Three things your social media marketing should be doing (and one thing it shouldn’t)

Launching a marketing campaign can be exciting.  There’s a rush of energy as you envision your shiny new ads and commercials bursting onto thousands of computer screens and TVs.  There’s that anxious optimism as you wait for the phone to start ringing or for customers to rush through your door.  But before you jump into a new marketing campaign, you need to first decide what you want to accomplish.

Attract new customers

This seems pretty obvious, but it’s also the step where a lot of advertisers go off the rails.  Remember that you as a retailer or service provider don’t necessarily represent your own target audience.  What appeals to you may be entirely different from what appeals to your potential customers.  That’s why it’s so important to target your marketing campaigns to those most likely to buy your products and services.  And remember that followers don’t equal customers.  Thousands of followers won’t do your business any good if they’re not buying what you’re selling. 

Keep the customers you’ve got (and remind them that you’re here)

Any experienced business owner or manager will tell you that it’s easier (and more profitable) to keep the customers you’ve already got than it is to find new customers.  And keeping those customers means more than just keeping them happy.  You also need to give them a reason to stick around.  Effective marketing does more than simply attracting new customers.  It also makes existing customers feel better about what they’ve already paid for.  Especially in saturated and competitive market spaces, it’s critical to reassure your customers that you’re providing the best value, and the highest quality products and services in order to further establish confidence in your brand.

Pro Tip: Luxury brands don’t advertise just to attract new customers.  Their advertising is designed to make their existing customers feel better about the products they already own. 

Quantify your marketing campaigns

How do you know if your marketing is working?  Perhaps the simplest ways to measure a campaign’s performance is to use coupons because they can instantly identify what campaigns are meeting their goals and which customers are being reached.  But coupons aren’t for everyone, or for every business.  Fortunately you can get a more in-depth look at your campaign’s performance and engagement with tools like Facebook Insights and Google Analytics.  By tracking conversions and paying careful attention to your campaign’s metrics, you can develop a pretty detailed picture of what works and what doesn’t.  And while loyalty programs can go a long way toward making your customers feel appreciated, they can also provide another metric to measure the effectiveness of your marketing.

Don’t damage the value of your brand

Is your marketing campaign consistent with the spirit of your brand?  After all, it wouldn’t make sense for a luxury retailer to offer a buy-one-get-one-free promotion since a substantial part of their brand value is based on prestige and exclusivity.  That’s why Louis Vuitton literally destroys any unsold merchandise at the end of each year.  Likewise, if you’re representing an upscale restaurant, your target market is more likely to be affluent foodies with discretionary incomes than budget-conscious diners with a pocketful of discount coupons (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  But what is of utmost importance – especially if someone else is responsible for your marketing – is to ensure that the message delivered by your marketing campaign is a message you want associated with your business.  

Whatever direction you take with your marketing campaigns, remember to stay focused on your goals and make sure you truly understand what it is you’re trying to accomplish.

And above all else, always start with a plan.