While businesses increasingly understand that having a strong social media presence is important to success, most still don’t fully understand how social media can translate to increased business performance. They know they should invest in social media accounts and building a well-branded social media page on the most relevant sites, but they don’t have the appropriate strategies in place to convert followers or fans from various social media sites to customers or clients.
Marketing professionals and business owners and operators often look for examples of real business successes from other organizations that have used social enterprises to positively impact their bottom line. In researching success stories, what you’ll find is that businesses that have used social media to affect positive results in overall brand success are those who understand that strategy is the key component in the equation.
You must view social media for what it is: a tool to be used strategically in business operations. Social media platforms are not the end in and of themselves. They are simply a means of achieving well designed and strategically planned business goals. Without having a strategy in place for accomplishing larger goals through the use of social media, or any other tools for that matter, you will not see the degree of success from your investment in the process that you need.
In other words, strategic business planning, goal setting and the identification of processes through which goals can be achieved, the time, energy and resources you invest in your social media marketing activities will only take you so far.
Those businesses that are successful social enterprises manage to use social media in a more productive and more targeted manner. They integrate social media activities into a larger, overall business strategy and do not see social media success in terms of building only a fan or follower base. While increasing the number of “likes” your business receives on Facebook is a legitimate goal, it is a soft metric, or one that cannot be tied directly to the bottom line.
In order to fully take advantage of social media to increase sales, drive stronger brand awareness or acquire new customers, you must recognize that social media is simply a technology. Just like any other technology, it is how you use it that matters. Simply having the technology at your disposal is not enough. You must devise methods for strategically putting that technology to work in the achievement of hard metrics and well-defined goals.
Utilizing social relationship management software in your social enterprise activities is a method of getting more useable analytical data from social media activities. Stronger metrics provide you a means of targeting better goals for converting followers on Twitter or fans on Facebook to customers or clients. You’re able to strategize with more information at your disposal and develop better ways of directly engaging your consumer demographic.
By having clearing analytics at your disposal, you can test your social media initiatives. You will be capable of more clearly linking social media investments to increases in sales or to the achievement of higher conversion rates with website visitors to your business domain.