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Crafting Your Social Media Marketing Strategy: Navigating Pitfalls & Maximizing ROI

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Building a Case for Social Media Marketing
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In the memorable scene from the iconic 1996 film Jerry Maguire, Cuba Gooding Jr.’s character famously demands, “SHOW ME THE MONEY!” Similarly, in the realm of social media marketing, we fervently proclaim, “SHOW ME THE NUMBERS!”—and the statistics speak volumes:

  • There are approximately 3.03 billion active social media users (source: Hootsuite).
  • 91% of retail brands utilize two or more social media platforms (source: AdWeek).
  • The average internet user maintains eight social media accounts (source: GlobalWebIndex).
  • 81% of small and mid-sized businesses actively engage in social media (source: LinkedIn).
  • 71% of customers who have positive social media interactions with a brand are likely to recommend it to others (source: Ambassador).
  • 89% of businesses attest that social media marketing has expanded their exposure, while 78% report increased web traffic (source: AdWeek).

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Crafting Your Social Strategy
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While the goal is clear—reap the benefits of social media while mitigating risks—the path to success may seem daunting, especially if past experiences have left you feeling disillusioned. Yet, social media marketing isn’t guesswork; it’s a strategic endeavor. Here are five steps to guide you:

Step #1: Define Your Objectives

Merely stating a desire to “boost sales” is akin to aspiring to “better health”—worthy but abstract. Define clear, achievable goals within the social media marketing framework. Objectives may include enhancing brand or product awareness, driving web traffic, improving lead quality, bolstering reputation, fostering customer engagement, or enhancing loyalty.

And so, it’s important (and frankly, necessary) to take a step back from the overall aspiration of “increasing sales,” and identifying realistic and achievable goals that fit within a social media marketing framework. These objectives could include one, some, or possibly all of the following:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Increasing product awareness
  • Increasing web traffic
  • Improving lead quality
  • Improving reputation
  • Increasing customer engagement
  • Increasing customer loyalty

Why is it so important to identify your social media marketing objectives before choosing your platforms? It’s simply because some platforms are better than others at achieving certain outcomes. For example, if you’re in the B2B space and want to establish thought leadership in your marketplace, then publishing articles on LinkedIn is likely going to be part of your strategic plan. If you’re a B2C retailer or e-tailer who sells custom jewelry and you want to increase brand awareness, then publishing photos and short videos on Instagram probably makes strategic sense.

Step #2: Identify Your Target Audience

Many businesses assume their target audience’s presence on specific platforms without thorough investigation. Understand where your audience congregates on social media, leveraging demographic insights to inform your engagement strategy.

For example, many businesses in the IT space have zero footprint on Reddit, even though according to KissMetrics.com it’s the fifth most active social media platform, and a main source of information, reviews and recommendations for IT products and services. Similarly, many B2C retailers and e-tailers have no footprint on Pinterest, even though it’s possible (and probable) that many of their prospective customers check those platforms multiple times a day.

To get an idea of where your target audience congregates on the social media landscape — and therefore where your business should engage them — here are some demographics for five major platforms compiled by StrikeSocial:

Facebook

  • 2.01 billion monthly active users
  • 69% of women
  • 61% of men
  • 76% of adults with annual incomes above $75,000
  • 88% of 18 to 29 year-olds
  • 79% of 30 to 49 year-olds
  • 51% of 50 to 69 year-olds
  • 36% of 70+ year-olds

Twitter

  • 328 million active monthly users
  • 21% of women
  • 21% of men
  • 30% of adults with annual incomes above $75,000
  • 36% of 18 to 29 year-olds
  • 22% of 30 to 49 year-olds
  • 18% of 50 to 69 year-olds
  • 6% of 70+ year-olds

LinkedIn

  • 252 million active monthly users
  • 23% of women
  • 28% of men
  • 45% of adults with annual incomes above $75,000
  • 34% of 18 to 29 year-olds
  • 31% of 30 to 49 year-olds
  • 21% of 50 to 69 year-olds
  • 11% of 70+ year-olds

