Defining your social media goals

As with any other type of marketing initiative, social media marketing must begin with a goal. For marketers many times these goals will be:

  • Increasing awareness, loyalty and influence
  • Measuring public opinion
  • Market research
  • Increasing customer satisfaction

All of these goals are worthy on their own, but the ultimate bottom line is to draw attention to our companies to increase revenue somewhere down the line.

There often won’t be a direct correlation between social media engagement and increased revenue, which is why defining a social media conversion funnel helps to tie activity back to ROI.

Identify the steps towards conversion

Once you identify what your primary (and secondary goals) for social engagement are, you will be able to work towards building a conversion funnel.

If you are using social media to increase awareness, loyalty or influence, you will want to identify the steps you need users to take to reach those goals.

For example, if awareness is your goal, what can you do to get your RSS subscribers to share your content with their social networks?

You might begin by adding a call to action somewhere in your blog post. “Find out more information by connecting with us on Twitter.” Often times this goal is achieved through a ReTweet/Twitter Share button. But that only allows you to reach your visitor’s Twitter network, what if you could reach their Twitter and Facebook networks?

Once your RSS subscribers are connecting with you on Twitter, you might tactfully move them to your Facebook page by linking them to relevant content on a Facebook landing tab. This tab should also include a call to action, “Click the ‘like’ button above to receive daily updates” or something like that.

Facebook landing page example

The road doesn’t end here though. Remember, getting users to engage with you on social networks are great micro-conversions, but our ultimate goal is to impact revenue somewhere down the line. While we can’t spam our followers with a constant slew of direct requests, we can indirectly make requests while providing useful information.

For instance, you might offer a free white paper in exchange for a name and email address or other contact information (you see in the above image, we do this by linking to white paper downloads on our landing tab). From there your marketing manager can nurture and qualify the lead, and beyond that qualified leads may go directly to the sales team. Now we’re getting somewhere!

Setting a time frame

Whatever your goals are for social media conversions, start from the end result and work backwards mapping out a conversion funnel along the way. This will help you write a proper strategy for increasing conversions, and also help you identify a reasonable time frame for taking a social connection from follower to customer.

In social you should be in no rush to go from engagement to sales.

Jim Sterne writes in Social Media Metrics, there are four steps to successful business engagement in social media:

  1. Get their attention
  2. Get them to like you
  3. Get them to interact
  4. Convince them to buy

The time it takes to go from step one to step four will depend on a lot of things like the cost of your product, the type of buyer who will use it, the amount of risk that comes with buying it and so forth. Figure out the best time frame for you, and set your goals based on that.

New business transactions in the social space tend to move slowly, be patient and always be authentic.