be able to successfully take over your content creation process if they don’t know what kind of content you typically create.

The workers you pass off tasks to will also need a schedule of when you regularly post and how much time you engage with customers. Otherwise, you’ll risk seeing a drop in engagement when they don’t commit the same amount of time as you did before them or reach out and engage others on your social platforms.

The more you document your social media efforts, the easier it will be to set reasonable expectations and share what will work with new workers.

6. What’s the first step to starting your social media strategy?

You know your objectives and have a clear sight of how to reach them, but now you have to start creating content.

Start by gathering your team of content creators, whether it’s one or ten people, and have weekly goals for them to reach. Is it generating enough content for one post a day, or five? The number will need to realistically fit what your team can achieve and tie to your business goal.

If you’re starting out with a small team you can sweat your assets, (a.k.a splice your existing content into other forms) to create more post opportunities. For example, one podcast could have the audio, video of the podcast, accompanying graphics, audio and video clips, and numerous quotes!

Make getting the most out of your content production your first priority, so your posting schedule stays booked and your time isn’t dedicated to scrambling for new content.

Related: [Podcast] 5 Essentials to Succeeding on Social Media

Use social media to build your online reputation.

Generating returns from social media takes time, but is worth the effort when you see just how much you can increase your online reputation.

It’s the perfect way to retarget customers, while simultaneously sharing your brand’s story and establishing yourself as an authority through valuable posts.

Define your goals, document your creation process, then post!

Related: [Podcast] 3 Steps to Tell Your Compelling Company Story