In a big picture sense, social media marketing is easy: just set up profiles in all the major platforms, engage with fans, customers, and colleagues, and then watch the resulting traffic arrive at your website and manifest itself into sales.

However, there is a part of this process that’s actually quite difficult to deal with: social media marketing is “soft,” in the sense that it doesn’t pay off immediately and there are very few hard metrics to track. In other words, you can’t tell it’s working until it’s obviously working, and there is a lot of guesswork involved in getting to that point.

For that reason, a lot of would-be social media marketers give up much sooner than they should, or shy away from trying to find customers through Facebook, Twitter, and Google + altogether. To stop you from making those mistakes, today I want to share a few quick tips that can help you get through the hardest part of social networking for your business…

First, Break Out of SEO and PPC Thinking

In more “traditional” forms of internet marketing, a certain number of clicks should turn into a predictable percentage of conversions. On social media, that kind of math doesn’t always hold up. You can get a lot of interest on your posts and pages, but they won’t necessarily translate into immediate and deliverable returns.

However, when you make a strong and repeated impression on your social fans and followers, lots of good things happen. They keep you on the top of their minds, read your ideas, and send referrals your way. In essence, social media marketing is more like branding than direct advertising. Your goal is to build interest and attention first, in the hopes that it will translate into something more substantial later.

Remember You Have Several Social Audiences

When you put PPC ads in place, or design an SCO-focused landing page, you probably have a specific kind of buyer in mind. With social media marketing, though, there are a lot of different audiences you should pay attention to.

Obviously, one of these groups is going to be the buyers you want to target. They’ll probably always be your most prominent focus. However, it’s important to remember that your social posts will also reach existing customers, along with potential employees, vendors, and partners. You can use your social accounts and posts to strengthen your bonds with these groups, but only if you take a softer sell approach.

Manage Your Social Messaging and Expectations

It would be nice if you could send a tweet and rack up thousands of new sales, but that doesn’t happen very often. What is more typical is that a company builds a following, establishes an identity to their social accounts, and starts to pick up followers. Eventually, those followers become subscribers, blog readers, and retail shoppers. It’s just not a process that takes place overnight.

With that in mind, you have to measure your early progress in terms of shares, likes, and new fans. It might seem like you aren’t making up much ground in the beginning, but your social presence will probably follow an exponential curve. Once it picks up steam, things can accelerate quickly.

Lots of marketers struggle with the fact that social media marketing seems ambiguous, with a short-term ROI that’s hard to pin down. Those are fair concerns, but you don’t want to miss out on the billions of daily social users you could target just because reaching them is a little bit tougher.

Need help putting together your search, social, and web design strategy? Contact Biondo Creative today to see how we can help!