5 ways to know if social media can help your business

Marc Gordon
November 08, 2016
By Marc Gordon
If your business isn't already on social media, I'm sure you've at least thought about it. According to eMarketer, 88 per cent of businesses use social media as a marketing tool. And yet, a 2015 study by Simply Measured showed that 60 per cent of companies don't know if their social media efforts are even working.

If your business is already using social media, check out these five strategies to help you discover if it's working. If you're not using social media, use these strategies as a guide in deciding if it's the right tool for your business.

1. Anything interesting to say? Regardless what social media platform(s) you use, posting content that your followers find interesting is key. This means posts that are educational, entertaining or promotional – ideally a combination of all three. Do you have the time, resources and ability to come up with new material on a regular basis?

2. Rules of engagement. It would be nice if everyone who saw your posts or read your articles shared them with their own networks. Or, at the very least, commented on them. According to TrackMaven, engagement is down across all platforms, with the biggest being Pinterest at 49 per cent. And yet, content being posted by businesses has increased an average of over 70 per cent. This means that not only is content being created faster than people can consume it, they are being more indifferent towards it. So if you're looking for "likes" and shares to measure your campaign's success, you may be looking in the wrong place.

3. Responses and reactions. A quick and easy way to test the legitimacy of your social media audience is to post special promotions or limited time offers. If the phone starts to ring or you see an increase in foot traffic and sales, you know you're on the right path. If things stay stagnant, then you have to ask yourself if the weakness lies in the quality of your offers or your audience.

4. Check out your competition. Many businesses feel compelled to use social media because their competitors are. But before you start registering a new SnapChat account, check out your competitor's accounts. You might be surprised to discover they have lots of content but few followers and low engagement. The reason for this could be anything from poor content to an audience that just has no interest in following companies in their industry.

5. Influencing the buying decision. Let's be realistic here. Any business that uses social media does so in hopes of increasing business. That means posting content that can influence the buying decision. However in many industries, the buying decision is influenced by technical data, professional relationships, formal proposals, and references. What do you think would have more influence on your customer's buying decisions: a Twitter post or a meeting over coffee?

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Marc Gordon is a recognized marketing expert, speaker and strategist. His articles appear in over 200 publications worldwide. Visit marcgordon.ca or his online show at marctv.net for more business tips.

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