• You get out of social media what you put in.
Just because there is currently a relatively low cost-of-entry compared to other outreach channels, does not mean that planning is critical. Identify your target audience, develop an appropriate and thoughtful strategy. Always start by asking “what is the objective of this endeavor?”
• Customize for each platform.
We often talk about social media as if it’s monolithic. Be cautious: each platform, whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, has its own strengths and weakness. Use each platform to its best advantage. And remember, these tools are constantly changing. One needs to keep up.
• Track your results.
Business is a science. Social media campaigns are like studies – you need a hypothesis with specific objectives in mind, and then a determination of whether those objectives were met. The data is rarely perfect, but this doesn’t absolve us of the need to gauge what we can re: ROI. Make adjustments to your next iteration in an effort to improve on your results. Compare one tool again the other, to see what is most effective. Correlate results to dollars spent.
• Unique plans are critical to success
Every organization is different. Following some guru’s formula might not be right for you. You know your organization best. You know your strategic priorities. These ought to dictate your plan and how you assess your analytics. Use your sound judgement as a business person in all cases, especially when the data is imprecise.
THIS FIELD IS EVOLVING. THE DATA IS GETTING BETTER.
It may sound like an oxymoron: “Use the data. The data is imprecise.” But the truth is, analyzing data is part science, part art, especially when it comes to ROI for social media. The good news is, the analytics are improving. We enjoyed advice given to us by a colleague in retail, Elizabeth Charles, “More social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are matching their customer data with yours, allowing you to do more robust targeting up and down the funnel. This is allowing for a much stronger ROI.”