Although you can’t directly measure revenue contribution, these metrics help you see whether your efforts are paying off:
Engagement (number of clicks, likes, comments, shares)
Posts linking to your content
Follower growth rate
Survey responses to “How did you come across our brand?” (if the response is social media)
In a nutshell, building a strong social media community is all about fostering engagement. The more relevant engagement within your community, the more valuable it becomes to users. You should also keep a close eye on which topics and content types (videos, memes, quotes, etc.) perform best and use that information to shape your community-building in the future.First and foremost, you should always encourage conversations and keep communication lines open. Make engaging with your brand as easy and compelling as possible. To do this, contribute to your community consistently. Valuable communities can require huge amounts of time and effort to develop, so before you get started be willing to commit to the work.
Join the Conversation
By now, the phrase “join the conversation” has been added to the ranks of social media clichés. If your company is able to assign a few people who can regularly represent and speak on behalf of the company via social media, you will find many rewards.
Speaking of conversation, businesses who claim a presence on social networking sites need to have a unique and recognizable voice. We’ll talk more about voice in Tip #24, Voice Lessons.Keyword Research
Caroline and Steve Melberg point out that keyword research is one of the most important parts of the SEO process, “yet few small business owners actually conduct a full and complete keyword research exercise before engaging on their first SEO campaign.”
Caroline and Steve consider keyword research to be essential to help businesses:
Identify the best and most profitable keywords for their campaigns
Find missed opportunities that may be profitable for their niche, and conversely, ones that should be scratched from their list
Identify the focus and direction of their SEO campaign, and ultimately, the core of their online marketing strategy
Location, Location, Location
In one of our earlier 26 Tips articles on the topic of location-based marketing, we referenced Neil Patel’s 8 strategies for local search that provide excellent guidelines to launch local campaigns and are worth repeating here (followed by Tip #13, Market Your Business Locally, with additional thoughts about local listings).
Keyword research to focus on industry-specific terms and geo-specific terms.
Optimize your website for local search by adding locally optimized title tags and meta descriptions.
Create a geo sitemap.
Have the best Google Places listing possible.
Build profiles on other sites to build citations for local SEO.
Get local reviews when you add buttons to your website and encourage reviews.
Build links from related local businesses and local bloggers.
Optimize your social pages (Facebook Page, Twitter profile, LinkedIn page, Google+, etc.) for local.Market Your Business Locally
With the rise of smartphones, tablets and mobile devices, local marketing has become increasingly important for businesses. Sian Simon suggests factors that help to get good local listings:
Create a profile within the search engines themselves.
Get listed in local directories (e.g., Superpages, Citysearch), which give you a chance to be displayed more than once in the search engine’s results.
Claim your business listing and create your profile—you can get started with Google, Yahoo! and Bing.
Determine your goals.What do you want to get out of your social Web participation? Why are you doing it? Are you trying to generate direct sales? Are you trying to offer a form of customer service? Do you want to build relationships with customers and boost loyalty? Your answers to these questions greatly affect the type of content you publish and the activities you participate in on the social Web.Evaluate your resources.
Who is going to create your content? Who is going to maintain your social media accounts? Who is going to respond to questions and be the face of your business online? Do you have the technical ability in-house to join the online conversation? If not, are you willing to learn? Can you or someone who works with you write well? You need to be sure you have the necessary people in place to execute a social media marketing plan before you start.Create amazing content.
Once you know where your audience spends time and what kind of content audience members want, take the time to give them more of that kind of content. Don’t give up. You need to continually offer your audience amazing content, which also comes in the form of conversations, in order to build a loyal fol¬lowing of people who trust you as a source that can meet their needs and expectations.Focus on quality, not quantity.
It can be easy to get caught up in the numbers, but don’t become a slave to followers and subscribers. It’s better to have 1,000 highly engaged, loyal followers than 10,000 followers who sign up to follow you but then never acknowledge you again.