6 Signs An Agency Gets Social Media
The value of using social media as a marketing tool is constantly evolving. But there are still substantial principles that pertain to using social media in conjunction with a website that have surfaced over past couple of years.
Below are some ways you can tell if an agency has a good, basic understanding of how to use social media to drive traffic to your website and increase conversions once people are there.
1- They use social media as a channel in an existing strategic marketing plan.
Social media should be used as a tool, not the answer for a lack of goals and objectives. Your agency should be coming up with a plan for social media that integrates with your existing messaging strategy, content and audience. If there isn’t one, you’ve got bigger things to worry about than not having a Facebook page.
The agency you choose should be emphasizing social media as a channel for your content marketing and promotions and an additional way to engage your targeted audience with your great content.
Don’t have content to post? Before you start thinking about getting 5,000 Twitter followers, focus on finding out what will make people want to follow you, and maybe even become your customer. Chances are, it’s not your logo or the number of times you tweet about your solar-powered lawnmowers in an hour. You must create content that will compel them to want more from you. This means you have to sell more than just a product.
2- They create sites with pages and content that is shareable.
You know you want your website to be “social media friendly” but what does that really mean besides making sure its URLs work right when you post them on Facebook?
The first thing your agency should do is make sure specific pages of your website are equipped with social media sharing tools. And not just every page, only those you’ve identified as pages your potential customers will want to share with people in their networks.
For instance, it wouldn’t make sense to embed an instant share widget for Facebook and Twitter on a Terms of Agreement page. But adding share tools to a product page would be a strategic move. In one click, your customer could potentially share your product with hundreds of people in their network and ask them what they think about it. You wouldn’t believe the high percentage of people who rely on their trusted networks for advice on everything from buying a new camera to moving to another city!
3- They integrate social media feeds and functionality, when appropriate.
If you ask me, there is nothing worse than landing on a website only to find a virtual waste dump of social media feeds, pointless widgets and every blog post the company has ever written flashing in blinking lights on the homepage. No one wants to see this when they walk through your door – trust me. There is a big difference between an interactive site and a lack of editing.
Use good judgment on the homepage and don’t bury your main calls to action for the sake of gaining a follower on Twitter. And while your at it, let them “Like” you on Facebook right from your website. Your prospect is there because you invited them. Don’t release them into the social media jungle as soon as they arrive. Chances are, they may end up “Liking” you on Facebook, but the moment someone posts a photo in their newsfeed, your customer, and your sale, are as good as gone.
Solution? Make social media icons subtly prominent. There is a middle ground. If someone wants to follow you on Twitter, they will find the icon, even without all of the blinking lights, feeds and arrows.
4- They emphasize your website as a home base for all of your content.
This obviously relates to the first section of this post. You want all of the most meaningful engagements your customer has with your brand as close to your product as possible. Cultivating a community on an island is not recommended. You must create content that sends them back to the homeland – your website.
This relies on the creation of meaningful, quality content that people want to click on, read and share. Don’t blog on Facebook. Blog from your website and market that content through your Facebook page. The idea of social media is to use it as a tool to drive traffic, so you must make your website your customers’ ultimate destination. Think of your website as the Hawaii of your Internet marketing plan. All efforts should end on your shore.
5- They don’t guarantee you a number of Likes or followers.
I’ll try not to use the analogy of buying friends here. Well, I guess that means I just did. You get the picture. If an agency guarantees your page a number of likes or followers, something is wrong. It’s one thing to project follower numbers based on marketing initiatives and promotional contests, it’s another to sell you a package of 500 followers without a single campaign or any content. Be wary.
The purpose of using social media in marketing is to create meaningful engagement with people who want more from your brand than just knowing when the next sale is. It doesn’t matter if you have 20 followers or 7,000, if none of them are engaging with you (or becoming your customer, for that matter) your message and efforts are completely in vain.
6- They keep up to date on the latest developments and trends in social media.
It seems every day there’s a hot new way to use Twitter, Foursquare, YouTube, you name it, to engage your customers and market your brand. And these platforms change and become more robust on a regular basis. All of this means the agency you choose should be absolutely enthusiastic about online marketing and how social media can be used to accomplish your marketing objectives.
And the key isn’t just to know about the latest trends and developments, it’s about knowing whether or not the social bells and whistles will work for your business. At the end of the day, a holistic and comprehensive approach to online marketing that includes the use of social media channels is optimal. It can be hard to resist the temptation to navigate social media without a compass but eventually your returns will let you know when it’s time to reposition your efforts.