Ever wondered why some businesses seem to crush it on social media and others don’t?
I think you’d be surprised to know how much of their success has little to do with their social media. Today I want to share some of the most thought-provoking information my team and I have uncovered over the last 7 years that will help you think outside of the box to increase your social media marketing performance.
1. To Truly Understand Social Media Marketing, You Must Understand Marketing
From Google Ads’ Paid Search, to landing page conversion-rate optimisation, to email nurturing, each touchpoint in your customer journey impacts the performance of your social media marketing. I realised a few years ago that I needed to invest more time outside of social media marketing research and development so I could provide recommendations beyond it.
After all, social media marketing just gets eyeballs and traffic.
I go back to my days studying at Uni when thinking about why some of our clients’ social media performance is more challenging than others… think of the 7 P’s Marketing Mix and how significant each P is in the overall performance:
- Process Physical Evidence
You can optimise a Facebook ad campaign until the cows come home, but if a competitor has a cheaper, superior product, with better customer service and a website that converts better than yours… well… you get the picture.
This is why, although we’re a social media marketing agency, our reporting and recommendations go far beyond it. This is how we’re able to retain clients longer and create a relationship that’s built on both customer service and strong performance.
Also, don’t get distracted by the shiny lights of the tools and technology. Successful marketing is built on strong foundations of a strategy that understands consumer behaviour and key marketing principles. For example, you could be running Prospecting Dynamic Product Ads, which is a cool ad product from Facebook, but maybe it’s not working. It may not be the tool, it may be that your ad is focussing too much your product features, and not on the benefits and outcomes that will impact someone’s life.
Finally, consider that YOU are accountable for the performance of the marketing. You don’t need to be responsible for its implementation. But the buck stops with you. If it’s not working, don’t just point the finger at your marketing supplier. You need to stand up and make some decisions to help. Take a few steps back, look at your full customer journey, the 7 Ps, your competitors’ ads, other marketing channels, your marketing assets, do a SWOT analysis, consider all internal and external variables.
You also need to understand the role social media marketing plays in your customer journey. Maybe it’s role is just awareness, while Google Ads is just focussed on purchases? Maybe it’s the whole thing? Check out this fun video I created with my kids to help you figure it out:
2. Consider working with with Other Leading Marketing Specialists
Take a holistic approach to your marketing to analyse where you will get the highest return for your time and marketing budget. It may mean you’ll need some high-end video produced, or starting with a 3-month Google Ads campaign before investing in social media paid ads.
Social media marketing may or may not be the best use of your marketing budget or time. Most marketing specialists will offer a free review of the potential to grow your business through their expertise. A SEO agency will recommend keywords and tell you the search volume. A SEM agency will forecast conversion numbers and costs based on keywords. A social media agency will suggest target audiences and develop a proposed campaign structure to achieve your objectives (well, we do anyway).
Check out the Missing Link System I created which I use to help screen clients on the best opportunities for them:
I suggest you consider getting in touch with marketing specialists to review your marketing channels. The goal is to uncover the gaps so you can make strategic decision around where the greatest opportunities are. Think of the 80:20 rule along your customer journey. Look for the weakest links or bottlenecks that may be preventing your business growth from reaching its true potential.
3. Know Your / Your Team’s Strengths, Outsource the rest.
It’s easy to underestimate how much time social media marketing will take.
It’s easy to be unconsciously incompetent or naive about the blood, sweat and tears that goes into building a profitable social media marketing machine.
The best thing you can do is understand what it takes to make this machine work and be realistic about what internal resources you can throw at it, versus what you need to outsource. Anyone can create a Facebook ad, but it takes someone with experience to optimise campaigns and produce actionable reporting and recommendations to build on performance month-on-month.
To make this simple, we break social media marketing down into 5 key areas:
You might argue there are other areas, such as social listening, if that’s your thing, but the point of this is sparking a discussion about internal strengths, weaknesses and capacity.
For us, many clients manage things like this:
- Community Management: It’s an extension of your customer service and an easy role for someone to manage.
- Regular / Daily Social Media Content: Make someone responsible for capturing everyday moments in real-time and uploading them to your social accounts
- Strategy: An outside perspective and specialist experience will go a long way here. This strategy should be collaborative and actionable.
- Advertising: This is what will have the most impact on driving your business’ growth. It’s also likely where you will get the most value (time and money) from an ongoing investment
- Reporting and Recommendations: If you’re outsourcing your paid ads, no one will understand the performance or pull greater insights than the person managing them. Assure you’re getting concise, visual and actionable reporting and recommendations from your provider.
4. Strategy, Reporting and Recommendations is Paramount
To many, this is the ugliest part of social media marketing and an ‘ignorance is bliss’ mentality takes over.
As I mentioned before, it takes a true professional to produce a strategy that leads performance. But the strategy itself is not good enough. Strategy is the launchpad for your rocket. Reporting and recommendations is what will guide you to the destination.
Without prioritising time to reflect on performance and recommend improvements, you’ll be floating around space scratching your head wondering why things are or are not getting better.
Again, go back to the 80:20 rule and apply it to how your campaigns are being optimised. Don’t settle for an incremental change that will make an incremental difference.
I.e. Don’t change a word in a headline and expect it to double the performance of your campaign. Maybe you need to try a new campaign type, or create a new landing page, or create a new offer. What 20% effort could you put in to have an 80% impact?
5. Social Media ROI is more than Just Revenue
Comparing Google Ads’ Paid Search to social media advertising based on financial ROI alone is doing you an injustice. So stop it. Today. You need to understand that when you’re reaching people through social media, you’re reaching people who are on the toilet. Or commuting to work. Or procrastinating form doing the dishes (this is so me!). They are not on social media searching for your product. They are on there to be entertained and feel connected with people and brands they love. So shouldn’t some of your budget and KPIs be aligned to why they are on the platform in the first place? What’s the ROI of making someone smile? Or feeling empowered?
If all you’re doing is producing ads to drive people to your product, you could be missing out on a large opportunity.
The KPIs for social media are diverse. It’s not just ROAS.
I suggest you judge the performance of your social media by the CAMPAIGN OBJECTIVES you’re using. So if you’re promoting posts for engagement, consider any revenue generated from this as added value, but do not include this campaign objective when comparing to Google Ads’ financial ROI.
Again, so much of this comes back to what marketing channels serve a particular role or roles in your customer journey. Know the channel’s strengths and its roles in your customer journey, then create KPIs around that. For example, social media may be the top of the funnel with awareness KPIs and cold traffic KPIs, then you may look to Google for conversion KPIs. Or, social media may be your only paid marketing channel. If this is the case break up its KPIs based on the campaign objectives, so you are continually moving people through Awareness → Interest/Consideration → Purchase → Advocacy → Loyalty.
Sure what I’ve said may not apply to you directly, and you may need to adapt some of what I’ve said to suit your company, but my goal was to provide some thought-provoking concepts to challenge some of the traditional ideas people have about increasing social media marketing performance.
I’d love your thoughts and feedback, so please drop a comment below.
Perry Henderson is the Director and Head of Strategy at Missing Link Social Media, a social media marketing agency recently judged as one of the top 7 small social media marketing agencies in Australia and New Zealand at the 2019 Social Media Marketing Awards.
Perry first entered the world of social media marketing in 2011 as a Social Media Manager at a DJ Agency while studying a Bachelor of Business at the University of Newcastle. In 2012, Perry studied social media marketing abroad at Michigan State University and later that year founded his agency.
Perry is a firm believer that true social media marketing begins with a fundamental knowledge of marketing principles, consumer behaviour and understanding the roles each marketing channel plays in a customer journey.