Social media marketing is a massive opportunity for businesses. This form of marketing has gone from a “nice-to-have” for your company, to a must-have for any savvy business. So many companies compete for attention in today’s modern world. Without a well-honed presence on the web, you run a considerable risk of being left behind. Without a digital footprint, how are customers supposed to find you? Even if you have customers who are loyal and currently powering your sales, how do you acquire new ones?
To succeed in the current business climate, you must have an online presence. Using social media marketing to increase awareness of your brand is one of the easiest things you can do for your business. Numbers vary by channel, but some social media platforms see around 1.6 billion daily users. Yes, that is billion with a B. Having a social media strategy that can get your brand exposure on those platforms is just good business sense.
This is where things can go awry for some companies. They jump right into social media with no plan. To get the best ROI from these platforms and the most bang for your buck, you need a marketing plan. Once you have that plan in place, you will see awareness for your brand skyrocket. Let’s look at ways you can use social media marketing and make it work for you and your business.
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1. Set Your Goals For Social Media Marketing And Create A Plan
As with anything else in business, your social media must have a plan and goals. Those goals must also be measurable and attainable. Without that, you are just creating content without knowing if it is working or producing any kind of results. You need to know what works and what doesn’t so that you can make needed changes to your content. This is where your marketing team comes in. They will take information about your customer base, and use that to craft a social media strategy for your business. Customer data provides marketers with a treasure trove of information. Software programs can help marketers drill down to where a customer is on their buyers’ journey and when they like to read their emails. You will need as much information as possible to craft the perfect social media strategy.
Creating The Perfect Social Media Strategy
Create SMART goals. Any goal you set for your social media marketing endeavors needs to be in this format. Your goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
Learn everything you can about the audience on your channels. Just like for other marketing activities, you will want buyer personas, or in this case, audience personas. You can create what you think your core audience would be like if they were real people. Then you can group your audience into persona categories.
Research your competitors and see how they are using social media. People who interact with your brand most likely interact with your competitors as well. This gives you a chance to see what they do, how they do it, and if it appears to drive engagement. This is called social listening.
Conduct a social media audit. If you already have existing channels, take a look at them and assess what is working and what is not. There aren’t many things that look worse in the world of social media than a dead channel.
Set up the right accounts or improve existing ones. After your audit, you’ll want to improve the channels you have if they aren’t being used to their fullest potential. If your audit shows you should be elsewhere, then you will want to set up those platforms.
Create inspiring content. If you don’t create content that captivates your audience, it won’t do you any good to be on social media. You will want to create content that gets people to engage with it.
Set up a social media calendar. Just like you would any other marketing tool, set up a content calendar for your social media. Optimize it for the type of content, and dates and times. There are a multitude of tools a marketer can use to schedule their content.
Evaluate your plan regularly and adjust as needed. Social media marketing is always evolving. Your plan will, too, over time. Constant review means you are always on the cutting edge of what your audience wants.
2. Decide What Channel To Use To Reach Your Core Target
This is a step that trips up quite a few marketers. Since there are so many social media channels in existence, marketers like to push being on as many as possible. It’s an easy trap to fall into. All channels get, at the bare minimum, hundreds of thousands of views every day. When you are thinking about making sales, it’s hard to walk away from that many potential customers. But not every person on every channel is meant to be your customer. Design your social media strategy to put you on the channels that will best connect you to your ideal customer.
When figuring out your overall marketing strategy, you develop your buyer personas. You know those people are key to your brand. To develop the best social media marketing plan, you need to find where your buyer personas live online. Once you have that information, you can use social media to best serve your business. For example, if your client base is primarily middle-aged men, Pinterest probably isn’t your best channel. Don’t waste your efforts and your money in a place that won’t give you the ROI you need.
Below, is a chart from the Pew Research Center that details the demographics of Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
How To Target Your Core Guest
All companies have a great deal of data on their customers. This information is like gold in the marketing world. If you don’t utilize one already, this would be a time to invest in a quality CRM. These systems allow you to optimize all your customer interactions. You can use the information in this system to target your social media posting at the best time for your core customers. All social media sites use a variety of algorithms for their posts. It’s challenging to learn them all. But if you use your data to time your posts to your core guests, you are a step ahead of the game.
3. Drive traffic to your channels
Now that you have these channels, what do you do next? What you need now is traffic for your channels. Here are some tips for driving traffic to your social sites. It doesn’t matter if the channel is new or old. You want to try and increase traffic at every opportunity.
Always link to your social media channels when you email your customers
You never know when a customer may notice the icon in your email for the very first time.
When launching a new channel, announce it to your customers. If you have never used social media before, announce it to the world in an email and kick off a launch. If you add a new channel, kick it off as a launch on your other channels. Use every chance you have to drive traffic and get views to your content. Make sure there are links to your social channels on your company website.
Create content that is meaningful
This goes without saying and is essential regardless of if the format is email or a Facebook post. You want content that will generate likes and shares on whatever platform you are using. Your followers should feel a connection to your content.
Create content that is specialized and exclusive to a particular channel
If you have been lucky enough to get your customers to follow you on multiple channels, you don’t want to show them the same content on each one. What’s the point of following you in multiple places? If everything is the same, you will get unfollowed on all but one channel…or the person could just leave you on all social media channels. You can repeat content on occasion but make an effort to show different materials on different channels.
