The 5 Stages of Social Media Maturity

Marta Boutchma

Canadians are increasingly willing to share experiences online. Word-of-mouth, positive referrals, and endorsements from trusted sources will always be the best way to bring warm leads to your business and social media is a hyperactive tool to help you. Here are the 5 steps to build your brands social media maturity:

5 Stages of Social Media Maturity

  1. When you first enter the world of social media, your primary goal is to increase your brand awareness. Even if you’re well known in your community, your fans need to know that you’re now online. Invite them to the party. Some numbers to track in this phase of your development:
    • Facebook: Benchmark your “total reach” (available in your Facebook Insights) so you know how many people are seeing your posts / ads. Begin to track who’s talking about your brand. Are the conversions positive or negative?
    • Twitter: Are people interested in what you have to say? Are you getting new followers? Are people retweeting you? What is the reach of your promoted tweets?
    • Blogs: Do people visit your blog? Are people linking to your blog?
  2. Now that people know you exist, we can move on to engagement. I mentioned the party metaphor earlier. How do you make sure people enjoy themselves? Welcome everyone, thank them for coming, feed them and give them free stuff. Keep the mood positive, dynamic, and always freshen up the way you entertain your guests.
    • Facebook: Are you getting more fans? Are they “liking” what you’re putting out there? What are their comments telling you? Are people clicking / liking your ads?
    • Twitter: Are people mentioning you in their tweets? Are people replying to your tweets to continue conversation? Are people picking up the hashtags you’ve thrown down? Are people clicking your ads?
    • Blogs: Are people spending time reading your blog? Are they commenting? Subscribing?
  3. This is the part you’ve been waiting for: conversion. Leads. Warm leads. Analyzing website usage reports for our clients has shown that social referrals convert well (second only to direct traffic*) and have the best track record for visiting more than 1 page. Canadians are internet savvy. They know this is why you’re online, and they will tolerate you going in for the sale (once they like you, at least). Ensure Google Analytics (or Omniture, or any website tracking tool) is set up correctly to track conversions. This will allow you to track email signups, sales, form submissions, phone calls, and/or whatever online action is important to your business.
  4. Once they’ve converted to a lead, make sure they have a fantastic experience with your brand. Our goal in this phase of social media is loyalty. Remember, these leads were sourced from social media, and we can safely assume that they’re active social media users who will tell anyone about their experience with you. I’ll assume I don’t have to get into the specifics of why repeat customers are cost efficient and favourable for you. Track loyalty by keeping an eye on repeat visits.
  5. Finally: the last phase of social media maturity. Turn your social media channels into a platform for your loudest brand advocates to share their amazing experiences. Advocacy on social media is the equivalent to traditional word-of-mouth. Their friends will see the positive reviews, and you’ve tapped into a “tribe” that’s likely to have shared demographic and situational characteristics with your past customer.
    • Facebook: Are people sharing your posts? Are you sensing a change in sentiment and attitude among your audience?
    • Twitter: Do the people following you have large followings of their own? Are they influencers that are relevant to you?
    • Blogs: Are they sharing your articles? Is there an increase in the quality of websites that are referencing you?

Once these basics are nailed down, search online for amazing market research that’s relevant to you and your audience. Tailor your social media campaigns accordingly to maximize impact for the effort you’re pouring in. For example, here’s a crazy graph from eMarketer that shows the difference between English and French-speaking social media users in Canada:

Reasons to Unfollow

Very useful information if you are trying to cater to both English and French audiences. Other great sources for information are: comScore, Mashable, AdAge, Microsoft Knowledge, and Google Think Insights. You can also comment, call 416-849-8971, or email me with any questions.

*Direct traffic to your website is comprised of visitors who go directly through to your website URL without using a search engine to aid them. They are likely repeat visitors, or people who obtained your website URL from an offline experience with your brand.

Marta Boutchma

Marta is a Communications Coordinator, she executes social media campaigns and creates content for her clients.

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