I know, seems like a strange thing for a company that provides social media marketing management to say. But it’s something I hear quite frequently when interviewing a potential new client. They want solutions, and for them, social media has been a whole lot of hype, but very little return on investment.

Social media isn’t all they say doesn’t work, many have tried a litany of online marketing products, have invested thousands of dollars in websites. By the time they get to me, they have had numerous marketing companies, consultants, and, let’s be honest, outright con men promise them the world and then fail to deliver right after the check clears.

Needless to say, some companies are fed up with online marketing and social media. They want solutions, not more promises.  

What’s Holding Back Your Social Media?

Understanding what you are trying to achieve and how to measure your goals are the first steps to any successful marketing campaign, and social media is not different.

That may seem obvious, and most social media platforms give you more statistics than you can shake a stick at but knowing the statistics that matter is the difference between success and failure.

The reality is that most of the information provided by the platforms does little more than attempt to convince you that something valuable is happening. The platforms report the “reach” of your post, or how many impressions your post received. Ultimate bragging rights are given to those with high subscriber counts and page likes. The question is, how do these metrics translate into something valuable for your business?

What is the Goal Of Your Social Media Campaign?

The first step is to identify your goals. Do you want more traffic to your website? Do you have info packs you want people to download? Do you want to build your brand base and name recognition? The first step is to figure out what’s important to you. 

One issue I often run into is the expectation that social media alone will result in new clients. I’ve seen other marketing companies make these claims, that a landing page and a few facebook ads can generate a steady stream of clients for your business. There may be exceptions, but if you want my advice, building a marketing program around a single platform is a recipe for long term disaster.

So what should I be targeting?

In almost all cases, the metric you want to focus on is engagement.  Engagement measures how often potential clients interact with your content.  If your content were a library book, this would be the measure of the number of times someone checked out your book.

Why Does Engagement Matter?

Several years ago, Google made a change to its algorithm that reward sites that published content that was useful to the searcher, rather than stuffed full of keywords. This change in algorithm set off a bomb of sorts, and marketers have been running to catch up ever since. Before this, SEO was built around gaming the system to make the system prefer one site to another, and what the user thought had very little to do with it.

This idea of user opinion, in the SEO world, translated to metrics such as time on site and bounce rate. These statistics measure how interested your visitors are, but measuring how long they spend on your website and how many pages they visit.

For Social Media, the metric that reflects interest is engagement. You can imagine that the more interested the visitor is in your content, the better that content will perform. As the content continues to engage, more individuals see the content, and the amount of engagement continues to increase.

While reach and impressions give you an idea of how many potential people you could be reaching, engagement tells you how many people are taking action.

A Costly Common Mistake With Social Media

One key component of engagement is traffic generated to your website.  Your social media content must encourage engagement with your brand on multiple platforms.  Posting a picture that will get a lot of likes, but sends no traffic to your website is likely not going to result in something you can put into the bank.  

I suspect that this is the biggest mistake that companies make and the reason why so many people think social media marketing doesn’t work.  

Your website is your home base, and it’s where the majority of your potential clients should end up. It should be the end of your marketing funnel and the culmination of the brand story you have been telling across the internet on multiple platforms.

What Can You Do Today?

Each platform has its own set of rules; some make it easy to send traffic to your website; some do not. It’s essential to understand how each of these platforms operates before you decide they don’t work. 

One common mistake on Facebook, for instance, is to post content directly to the page. Instead, try creating content for your website and then sharing the link on your facebook profile. Done correctly, this allows you to create a teaser for the content on your website. Not only can users on social media easily share your content with their friends, but they can also leave comments and let you know how they feel about it as well. All of this is counted as engagement and can provide a significant amount of very interested traffic to your website.

Using Facebook to generate intersted engaged users for your website is an example of a goal that, along with the rest of your marketing strategy will produce more clients and allow you to build a lasting presence for your brand.