confused-follower-baseAfter consulting with many organizations on social media, I have found that the simple question of asking “Why?” is forgotten in the excitement of building follower bases on social networks. This is one of the first questions I ask my customers and prospects – Why do you need a large follower base?
 
The point of this question is to get to the core of what the business really wants at the end of the day. Are you after brand awareness, incremental sales, or a closer relationship with your market on social networks? Taking inventory of business goals is the best place to start the conversation around social media engagement.

Is social media the best way to achieve your goals?

Sometimes social media engagement isn’t the best solution. For example – if your business needs leads & sales flowing tomorrow then Google Adwords, rather than social media marketing, might be the best place to start.

However, if your organization needs to build meaningful brand awareness, develop a continuous and long-term lead flow, or enhance market communication then social media marketing is at the top of the list of viable solutions.

Who do you want to follow you?

Understanding that audience composition is much more important than audience size is critical wisdom for any serious social media marketing campaign. Does your organization just want thousands of followers for ego purposes? Then go buy them. It is a dirty way to get a ton of followers fast, and might get you banned, but ego has driven businesses to do dumber things with their money!

Do you want a ton of real prospects in your market engaging with your organization’s branded content? Then a serious social media marketing campaign might be the best way to attract these individuals to your brand.

What will you do with your follower base?

Take the time to dig into exactly how your organization will extract business value from your follower base. Lacking a system to effectively drive business value and achieve goals with your follower base would be an injustice to both the business and followers. Lacking goals and processes is also a bad situation to be in when justifying marketing spend and effort.

Depending on business goals, I almost always suggest some type of lead nurturing process to convert followers into customers. Software packages like Hubspot, Eloqua, or Leadsius can help scale this effort across a follower base of any size.

How will you measure success?

Always know where your goal posts are throughout the project. As a service provider, understanding success metrics is critical since I want customers for life. However, the idea of establishing success metrics is just as applicable to an in-house marketer. Nobody wants to take on a challenge, only to find out later that the goals were impossible to begin with or out of sync with the business.

Social media marketers want successful campaigns that achieve the right goals and strengthen the business as time goes on. Don’t let the excitement of social media marketing blind a diligent goal-setting process. Ask yourself these questions before embarking on a social media campaign.