The true value of social media is not about how many fans and followers you have, but what you do with them. Many tend to forget the "marketing" in social media marketing, and think social media success is just about posting content and getting as many likes as possible. It's not.
Marketers need to go beyond just getting likes and create real engagement opportunities that keep their business top of mind with their customers. While an increased number of likes leads to a bigger audience, it's only the first step in deriving real value from your investment in social media.
Here are five things you can do to help turn likes into real results on Facebook:
1. Create a compelling offer.
This may sound like a no-brainer, yet all too often campaigns miss the mark because they're not aligned with the interests of customers. Before you send out that offer, put yourself in the customer's shoes and ask yourself if you would act on it. If you find that it's more skewed to benefiting your business as opposed to providing a real benefit to your customer, rethink the parameters of the offer. If an offer is designed with the customer in mind, they're more likely to respond and tell their friends about it.
2. Build a full campaign plan.
The most successful campaigns on Facebook span a two-to-three week period. During this time, there is a cadence that flows around publishing, promoting and driving action. Before you go live, consider how you're going to sustain the momentum during those weeks and continue to drive traffic to your Facebook page. This includes all the ways you connect with your target audience online and offline including your email list, Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, Google+ circles and even in person.
3. Promote your offer across all of your communications channels
There's no single way to promote your campaign that guarantees results, so you'll want to reach your audience where they're most active and likely to engage. This can be in your email newsletters, other social media channels, your blog, or even in-person at an upcoming tradeshow.
While the core of the offer will remain the same, don't forget that the way you communicate needs to reflect the medium you're using. For example, the 140 characters you use on Twitter are going to be different than your Facebook status update. When you tailor your messages, customers are more likely to respond, especially when they realize there's an actual human behind it as opposed to an automated message feed.
4. Encourage fans to keep in touch
Getting fans to maintain contact after a campaign has ended is what sets great marketers apart from everyone else. While you have their attention during a campaign, ask fans to join your email list or follow you on Twitter, for example, so you can keep in touch, keep a two-way conversation going, and begin building a long-term relationship.
5. Repeat successful results, not campaigns
While you shouldn't do the same thing every time, you should continue to engage your audience and encourage them to share. You can do this by presenting new offers monthly. These could be special deals for fans or exclusive content, for example. By mixing it up, you'll increase responses and make campaigns more engaging.
Mark Schmulen is the general manager of social media at Constant Contact and the co-founder of NutshellMail. He can be found on Twitter at Twitter.com/mschmulen. A version of this post first appeared on JeffBullas.com.