With the schools about to re-open for the autumn term and everyone is returning from their summer holidays, it is a good time to review your social media strategy.

With the number of businesses and organisations whose marketing strategy is centred around social media activity and you could be forgiven for thinking that ‘likes’ are some sort of bankable currency. I arrive at this conclusion because many companies, as with private individuals, who are using social media sites seem to crave people clicking on those upturned blue thumbs.

Unless you can demonstrate that there is a real financial link between ‘likes’ and sales then we can re-work the saying about turnover and profit (the former for vanity, the latter for sanity). Susbstitute ‘turnover’ and ‘profit, with ‘likes’ and ‘sales’ and you get the idea.

If you have invested in a website for your company or organisation and have taken time to ensure that it ticks as many of Google’s SEO boxes as you can, why would you actively encourage people to visit social media sites? Yet, this is what so many companies are doing when they suggest that their visitors should connect via Facebook or Twitter.

If you can prove a direct link between the number of ‘follows’ and ‘likes’ and the sales your company achieves then the time you invest in your social media activity may be justified. But, if you have hundreds, or even thousands, of people engaging with your company on various social media sites but the ‘likes’ are not converting into sales then you’re only helping one company: the social media platform itself.

The owners of Facebook, Twitter and others have a vested interest in promoting their own platforms (to satisfy their own data-mining and financial objectives) and such platforms may well be contributing to the success of your business. Even if this is the case (and especially if it isn’t) I would argue that your own site deserves far more attention. You should be working hard to get more people to engage with it, which means ensuring that your site is responsive (fits properly on any screen on which it is viewed) and that you regularly add news and other updates; it means writing (or re-writing) content that is aimed squarely at your target audience.

Forget trying to drop in keywords all over the place, which often don’t fit well into sentences, and focus more on producing relevant copy. By all means include the words and phrases that relate to your company, but over-using a set phrase looks clumsy and won’t actually help get your site up the search engine rankings.

Ensure that your site is engaging, with great photography (idealy, this should be your company’s own imagery that you have commissioned and not ‘borrowed’ stock items) and by all means add video content, which we know does encourage browsers to stay on a site for longer; again, it must also be relevant and appropriate. You might also consider choosing Vimeo for hosting your videos rather than YouTube; Vimeo is advert-free and just feels much more appropriate for the business community.

Finally, if you have fallen out of love with e-marketing in favour of social media, it’s time to think again. E-marketing, when done properly, is far more personal and is a medium that the recipients can easily interact with. In just one click your email has been opened and read; there’s no need to stop what you’re doing, open a web browser, then log in to see a status update, which may have no relevance. With email, the recipient can see in a second whether or not they wish to repond to your message or otherwise interact with your business. I would argue that all the links on your e-mails should only take them to your own site and include on those social media sites that are working for you.

So, what can you expect from this investment in time and effort in enhancing and improving your own website? In order to compare the effectiveness of all online activiy I would suggest you continue with your social media activity. To make effective comparisons between how your company’s own site performs compared to your social media activity you do need to know what you want to measure. Is it the number of enquiries, meetings or sales that you want to generate. Getting ‘likes’ in my opinion or worthless unless they lead to some specific sales-related outcome. You should also start using Google Analytics so that you can monitor your own site and see how it is performing.

As with all things to do with marketing and promoting a business there is generally never any one element of a campaign that is more important than another. Of course, the split between direct sales, advertising and social media activity, for example, will vary depending on what your business does, but it is the co-ordination of all offline and online activity that will ultimately determine how successful a business will be.

If you would like helo to review your social media strategy don’t hesitate to get in touch: [email protected].

About

Simon has been running Opera PR for over 10 years and enjoys photography, mountainbiking, reading, cooking, politics and current affairs, he is also a bit of a Francophile.

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