The world is going social--and the social world is going mobile. According to Business Insider, Americans spend more time on social media than any other online activity, including email. And 60% of that time is now spent on tablets and smartphones.

For marketers of all sizes, connecting with customers on social media is a necessity. If you’re not visible to--and communicating with--your customers on social, your competitors will be. But social strategy is not the same as traditional marketing strategy. As American Express explains to small business owners, one of the first things you need to learn is: “socialize, don’t advertise.”

The traditional marketing funnel leads a customer from awareness to consideration to purchase to loyalty to advocacy. On social media, we suggest a different approach. We call it the 4 Rs:  Reach, Resonance, Reaction and Retention.

Reach is the amount of people exposed to your brand on social media. More reach means more people get the chance to see and engage with your brand. It begins with your followers and fans. And it’s amplified and multiplied when your content is shared or retweeted. When possible, invite your current customers to follow you on social media. In addition, use social media to engage potential customers that fit your brand’s profile with content that adds value to these users’ social media experience. It’s a simple formula: Offer content people like. Combine that with an audience development strategy to insure the right people see it. Repeat consistently and your community will over time.

Resonance occurs when people begin to understand the value your brand can bring to their lives--and how it reflects values they themselves hold. Shared values encourage your audience to interact with your brand. What do you stand for. Sustainability? Innovation? Luxury? Value? If you’re a sportswear company, people who like to work out (your audience) will prefer sweating in your gear if you express why your brand makes exercise feel great. Resonance is equally important for new potential fans and existing fans. Being authentic and personable as you deliver value through expertise allows you to connect with people on their terms (they come to social media seeking information and entertainment, but also interaction).

Following strong resonance is a Reaction from the audience. Typical reactions include engagement with your content on social media--through likes, shares, retweets and comments, but also by attracting new fans and followers, generating more website visits, and selling more products. Keep in mind that the more people react to your brand in the form of social sharing the greater your Reach--earning you access to a whole new group of people you wouldn’t have reached otherwise, backed by the real or implied endorsement that is the hallmark of social sharing.

Retention represents the people who remain subscribed and who continue to buy and engage. When you deliver value consistently over time, you make your brand worth following. When your followers are in agreement about the success and value of your brand, it creates a sense of community and reinforces the connections you make. The more people your social media content attracts, engages and retains, the more your brand will stay top of mind among customers of every kind--from the loyal to the occasional to the potential.

If you’re wondering about ROI (the effectiveness of your social media marketing), ask yourself these questions: Do your analytics show higher web traffic numbers? Is your email list growing? Do people engage with your content? Is your number of customers increasing? If the answers are yes, this can mean more “fame” as your brand grows its community and becomes more visible for its expertise and creativity within social media. It could even mean increased media coverage.

Thinking about changing your current approach? Use our infographic to see what stage of your marketing needs attention. Each stage impacts the next so they all need to be strong. For example, if you don’t think you’re reaching enough people, be sure that you’re posting content to multiple social media channels and asking colleagues to share it with their audiences. Strengthen your Resonance by aligning your message with what your audience values. You can find out what your audience wants by brainstorming what your typical fan or customer desires in life, and determine how your brand fits into that. Reactions are sure to follow if you’re successfully fulfilling the tenets of the first two R.s And Retention will be your reward for offering consistent value.  

If you have any questions or just want to chat, email us.