Instagram

  • 800 million monthly active users
  • 32% of women
  • 23% of men
  • 30% of adults with annual incomes above $75,000
  • 59% of 18 to 29 year-olds
  • 31% of 30 to 49 year-olds
  • 13% of 50 to 69 year-olds
  • 5% of 70+ year-olds

Pinterest

  • 200 million monthly active users
  • 36% of women
  • 15% of men
  • 34% of adults with annual incomes above $75,000
  • 36% of 18 to 29 year-olds
  • 32% of 30 to 49 year-olds
  • 24% of 50 to 69 year-olds
  • 9% of 70+ year-olds

Step #3: Analyze Your Competition

Study competitors’ social media strategies to discern trends and expectations within your industry. Identifying gaps or areas of success can inform your approach and help set benchmarks.

Not only does this competitive analysis tell you where you (likely) need to be in the social media world, but it also helps you understand what the marketplace expects. For example, if you’re a law firm and your biggest competitors have a strong and impressive YouTube presence, then you can safely assume that your target audience is going to expect you to have one as well. To put things differently: some of your prospective clients will hold it against you if you aren’t on YouTube, simply because your competitors are. They’ll see it as a red flag that could keep them from reaching out and sparking a relationship.

Step #4: Develop Your Custom Plan

Craft a comprehensive social media marketing plan, aligning objectives with resources, timelines, and budgets. Ensure feasibility by accounting for personnel and technological requirements, such as content creation and distribution.

Essentially, your plan needs to identify the who, what, where, when and how much for each creative asset. Otherwise, it won’t take long — it could be a matter of weeks — before your social media marketing plan becomes obsolete and useless.

Step #5: Execute, Track, and Optimize

Once your plan is all set — and it’s often profitable to get expert consulting help with this — the proverbial rubber hits the road, because it’s time to execute, track and optimize:

  • Execute: put your plan in motion, and carry out the activities per your schedule and agenda. The time and effort that you invested in making your plan robust and realistic will pay off here.
  • Track: regularly monitor metrics and analyze to see what’s working, what isn’t, and why/why not.
  • Optimize: based on the insights you glean from tracking plus other information you gather as your plan unfolds, make changes that generate better results and ROI (e.g. allocating more resources to creating articles vs. videos).

Implement your plan, monitoring performance metrics to assess effectiveness. Continuously adapt and optimize strategies based on insights garnered from tracking, aiming for sustained improvements in ROI.

Moving Forward

We trust this guide equips you with a deeper understanding of social media marketing and its potential for sustained ROI. We welcome your feedback and experiences and stand ready to offer further assistance—whether advising your in-house team or collaborating as your dedicated digital marketing partner.

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In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, artificial intelligence (AI) and technology have become integral parts of our daily lives. They have revolutionized various industries and transformed the way we work, communicate, and interact with the world. Amidst this technological revolution, subscribing to Blue Diamond Webs offers unique advantages and opportunities for individuals and businesses alike. This article explores the reasons why subscribing to Blue Diamond Webs is essential in harnessing the full potential of AI and technology.  

Cutting-Edge AI Solutions: Blue Diamond Webs is at the forefront of AI innovation, offering cutting-edge solutions that can empower businesses and individuals. By subscribing, users gain access to advanced AI technologies, such as machine learning algorithms, natural language processing, and computer vision. These technologies enable businesses to automate processes, analyze vast amounts of data, and make data-driven decisions, leading to increased efficiency, productivity, and competitive advantage.

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Collaborative Community and Networking: By subscribing to Blue Diamond Webs, users become part of a vibrant community of like-minded individuals and businesses. This community fosters collaboration, knowledge sharing, and networking opportunities. Subscribers can engage in forums, webinars, and events organized by Blue Diamond Webs, enabling them to connect with industry experts, learn from their experiences, and explore potential partnerships. This collaborative environment enhances professional growth, promotes innovation, and expands horizons within the realm of AI and technology. 

