Thursday, November 26, 2020

By Andi Gray

Dilemma: I can't afford to lay out money on social media, especially now, and what we were spending seems wildly disproportionate to our return on investment. How can we get better results?

Ask Andi Thoughts of the Day: Protecting cash flow is critical right now, but so is marketing. Figure out the metrics you want to measure that will indicate if things are going well, or not. Think about who might be your ideal audience and then test to see if you can attract their attention and convert them to action. Check the data regularly. Create a plan of attack, and follow it, then revise it to improve results.

According to a recent Forbes article, there is a renewed emphasis on digital marketing, especially social media, as we continue through the pandemic. It’s a trend that was already happening, but was accelerated with the lockdown. While meeting the needs of consumers is changing all the time, messages that convey community engagement as well as honestly, empathy, and social consciousness are connecting best in these hyper-speed times.

As you up your social media game, it’s very important that you track and report on results. When building metrics, think about the following:

• How many people are becoming aware of your company?
• What opportunities are added to the pipeline?
• How many prospects are engaged to discuss ways to work together
• How many deals get done?
• How much revenue and profit contribution?


Add up all costs incurred by working on social media. Include staff time, vendor costs, any software and advertising, and any training costs. Add in a factor for overhead contribution.

Compare stats resulting from social media efforts to what you spent.
Divide spending on social media by each individual stat for awareness, pipeline additions, prospect engagement, and number and value of deals getting done.

Design a profile of your ideal customer, which will mean you need multiple profiles for multiple buying scenarios and services (especially helpful if you are branching out into other services beyond your traditional offerings, such as retail). It will help everyone involved to think about real people who are or could do business with your company, while also giving you a chance to highlight your safety and cleaning measures to calm any anxieties.

Each profile should be specific enough that you’re confident you and everyone else working on social media knows exactly who you’re trying to target. Include demographics such as age, sex, geography, socio-economic and education background, likes and dislikes, places they go for information, things that get their attention, problems they’re trying to solve, goals they’re trying to achieve, ways they talk about their experiences, and how they go about buying. Use existing great customers as your models. This Inc. article can help define your target.

If you have the cash to use an outside firm to build your customer profiles, make sure they work quickly and efficiently. You may find it’s faster and cheaper to have your own team build profiles, since they already know a lot about your customers. Whoever works on the project, ask them to create a one-page description of each buyer profile. Once you have a profile, it’s time to get the attention of others who match that profile.

Run tests and compare results to determine what works best with various social media outlets.
Compare advertising to gaining visibility through posts. Think about how various social media channels work—some are for quick views, others are places to learn and make deeper contacts. You may need to branch out to include other channels if you are targeting new audiences. For example, video marketing is continuing to explode with channels like TikTok, but it has to be appropriate for your target.

Take a look at what your competitors may be doing.
Gather ideas on what to promote, who to promote it to, and what to stay away from. If you’re planning to spend money on advertising, look for venues that most closely align with your target client to maximize your spend. This article may help.

Repeat what works, but change what doesn’t.
This year has proven that we must constantly adapt and pivot rapidly to stay on point. Have a plan and stick to it, knowing that you will have to step up to meet any new challenges that come along. Decide how much you can afford to spend. Identify free and for-cost activities you want to try while setting a goal for the payoff you hope to achieve. Use your metrics to report on successes and failures.   [CD0920]


Andi Gray is the founder of the Business Consulting Firm Strategy Leaders. She can be reached at andi@strategyleaders.com.