There’s a lot more to social media marketing than posting on Facebook or Twitter and forgetting about it once you post. Unfortunately, social media marketing is often treated as a single discipline, but it’s actually composed of four equally important parts. If successfully implemented, your efforts will be paid with increased awareness, engagement, and traffic to your website. 

The four stages of a successful social cycle are: 

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Social Monitoring & Listening

During this stage, you will be monitoring social media and responding to customers, while listening for important trends and topics. The goal of your social monitoring and listening is to manage your online reputation, reduce refunds, and identify product and content gaps. Some comments will be positive and you will want to respond. Some comments will be negative and you’ll have to respond immediately so people know you’re accessible. If you don’t respond, you could gain a bad reputation – but it’s also important to respond appropriately. 

Social listening will also give you the insights to make decisions throughout the rest of the cycle. It’ll help drive strategy development that influences, grows your following, and ultimately leads to lots of conversions. An example of an effective way of doing this is using your Twitter account to listen to your customers needs, wants, and complaints. A simple check in on your account will provide your customer care team a pulse on your customers. 

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Social Influencing

This is the stage where you establish your authority in your industry by posting relevant content that adds value. The key here is creating content that people want to engage with. The more relevant the content, the more they will recognize your authority in the space and identify you as a valuable resource. As they continue to engage with your content, it will be shared to their networks, and your brand will extend its reach. 

Key goals you’ll need to take into consideration during this stage are: 

  • increasing engagement like retweets or reshares
  • increasing website traffic by clicking on links on social media
  • recognized authority and a brand people watch
  • people look to engage with you by asking you questions or opinions
  • increasing offer and product awareness
  • growing your retargeting lists

(Learn more about the metrics you should be measuring here).

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Social Networking

Social networking involves building relationships with trusted influential people and brands in your industry. Create mutually beneficial relationships that allow both parties to grow. You will share valuable content from people within the industry, and even competitors. But, if it’s helpful to your audience, it’s worth sharing. As you develop these strategic relationships, you’ll notice an increase in mentions in the long run.

Another added benefit of social networking is that you will be able to share content that fills gaps left from your own content. By sharing their content, you’ll also be creating good will with brands that are similar to yours – possibly creating a relationship that can lead to a profitable partnership.

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Social Selling

This is where you’ll be generating leads and sales by connecting a seeking audience with your products and services. Focus on engaging your audience and making sure that you speak of the benefits of what you offer. With so much noise in the digital space, you’ll want to make sure your benefits resonate with your audience. So, your social selling should focus on seeker channels where customers are actively looking for specific products and services, like Google, YouTube, or Pinterest. People will go to these channels to search for and discover content.

An example of social selling will look as follows: A lead reads a blog and you’ll embed an offer in the content. You’ll leverage social media to promote the content, directing traffic to your content where new leads see your offer. If they click to opt-in for the offer, you can immediately make an upsell offer – a low-priced product that’s designed to turn your new lead into a life-long customer. But, if they don’t opt-in, you can retarget them with ads.

To have a well-rounded social media marketing strategy, you need to understand the four stages of the social cycle to succeed. If not, there will be an imbalance that will impact your overall marketing goals and business.

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