Summary: The advent of AI and technology has revolutionized the way we live and work. Subscribing to Blue Diamond Webs offers a multitude of advantages, including access to cutting-edge AI solutions, customized web development, enhanced cybersecurity measures, continuous technical support, and a collaborative community. By harnessing the power of Blue Diamond Webs’ offerings, individuals and businesses can unlock the full potential of AI and technology, leading to increased efficiency, growth, and success. 

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Accessibility Law Suites

Top Companies That Got Sued Over Website Accessibility

Gavel on marble platform

It might surprise you to learn that your favorite brands have faced accessibility lawsuits. Why?  Because their websites did not provide equal access to people with disabilities.

In recent years, businesses – from small brands to large corporations – have been subjected to an increase of 300% in accessibility lawsuits, paying an average of $25,000 in court settlements.

Well, no one is above the law. This statement is illustrated clearly in the case of these top companies that failed to meet accessibility standards for their consumers.

Famous Web Accessibility Lawsuits

Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts Logo

Electronic Arts (EA) Inc. is one of the recent targets of accessibility lawsuits. In May 2022, Rafael Cordero, a blind user, sued EA for failing to design its website to be fully usable and accessible to blind and visually-impaired users.

According to the lawsuit, accessibility issues on EA’s website center on the inability of screen-reading software to:

  • freely navigate the site
  • read item descriptions
  • read prices of items.

It also states that:

“Unless websites are designed to be read by screen-reading software, blind and visually impaired persons are unable to fully access websites and the information, products, goods, and services contained therein.”

Cordero wants a jury trial in addition to statutory, actual, and punitive damages for himself and all class members (other blind and visually impaired EA website users).

DraftKings

DraftKings logo

DraftKings, a top sports betting company, has several measures in place to ensure its website is accessible. However, web accessibility guidelines are constantly changing and can be difficult to track. DraftKings recently discovered this – and not in a pleasant way.

In June 2022, Robert Jahoda, a visually impaired user, sued the company for inaccessibility. Jahoda claims the company’s website was not compatible with popular screen-reading software.

He wants DraftKing to make changes to its compliance policies including retaining a qualified accessibility consultant and implementing all the recommendations. He also seeks payment of an undisclosed amount in attorney fees and nominal damages.

Target

Target logo

 

This case is a precedent for web accessibility cases and a cautionary tale to industries that do not meet the WCAG standards.

In 2005, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), a non-profit representing blind Americans, notified Target that its website (Target.com) was inaccessible to blind and visually impaired customers.

The main complaints were that:

  • images on the site lacked alternative (alt) text.
  • several headings necessary to navigate the site were missing.
  • it was impossible to complete an online purchase without using a mouse.
  • maps showing the locations of Target stores were inaccessible to screen readers.

The lawsuit alleged Target violated the California Unruh Civil Rights Act, the California Disabled Persons Act, and The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – accessibility laws that require all businesses and public spaces to be accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.

Target initially argued that its website is not covered by the ADA, saying that only its physical stores were. It later changed its stance and settled with the NFB in 2008, paying $6 million in class damages.

Target also agreed to make its website more accessible, train its web developers team on accessibility design requirements and techniques, and permit the NFB to monitor its site for three years.

After the court ruling, Target responded,

“We will continue to implement technology that increases the usability of our Web site for all our guests, including those with disabilities.”

Netflix

Netflix logo

In 2012, the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) sued Netflix, the popular streaming service, for failing to provide closed captioning for most of its “Watch Instantly” movies and television streamed on the Internet.

At that time, Netflix was the only major player in the online-only video subscription business, which meant the disparity in access for deaf or hard-of-hearing viewers was huge.

NAD’s President Bobbie Scoggins was quite strong-worded on the matter, saying:

“We (the deaf and hard-of-hearing community) must have equal access to the biggest provider of streamed entertainment. Streamed video is the future and we must not be left out.”

