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Use Social Media Networks Surgically for the Best Return on Your Time and Money

As a small business owner, you have a lot on your plate every day. You’re busy running a business, and the more time you can spend focused on your specialty, the better.

As important as it is to stay on top of your Internet marketing efforts — and as we know at Ring Ring Marketing, that’s incredibly important in this day and age — there are only so many hours in a day. And when it comes to social media marketing, it’s easy for those hours to be consumed.

Social media, by its very nature, isn’t just something you can “set and forget.” It’s an ongoing process, something you must regularly update and stick with to achieve your goals.

There are methods that can help with the process, of course: You can write Facebook posts, tweets and more ahead of time and schedule them to publish in regular intervals.

You can also save time by contracting out your social media updates, although you should only use a very qualified blogger to do this, because even a single misstep — posting something offensive or libelous, for example — can be disastrous. Of course, contracting costs money, and getting someone good costs more.

Don’t get us wrong: To compete in your local market in 2013, using social media is a must. But don’t buy into the argument from some social media “experts” that you need to have a toe in every single social media network. You don’t. Instead, focus your time and/or money on the social media networks that make sense for you.

Any marketing effort you participate in should be done with specific goals in mind, and that’s especially true with social media. At Ring Ring Marketing, we can help you determine your goals and select which social media networks are most amenable to helping you reach them. In general, you’ll want to consider the following metrics:

Traffic: This is the most basic metric — you want your social media efforts to drive traffic to your
site. Because Google Analytics can provide plenty of information on where your site visitors are coming from (and when), you can get a great idea of what posts or tweets are effective in delivering the goods.

Leads: Specific goals for leads and conversions help you see not only how many people are checking out your business, but which actually turn out to be qualified leads and convert into customers. If you’re simply getting traffic from your social media but not conversions, you might need to change your approach or try a different network.

Reach: There’s only so much that can be gained from delivering your messages to the same folks over and over again. Yes, customer retention is important, but one of the greatest aspects of social media is that you should be expanding your reach to engage new leads, and ultimately, new customers.

Engagement: Social media is key to increasing brand awareness. If you’re focusing on the right networks and getting the word out in the right way, people should be talking about your brand socially and building buzz — even when you’re not necessarily putting anything out there. Mentions, Likes, retweets, stars, and comments can all be tracked to see what engages leads and what doesn’t.

Customer satisfaction/sentiment: What are people saying about your business or brand? Are you getting positive feedback in comments or Twitter replies? If improving your reputation is a priority right now, it’s critical to focus on avenues that are likely to generate the most positive responses.

The most important thing will be analyzing the returns you’re getting on the social networks you’re using. Perhaps you’re getting lots of traffic from Facebook, but very few conversions. Perhaps you’re getting tons of conversions from LinkedIn, but the traffic isn’t where you’d like it to be.

Once you know what your main priorities are, you’ll know which networks demand your greatest efforts — and which can stay on the back burner for now.

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