How often do you hear people talk about social media like it’s a platform? Yes Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are platforms, but social media is no longer just a platform it’s a way of thinking. It’s the way we behave. Social media is a way of thinking and a behaviour.

So much has changed in the way we find jobs, source new music and find new customers. Social Media is now one of your best channels to find your customers and prospects. The more you make aspects of your business and marketing ‘social’ the more they will share it, talk about it, build awareness, engage with your business and want to buy from you.

For businesses it means social media with purpose… creating content on social media to get results means a way of thinking. But it also means being social.

What does ‘getting results’ mean for your business?

All too often businesses feel that they need to ‘do’ social media, which tends to result in a somewhat haphazard approach without an end goal in mind. By simply ‘doing’ social media you’re unlikely to see the results you could achieve. Growth in followers or engagement is a great start, but you need a plan.

The only way you can expect to generate results from your social media activity is to define what you want those results to be, this might include:

mobile marketing
  • Size of audience i.e. number of followers
  • Post engagement
  • Website traffic driven from social media
  • Newsletter subscriptions
  • Commercial conversions
  • Impressions per post

Once you’ve done that you need to plan, execute and adjust. As we started, social is a way of thinking, and a behaviour.

Take social media seriously

We’re often asked ‘so, could you just *do* our social media for us?” Of course, the answer is yes, we can make it happen but being successful comes back to a way of thinking, behaviour and a plan.

Social media is both easy and hard, which is why so many businesses want help. Creating those first few posts can be pretty easy, but being consistent and regular week after week gets challenging. If you’re not consistent, your results will diminish.

Taking social media seriously means investing time and resources and being social in your thinking. Setting up a profile and an account on any of the social media channels is easy to do, and mobile technology has made it easy to post. Its for this reason that posting on social media channels feels easy and the sense that content creation is effortless. There’s also a misconception that since creating your social media accounts is free, that the costs for achieving results are minimal too. Your time is not free!

The reality, is that social media can be a full-time job. If you want to get it right, you’ll need to invest in creative energy and strategic thinking to achieve your results.

“you’ll need to invest creative energy, strategic thinking and time to achieve your social media goals”

Key activities and tasks to make the switch

If you’re overwhelmed or don’t know where to start, you’re definitely not alone. Social media appears easy but it isn’t as straightforward as it used to be. There are a lot of tasks and activities to make the switch from doing social media to thinking social, such as:

  • Understanding your audience
  • Planning your content strategy
  • Producing individual pieces of content which could be mix of created and curated content
  • Publishing that content
  • Assessing the right time of day to post
  • Responding to comments and direct messages (DMs).
  • Developing and Monitoring data and key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Conducting social listening
  • Monitoring competitors
  • Hashtag research and performance monitoring for each of your chosen channels

The list is endless. Collecting data and carrying out the analytics is just as important as creating the content ‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve’. Understanding what’s working and why, as well as what is not working, based on your chosen goals and results.

Create value for your audience and followers

Imagine everything that WordPress can do is available to you quickly and in the same place on the interface. No need to figure out HTML tags, classes, or remember complicated shortcode syntax. That’s the spirit behind the inserter—the (+) button you’ll see around the editor—which allows you to browse all available content blocks and add them into your post. Plugins and themes are able to register their own, opening up all sort of possibilities for rich editing and publishing.

Your audience and followers may be wide and varied and looking for different things from your social media content. This is why understanding your audience and therefore what type of content will deliver interest and value is so important.

Research from The Harvard Business Review categorised posts into five dimensions or categories

  • Relational: Encouraging connections between the viewer and a larger community
  • Intellectual: Engaging the viewer in problem-solving or a creative thought process
  • Behavioral: Demonstrating interactions with the brand’s product or service
  • Sensory: Activating the senses, for example with music or visuals
  • Emotional: Drawing out a specific mood or feeling from the viewer

Creating and delivering value is more important than ever. With so much free and easy to access content available, audiences can switch off fast. Its much harder to gain new customers than retain the ones you already have. Once you’ve got those customers, you need to keep delivering them with ongoing value via social media.

Audiences won’t just follow you because you are there, you need to consistently provide value. This comes back to thinking social, if you provide value they will come to know, like and trust you and thus willing to engage with you and refer you.

Being known as a business that continuously provides value, will build brand loyalty which is aided through continued engagement via social media. Check out this article Social media is good for business.

Choose the right channels

Just because they are there, doesn’t mean you should use them. Set yourself for success by choosing your channels wisely and don’t spread your social media efforts too thin.

Understanding where your target audience hang out will guide you. Social media is all about meeting your target audience and customers where they are and socially interact.

  • Users675 million monthly active users worldwide
  • Audience: Baby boomers, Generation X, and millennials
  • Users1.79 billion daily active users worldwide
  • Audience: Generation X and millennials
  • Users186 million daily active users worldwide
  • Audience: Primarily millennials
  • Users1 billion monthly active users
  • Audience: Primarily millennials
  • UsersOver 2 billion logged-in monthly users worldwide
  • Audience: Millennials, closely followed by Generation Z

Being social drives success

If you make the step change from ‘doing’ social media to a way of thinking you will reap the rewards. Creating results-driven content can be time consuming. But integrating it into your other sales and marketing activities will deliver results. Be patient, take the time to collect the data and carrying our analysis: experiment and adjust as you need. Make sue your set out your goals and create a plan, you’ll have a better chance of accomplishing your results.