In its defense, Netflix claimed it did not violate the ADA because its streaming business could not be considered a ‘public space’. However, the presiding judge ruled in favor of NAD, stating that public places are not only actual physical structures.

In the judge’s words:

“In a society in which business is increasingly conducted online, excluding businesses that sell services through the internet from the ADA .. would severely frustrate Congress’s intent that individuals with disabilities fully enjoy the goods, services, privileges, and advantages available indiscriminately to other members of the general public.”

The judge ordered Netflix to caption its streaming video library by 2014 and keep doing in the future. In addition, Netflix paid $755,000 to the NDA in legal fees and damages.

Nike

Nike logo

In 2017, a New Yorker, Maria Mendizabal, filed a lawsuit against Nike Inc, the footwear manufacturer, for inaccessibility. Maria claimed Nike’s two corporate websites – Nike.com and Converse.com – failed to give equal access to blind and visually impaired users like herself.

Maria said Nike’s websites did not conform to design requirements that allow screen readers to access and read web content. This meant Nike violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and several state accessibility laws. Major issues cited included:

  • Missing alternative (alt) text for images and other non-textual content.
  • Empty link texts
  • Redundant links.

Maria asked the judge to place a permanent injunction on Nike to update its websites to meet accessibility standards. She also sought compensation in damages, court costs, attorney fees, and pre-and post-judgment interest.

Amazon

Amazon logo

Today, Amazon’s websites are accessible, but this wasn’t always the case. In 2018, Cedric Bishop, a visually impaired customer, sued Amazon for being inaccessible to blind and visually-impaired users.

Bishop claimed Amazon’s website was incompatible with screen readers and refreshable Braille displays – software that allows visually impaired users to read web content. The lawsuit ended in a settlement.

Beyonce Knowles (Park Entertainment)

parkwood entertainment logo

Right after New Year’s celebrations, on January 3, 2019, Beyonce’s company, Park Entertainment, was sued because its official website was inaccessible to visually impaired users who could not buy tickets to a Beyonce concert.

The plaintiff, Mary Conner, argued that this violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Major web accessibility issues included:

  •  Lack of alternative (text) for images.
  • lack of accessible drop-down menus and navigation links
  •  inability to navigate the site using a keyboard instead of a mouse

The class-action lawsuit focused on people who are legally blind – a category that includes a range of visual impairments, not just total blindness.

Domino’s Pizza

Domino's logo

In 2019, Guillermo Robles sued Domino’s Pizza over violations of ADA Title III. Robles claimed he could not order food from Domino’s website and mobile app using screen-reading software.

The judge ruled in favor of the plaintiff (Robles) that Domino’s mobile app was covered by the ADA and that the company violated the law. He ordered Domino’s to fix all accessibility issues on its site and also pay $4,000 to the plaintiff (Robles).

CVS

CVS Corporation

This case involved a class action lawsuit filed by several blind individuals who sued CVS, a pharmacy chain, for violating the ADA because its website was not accessible to screen reader users. The lawsuit claimed that CVS failed to provide alt text for images, proper headings, keyboard navigation, and other features that would make its website accessible. The case was settled in 2009, with CVS agreeing to pay $250,000 to a settlement fund for affected customers and make its website accessible.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Five Guys Burgers and Fries

In 2017, Lucia Marett, a blind user, sued the fast-food chain Five Guys for having an inaccessible website that prevented her from ordering food online. The lawsuit alleged that Five Guys violated the ADA and the New York Human Rights Law by failing to provide alt text for images, keyboard navigation, and other features that would make it accessible to screen readers. The case was settled out of court with Five Guys agreeing to make its website compliant with WCAG 2.0 AA standards and pay $10,000 in damages and attorney fees.

DoorDash

DoorDash Inc.

This case involved a class action lawsuit filed by several blind individuals who sued DoorDash, a food delivery service, for violating the ADA because its website and app were not accessible to screen reader users. The lawsuit claimed that DoorDash failed to provide alt text for images, proper headings, keyboard navigation, and other features that would make its website and app accessible. The case is still pending as of 2023.

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