Leveraging Social Media to Drive Outcomes

Social media enables businesses to widen target markets and increase outcomes.

Having tons of followers on social media may be great for the Kardashians, but how does it help your business?  Because most organizations, (especially small businesses and nonprofits) have a finite amount of resources, they must focus their social strategy on follower quality, not quantity. Having a huge social following  may seem fun and give you a nice ego boost, but that massive audience is only valuable if they take actions that help you achieve business goals.

Social media is like any marketing tool in that spending money on advertisements or sponsorships should produce some kind of return on your investment. This is not always a direct financial return (e.g. a purchase), so it is important to define what you consider to be “wins” for your campaigns. Some examples might be:

  • Connect with new grant sources and stay on top of their application deadlines.

  • Find and recruit new volunteers.

  • Showcase your team and support your retention efforts.

  • Find new talent.

  • Find and engage new donors.

  • Keep current donors informed and engaged so they continue donating.

  • Find new clients and enter new markets for your services or products.

  • Engage current clients with new deals, services, products, etc.

While social can help you achieve these kinds of results, there are two key factors that determine the success of your social campaigns:

  1. Most people expect the social media content they read to be tailored to their interests.

  2. Most people go on social media not to take an action (other than liking or sharing), but simply to passively read.

While personalizing content for each follower might seem overwhelming, there are advanced tools that make it easier to do.  First, you need to know more about who your audience is; every social media platform provides a variety of analytics that can help you create personas to target with your content. The cost to post and even to advertise on social is typically low to free, so you should create as many custom messages as you can to make each ad or sponsored post as engaging as possible.   

Most social platforms also provide ways for you to solicit micro actions from followers that help move them along your marketing funnel.  You can create simple links for a reader to just click on such as “Interested” alert you to reach out to an interested person; a “donate” button might take a follower to your customized PayPal landing page so they don’t even need to hunt for their credit card; a “volunteer” button might open a simple sign up form tied to your CRM.  Again, the simpler the better.

How do these tactics apply to different social platforms? What is the difference between a follower on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook? I’ll talk about that and more in Part 2 of this post, coming next week!