Cross-promote your content
If you have multiple channels, use each one to show off content from another channel. You want to drive engagement, and you want to increase your numbers on ALL your channels. Your channels aren’t competing against each other; they are there to help each other. The way to do that is to promote your Facebook on Instagram and vice versa. Each channel helps increase visibility for your brand.
Optimize your work
This is a great step for generating organic interaction with your content. Search engines are designed to look for keywords and other links that give content visibility and authority. Craft your content to include those words, and search engines will rank you higher. This will help you pull in potential customers who may have never found your brand otherwise.
Marketers are full of ideas on ways to generate traffic via social media marketing. These are a few of the tried and true methods that will help you drive your traffic.
The Debate Over Quantity Versus Quality In Social Media Marketing
Social media ROI can be notoriously difficult to measure. Success in terms of ROI will look different based on the company, and the goals set for a particular campaign. And for some campaigns, the metric you wanted to see growth in isn’t always the metric you see movement on. Some marketers chase likes and followers and tout those metrics as signs of success. But are you really having success if you have thousands of followers, but hardly any engage with your content? This is a debate that rages within the social media marketing community.
Social media is all about being social and having conversations. That doesn’t happen when 1) your content isn’t engaging, and 2) your followers don’t interact with your content. Quality is the preferred metric over quantity. Some companies work with marketers to help them buy followers for the accounts they manage. That will most certainly increase the number of likes for your page, followers for your Twitter account, etc. But does that do anything else for the company? Will this translate into sales? It’s highly unlikely.
Social media should help the business with its overall goals of increasing brand awareness and sales. Having the largest number of followers doesn’t always do that for companies. Focus on creating quality content that draws a great deal of interaction with your existing followers. Use your current fans to help you win new ones, and use ads that help you target guests that already match your personas.
4. Engage the guests that follow your channels
What’s the point of having social media if you aren’t going to be social with your guests? That’s the whole point of these channels. It’s one more way to reach your guests, but it’s also a way for them to contact you. This is a chance to develop a very personal connection with your customers. You can get information out to them quickly, and vice versa. If they are experiencing an immediate service issue, you can resolve it quickly for them. This is a chance to deepen those relationships and meet expectations.
Social media channels aren’t just about only hearing and seeing the positive feedback from your followers. There will be some negative comments thrown in there as well. While none of us want to listen to the negative parts, it is an integral part of any business. This is a chance to delve deeper and help your customers solve these problems before they snowball and become bigger problems. Customers follow brands on social media because they WANT to form a connection. Engaging guests on all feedback, both positive and negative, is a chance to meet that objective.
5. Schedule Your Content To Meet The Needs Of Your Followers
If you have customers that are signed up for your emails and follow your brand on social media, that should be a factor when pressing the send button on your content. You don’t want to spam your customers with content from every channel all at once. Stagger your content, so it comes at them in pieces. Quality CRM tools will help you optimize your content so you can deliver it at the right time to your customers.
HOW TO START
YOUR OWN BUSINESS
WITHOUT PRIOR KNOWLEDGE OR EXPERIENCE
6. Tie Your Social Media Marketing To Business Outcomes
As fun as social media marketing is, in the end, a business wants to see the payoff. A CEO or Board of Directors wants to see what the tangible benefit is to the company. They don’t want to spend money for no reason. Even though social media tools aren’t prohibitively expensive, there still needs to be some type of ROI for the brand. You will want to be able to show the fruits of your labor to company executives. Using analytics programs will help you explain what your goals for a campaign were, and if your efforts were successful. These tools will help show what metrics were impacted by your campaign.
For example, if your goal was to increase brand awareness by increasing followers to your Facebook page, you will want to show how many new followers you gained, as well as any spike this created in sales or web traffic for the company. This example also applies if you showcased a specific item in a post, ad, or email. After you showcased that item, did the company see an increase in sales of that item?
If you aren’t seeing the spikes and increases that you need or expected, take a step back and ask questions about why. Did you set SMART goals for the campaign? Did you post the right content at the right time? Examine your efforts to see what went right and what can be better the next time. You can then adjust future campaigns to produce better results and a better ROI. Social media marketing and strategy is always evolving!
Recapping Best Practices For Social Media Marketing And Social Media Strategy
In this article, we covered tips for social media marketing and social media strategy. Let’s review these tips that will help elevate your brand.
- Without an internet and social media presence, a brand will get left behind in today’s increasingly digital world.
- You need to set SMART goals for your social media marketing and social media strategy. You will need to adjust them to keep up with changes, and that’s ok.
- Pick the right channels to target your core guests. Schedule those posts to come at the right time to maximize your guests seeing and interacting with the post.
- Social media marketing is something you have to work at every day to keep driving traffic to your channels. You do that by creating content your followers will feel a connection with.
- Quality followers are better than large numbers of followers who do not engage with your brand.
- Engage with your followers on social media. Welcome any and all feedback, even the feedback that isn’t as positive. Look at every interaction as a chance to deepen your company’s relationship with that person.
- Tie social media marketing to the overall goals of the company. Be able to show tangible results and ROI to company executives.
Hopefully, these tips will help you and your company broaden their reach through social media marketing and social media strategy. Utilize these tips, and you should watch your brand soar to new heights in the digital world!