So, You Want to Use Social Media?
Using Social Media in your business is a great idea, but even great ideas can be implemented incorrectly. Social Media Marketing can be a low-cost Digital Marketing Channel that yields high returns if effectively utilized. However, you must have a thorough strategy before simply diving into the medium. Understanding the various channels, your goals, and competition is paramount to crafting a solid presence. Proper use of analytics is the catalyst to beginning a prosperous Social Media Marketing Strategy.
Effective Social Media Marketing Strategy
Developing quality profiles with a large following doesn’t happen on a whim.
To create an effective presence you must invest in a thorough strategy which will allow you to effectively grow your Social Media Profiles and improve your Brand Visibility.
There are several factors that affect the quality of your Social Media Marketing Strategy, such as:
- Your Audience
- Your Competition
- Your Content
- Your Follow Through
We would like to provide you with the framework for an effective Social Media Marketing Strategy which can provide you with a high return on your investment. In our work, we have noticed that some companies believe that just because a person is familiar with Social Media in their personal life they are qualified to run a business’ Social Media Marketing Strategy; however, this can be a detrimental mindset because without the proper understanding of business, marketing, content, and data an employee can do your company a great disservice. Building quality audience engagement and becoming a force in your market is something that requires effective planning and diligence.
Know Your Audience
Understanding which Social Media Platforms your ideal customers are using will allow you to focus on the ones that provide you with the best return.
Millennials (58.9%), Gen Xers (50.4%) and Baby Boomers (55%) all tend to follow a brand on social media before purchasing a product.
SproutSocial’s post “The Social Generations: Millennials Ask, Gen X Buys & Baby Boomers Observe” emphasizes the importance of knowing your audience as we can see from the drastic differences in the way that different generations use Social Media when following brands.
This is why it is important to create buyer personas for your target audience based on your current customers and your “ideal customer”. Research and understand buyer concerns and the unique value your company brings to them. Once you have uncovered who they are and where they are, the use of specific Social Media Platforms can help create healthy 2-way communication lines between you and your audience.
Our team recommends that you emphasize your primary social efforts on the platforms your audience are most engaged with. Continually monitoring your Social Media Presence will help guide your strategy and enable you to respond to the demands of your audience.
Competitive Social Media Marketing Analysis
Leverage Web Analytics to discover what your competition is doing on Social Media.
List your top competitors, ones that are in your specific niche, as well as, competitors that you want to be like. This will give you a large data pool. You will be able to view your market from your perspective, as well as, the perspective of larger companies that you want to compete against.
This will help guide your Social Media Platforms, as well as, the content which you distribute to these platforms. This type of Digital Marketing Analysis is essential so you can develop benchmarks to continually improve your performance.
Social Media Marketing Content
Understand the differences between Social Media Platforms. Your content must be engaging to your audience; otherwise, you will be irrelevant.
Develop Custom Content to attract your target audience, before jumping in. Custom Content that appeals to your audience will help them to appreciate your value over your competition. This will help you create a solid ROI for your Social Media investments.
Avoid outright selling all the time, this will quickly annoy your audience and they will simply unfollow you or gravitate to your competition. The key is to inform and become a “thought leader” in your industry. You want to establish your company as the subject matter expert for your industry so that your Social Profile is the ‘go-to’ profile for the latest and greatest information on your market.
Continually develop your market knowledge. Prove your knowledge by establishing quality relationships with your customers, industry experts, and by delivering Quality Content that educates your audience. Creating direct engagement with your audience is a great way to curate Quality Content. Polls, Surveys, and Interactive Live Sessions work well in obtaining market information directly from your audience. Collecting this type of information adds another layer of content for you to distribute.
The appeal of Social Media to the public is quick information at the right time. Therefore, if you want to develop an effective Social Media presence you must be consistent and post regularly. Plan out a content schedule, specifying how often each of your Social Media Platforms will post.
Simply developing Social Media Content for one platform and distributing the same exact Content to every platform you are on will only take you so far. In order to take your Social presence to the next level, you must tailor your content to each platform so that you effectively deliver your messages to each audience segment. You can always repurpose your Content from one platform to another, but you must do this in a way that spins your content to fit each platform appropriately.
Engaging Social Media Content ultimately helps your audience to communicate their needs or problems which develops Brand Loyalty and can attract new opportunities for your business.
Using Social Media Messengers and other means of creating a direct dialogue with your audience is key to unlocking an advantage in the buying cycle. These types of dialogue present the opportunity for you to collect real-time customer information, as well as, direct selling opportunities with people that may not have been available without such engagement.
Social Media Selling
Once you have established yourself with your Social Media Audience you can begin to develop properly timed and placed promotions, special offers, or newsletter signups. You can also develop competitions and other engagement opportunities which result in a prize of some sort. We caution you to refrain from overusing such tactics and harassing your audience as this will result in loss of engagement or even negative public feedback from your Social Media Audience. The key is trying to keep things casual and be helpful.
Your Social Media Follow Through
In business, if you are not growing you are losing. The same applies to Social Media Marketing.
Your follow through involves the amount of time you invest in monitoring, improving, distributing, and interacting with your audience. It is moot to stand up a Social Media Profile and expect that an occasional post will result in any type of growth or return.
Once you have developed your Social Media Marketing Strategy you must be prepared to adapt it to what is going on in your market, as well as, changes in the various platforms which occur rather frequently.
You will need to develop a budget to spend on Social Media Paid Advertisement which will help spike interest in your profiles, drive traffic to your website, and sell your product(s) or service(s). Once, this budget has been established your organization will need to develop the content, distribution schedule, as well as, the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each of your advertisements and Profiles.
Look at the number of Social Media Accounts the average person has according to GlobalWebIndex and you will see why it is so important to maintain your presence. With all of the Content delivered to your audience daily without maintaining your Social Profiles, you will become irrelevant and lose quickly.
If the trend in the graph above is any indication your audience will have around 10 or more Social Media accounts in the near future. With the proper Strategy your company can become a force to reckon with; however, you need to be properly equipped to maintain your Social Media Presence.