Going social is perhaps the best thing that can happen to your business – you get instant access to millions of visitors so that all you have to do is create and deliver an effective business message. Social media marketing is growing increasingly popular, and rightly so. If done correctly, it can do wonders for your business.

Measuring the Effectiveness:

But how do you know if your social media strategy is effective? How do you measure it’s success? Well, here are a few pointers to help you out:

  1. Check Engagement of Fans:

While the number of fans can be a measure of your marketing success, a more accurate measure would be how much your fans are interacting with your page/profile – number of likes, shares, retweets and pokes can be an indication of how effective your campaign is.

The logic is simple. The more your fans engage with your brand, the more interested they’re in your business, and the more likely they will be to buy your products.

  1. Check Traffic To Your Website:

The primary aim of any social medial marketing campaign is to send traffic to your website. So check your statistics (through Google Analytics) to see how much of your traffic is coming from social platforms, and is there any increase since the time you’ve intensified your social campaigns.

At times, it may so happen that you get truckloads of traffic, but your website is not ready to handle it. So get your website ready first. You could opt for cloud hosting as it is flexible enough to handle sudden spikes in traffic.

  1. Check Conversions:

Getting traffic is great, but what if they’re useless to you? The next thing to do is to check if your visitors are taking the desired action. I say desired action because the aim of the marketing campaign may not always be to make a sale. It could also be to make them download an e-book, participate in a contest, or even subscribe to a newsletter. Whatever the aim may be, you’ll need to check that it is being achieved.

If you social media marketing campaign is getting you ample traffic but most of the visitors are bouncing off your website, then it can’t be called a successful campaign.

Choosing the Right Platform:

There are many things that contribute to the success of any social media marketing campaign, but the most important one is the choice of the platform. Every social media platform has its own features and attracts a certain kind of audience, so if you want to succeed you need to know what suits your business the best.

So how do you make sure that you choose right? Here are a few factors you should consider:

  1. Know Your Audience:

The demographics of your audience plays an important role in choosing the platform. For instance, take a look at the chart below:

The survey takes into consideration the 5 most popular social platforms to show you the demographics of its users. As you can see, in terms of gender, Pinterest is more popular with women while LinkedIn is more popular with men (I have ignored Facebook numbers here as it’s high for all criteria due to sheer high volume of users). Likewise you can do a study of all the criteria, and then decide which platform fits the demographics of your target customer the best.

  1. Know Your Content:

When you’re on social media, you promote your business through content. So the type of content you create will determine the platform you choose. For instance:

  • Images: If most of your content comprises of images, then image-sharing platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr are ideal for you.
  • Videos: If creating awesome videos is your specialty, then you should go for video networks like YouTube, Vimeo and Vine.
  • Posts: If you’re looking at writing engaging posts for your target audience, you should go for Facebook, Twitter or just plain blogging.
  1. Know What You Want:

Do you want to improve SEO? Do you want more people to walk into your store? Do you want to target smaller niches instead of the social giants mentioned above? Do want to make connections with other businesses? Knowing what you want will decide what social platform fits best.

For instance, if you want SEO, then its Google+; if you want walk-ins then you’ll have to join location-based networks like Yelp and FourSquare; if you want smaller niches, then the perfect place to start is Reddit; and lastly, LinkedIn will help you make those vital business connections.

The Top 5 Social Media Platforms:

Still not too sure? To help you out, here are the top 5 social media platforms and when you should choose them:

  1. Facebook:

Facebook is huge, and this gives you exposure to a much wider audience than any other platform. It is a great platform for sharing interesting posts, pictures and videos that will help the audience connect and engage with your brand better. If that’s what you’re looking for, then go for it.

But there are 2 things that you should keep in mind: First, Facebook is mainly used to connect with friends and family, so it may not (always) be the right place for an out and out promotion campaign. And second, it’s sheer size exposes you to a lot of competition – the newsfeed is perpetually crowded and your message may get lost in all that noise.

  1. Twitter:

Twitter serves to the younger crowd (often referred to as information junkies), and comprises of both men and women. It’s best for those businesses that want to reach out to their audience through announcements, queries and news.

Apart from the character limit (140 characters per tweet), Twitter can be a challenge to those brands that are not equipped to promptly respond to the statements and queries of it’s fans. Twitter is more “in the moment” hang out place so you need to be on your toes.

  1. LinkedIn:

Like I mentioned above, LinkedIn is great for building connections. In addition, you can also establish yourself as an authority in your niche by participating in groups and discussions and giving out expert advice.

Since LinkedIn is not very visual (as compared to the others), it suits best for businesses that offer services rather than products.

  1. YouTube:

If you can create interesting videos that will engage the audience, then you can opt for YouTube. The best part about this channel is that it also has it’s own video-editing software so that you can edit your videos without any hassle.

The biggest drawback here is severe competition. Every day, millions of videos are getting posted on YouTube, out of which at least a few thousands will be similar to what you’re going to publish. So it becomes a difficult job to promote it in a way that it goes viral.

  1. Pinterest:

Pinterest works great for those businesses that can showcase themselves through visuals. So if you have a lot of visuals, or are creative enough to create interesting visuals, you can sign up with Pinterest.

However, one thing to keep in mind here is that the platform mainly caters to women and categories like food and DIY are the most popular.

In Conclusion:

At times, you may come across a situation where you want to use videos as well as images as a part of your content marketing strategy. So you may have to sign up for more than one social platform. That’s no problem at all. In fact, for best results, it is recommended that you promote your business on at least 3-4 social platforms. This ensures that you reach out to a wider audience.

However, do not take on what you can’t handle. Social media marketing is a rigorous process wherein you need to post regular updates and monitor your profiles regularly so that you can respond to comments and queries in a timely manner. So it makes no sense if you sign up for 10 accounts, but fail to keep up with the maintenance of all the 10 profiles. Take on less, and give it your best shot. That way, you’re more likely to succeed.

Have any other inputs you’d like to share? Feel free to comment!

About the Author: Sofia Brooks is a subject matter expert at IX Web Hosting, and her expertise lies in digital marketing. You can find her at Twitter and Google+