While it may seem darn impressive to have 10,000 or 20,000 followers on your social media site, if they are not converting into revenue…what are they really worth? Since the rise of social networks like Facebook more than a decade ago, marketers have been eager to build social media communities based on corporate strategies. Many have felt that to generate revenue, social media is the most targeted and cost efficient marketing vehicle. While social media marketing is not necessarily a money making machine, it often proves to behave as the most cost effective marketing vehicle for many companies.

Here are 10 ways to make your social media profitable.

1. Paid reach.

In the times of yore it used to be that a social media campaign was a free marketing option. It still costs nothing for a company to create a business page or to post informational or promotional content to it. Where it has evolved is that to reach your targeted demographic you must now pay to play. While still one of the most cost effective forms of marketing, the addition of an ad budget is the “secret sauce” to reaching your audience with social media. 

2. Strategy.

Create a formally documented strategy that clearly lists your target audience, your specific goals and projected growth objectives. This will allow your team to post content that is relevant and “on-strategy” so that the information will serve to drive those actions that you want your prospects and customers to take. You’ll also have a template to follow which can be adjusted over time. 

3. Consistency.

You must be consistent with your posting schedule, providing information on a regular schedule. Avoid Stay multiple daily postings during one week, followed by an absence of disseminating information the following week. Importantly, over-posting will alienate your followers and could lead to them unfollowing your social media site. 

4. Frequency.

An optimal posting schedule would be approximately 3 to 4 times per week, depending upon the platform, and will allow you to maintain a “top of mind” relationship with your community. A mix of content offering both informative facts as well as some promotional information dedicated to generating sales should keep your followers engaged.  

5. Add value.

Whether it’s through the provision of engaging lifestyle content that your followers will find of interest or through offering special deals or discounts, your followers will only enter into the conversation if you add perceived value for them.

6. Personal touches.

It’s called social media for a reason. It is important that your followers feel that your business is welcoming. Be honest, be humorous, be engaging. Don’t take yourself too seriously in tone. If you wouldn’t say it in a conversation, don’t say it on your page. Putting a face to your business makes you seem open to conversation.

7. Follower engagement.

Securing or capturing new followers without having their engagement defeats the purpose. Once someone has chosen to follow your page, they know who you are and what you do. It then becomes a matter of keeping them engaged. Lifestyle content that is “on strategy” will offer interesting information for your community. Offer insights into information you think your demographic will find of interest. Paid reach is also an integral part of growing engagement opportunities as the more eyeballs that see your content, the more likely you are to get increased interaction as well.

8. Calls to action.

Your call-to-action is critical (clearly articulating the steps that you urge your readership to immediately take), and ultimately how revenue is generated. Your goal is to occasionally call your audience to action by sending them to your website, brick and mortar location or giving them the opportunity to buy something. Whatever the destination or intended action, it should either generate revenue or get your brand one step closer to generating revenue.

9. Analytics.

Metrics are a key component to any social media strategy. First set your objectives, then evaluate the variables. What is your cost of acquisition? What is your cost per engagement? What time should you be reaching out to your demographic? As opposed to traditional media, these metrics are readily available through social media. Your strategy should have a clear end goal with attainable benchmarks along the way. One of the most significant advantages of social media is that your communication strategies, creative approaches and customer targeting can all be tweaked and improved based on results. 

10. Plan to scale 

Lastly, you should think and plan for growth. Once you’ve achieved your preliminary goals where do you go from there? Do you begin to leverage other platforms? Do you think about growing your social media team? If you were stumbling with the implementation of  your social media initiatives in house, do you out source to social media specialists? All valid questions that will need to be addressed going forward.

Adding these 10 all important ingredients to your social media initiative should result in your business generating a return on investment (ROI). Executed properly, social media should behave as your company’s most cost efficient marketing vehicle.