For many businesses that have dedicated time and resources to engage in social media platforms the question remains, “How do we monetize this work?” a query that grows in urgency as defining the financial rewards resulting from these efforts remains difficult. The complexity of this issue is exacerbated by the fact that abandoning social media altogether really isn’t an option, in the same way that shutting down the company’s main website and walking away from the web isn’t an option.
In many cases, one of the main reasons behind the challenge of monetization rests in the fact that Facebook and Twitter have become the default choice for many businesses’ social media optimization initiatives. While this is not a bad thing in and of itself, oftentimes the presence on these platforms exists mainly for reactive and/or sales-related communications, neither of which really resonates with the existing and potential community of friends, followers, etc.
There are, however, three areas to which companies can shift their focus to deliver a more dynamic presence, energize their potential target market, and ultimately monetize their social media initiatives.
Increasing video content – Images and video, when integrated with written content, increases engagement and social actions such as sharing, which expands the potential audience while also generating positive signals for search engine algorithms. Getting started in this area can be as simple as shooting images and videos with a smartphone and uploading them to the company’s social media pages where they can be optimized for maximum impact.
Assessing smaller social media platforms that may deliver better results – With an ethos based more on social communication than anything else, many companies are constantly fighting a headwind in terms of marketing and sales efforts on Facebook. This headwind virtually disappears on social media platforms such as Wanelo, Fancy, Fab and Pinterest where “social shopping” is the focus. Due to the sheer number of members on the “Big Two” social media platforms, walking away completely isn’t recommended due to the fact that a company’s presence on these sites can be used to refer friends, followers, etc. to their pages on shopping-based platforms. Instead, focus your communications on social platforms and your marketing on social shopping sites.
Generating quality content – The purpose of all the algorithm changes at Google can be summed up in four words; quality content is king. Gone are the shortcuts and tricky practices meant to manipulate rankings on the search engine results pages (SERPs), both of which have been replaced by algorithms that reward publishers for providing positive user experiences, whether adding value through informational or instructional content.
By re-focusing attention on these areas, companies that are frustrated by their current social media initiatives can increase engagement rates, align with sites that share the same goals, and build their brand. The end results can include higher customer acquisition rates as well as the realization of the elusive goal of monetizing social media efforts.