Your business needs success in social media marketing strategy even if you only have a physical presence because social media is a powerful tool for building an image, creating awareness, and gaining traction in crowded markets. Optimizing your presence on social media generates leads and interest in your company that translates into improved profits.
Success in social media marketing doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it’s a long-term strategy that does wonders for the reputation of your business if done correctly and can destroy your business if done incorrectly. Consider the situation at ASUS computers after an employee posted the following on Twitter.
The backlash was almost immediate and damaged the brand’s reputation.
Used right, social media brings traffic to your website, by motivating users with entertainment, information, or building trust and engagement with your brand.
Here are the top ten tips leading to success in social media marketing.
Define your goals
The first step toward success in social media marketing is to define specific, actionable goals, called SMART goals. If you don’t have clear goals achieving success is harder as you lack direction for your actions. Realistic and achievable goals (the A and R of SMART goals) should stretch you rather than set the bar too low or too high, which reduces effort. Don’t push yourself too far.
Set social media marketing goals relevant to your overall marketing goals. Brainstorm goals such as aiming to bring more traffic to your website or reaching out to a wider audience, or boosting your branding? Ensure you craft intermediary goals like these rather than simply stating terminal goals such as increased sales otherwise you likely ignore actions necessary to achieve your terminal goal.
Set deadlines for your goals as well as a tool for assessing the success of your implementation.
Develop buyer personas
Developing buyer personas works in every marketing strategy, including social media, with success related to how well and how accurately you define your personas.
Identifying your target audience is a prerequisite for reaching them with appropriate messaging. You must develop detailed buyer personas that define their lifestyle as well as demographic and geographic characteristics. By creating representations of your ideal customers based on market research, attracting high-value visitors that might eventually turn into loyal customers is easier.
As an example, here’s Rachel, a small business owner. Can you see how knowing more about her helps you craft messages that motivate a response?
In order to create buyer personas, you need to carefully analyze their demographic and geographic characteristics, industry, values, and lifestyle. This way have insights in how to manage your marketing strategy to satisfy this persona.
Choose the right platform
The most popular social media platforms internationally are probably Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Linked In, and Facebook, not necessarily in that order. Demographic and geographic variables greatly impact the makeup of the various social media platforms. Snapchat or Instagram might be better if you target a younger audience, for example, while Pinterest skews heavily female and is your platform of choice if that’s your target market. If you market to other businesses, then LinkedIn might work best for you.
Choose the platforms that align most with your business objectives and limit your choices to the ones you can handle effectively given you must create fresh, valuable content on each platform to build your presence. If your goal is to grow your Twitter following, this link shares certain tactics to help you boost your profile on this particular platform.
Hire a social media manager
Some businesses, especially smaller ones with limited resources, think anyone under the age of 25 is a social media expert. And, while this demographic represents a large group of digital natives, that doesn’t translate into understanding strategies effective on social platforms for achieving business goals.
An experienced social media consultant or a dedicated employee with expertise in social media is worth the expense. They have a clearer understanding of how social media works and which marketing strategies fit your goals. They know how to effectively produce posts, choose content, and engage with followers, all necessary components of success in social media marketing.
A social media manager also has expertise in getting the voice of your brand across on social media. It’s imperative to hire someone with the capabilities to engage with your brand image and get your company’s personality across to users. It’s definitely worth investing in a little professional guidance as your return on investment will show.
If you don’t post frequently on social media, there’s a danger your business won’t rise above the noise and appear stuck in the past. Whichever platforms you choose, posting fresh content on a consistent basis is critical for success. Here’s a handy guide detailing how frequently you should post on different social platforms, although it’s a little old and G+ doesn’t even exist anymore.
Creating a social media calendar ensures you share plenty of content and always keep the buyer personas in mind. It’s also a good tactic to post industry news and information. Post engaging and informative content rather than sales-focused advertising, remembering to share 80% valuable content to 20% promotional content. Video tutorials and webinars, for instance, draw a lot of business.
Build relationships with influencers
Influencers have an important role to play in social media marketing. These are the folks who endorse products and brands online by writing reviews on social media, creating how-to videos, or sharing your content with their massive audiences. Influencers established their credibility and built large, trusting audiences so their recommendations go a long way. There are plenty of useful apps and marketing tools to help you find the right influencer for your business.
If you want to work with these influencers, it’s important to network in order to reach out to them, recognizing this is a tit-for-tat arrangement. Contact a couple of potential influencers, carefully vette them to ensure they are good representatives of your brand (dropping influencers like Pew Die Pie after they post racist and antisemitic content is too late to avoid damage to your brand’s reputation), and agree on terms before you extend an offer. Ensure you pick the right person who has the most in common with your target niche.
Increase your followers
Building your social networks is key to success in social media marketing, but build your network organically, focusing on your target market (your personas) rather than adding fluff with followers who don’t represent value. Several marketing tactics exist to help you increase followers. Among the successful outreach tactics are paid ads (PPC) and contests. Contests with a prize or incentive are also a great way to encourage more followers to subscribe to your community.
Obviously, the most useful tactic for building your network is crafting valuable content and engaging with followers (see below).
Engage your followers
Engagement in social media amplifies your message, allowing it to reach other, often relevant, users within a particular platform. When users engage with a brand by sharing, commenting, etc, they also tacitly endorse the brand with their choice to share.
But, engagement doesn’t just happen.
Build engagement by crafting valuable content to share on your chosen social platforms and ensure your content conforms to the norms and rules of that particular platform. For instance, Instagram requires a square image as the starting point for sharing and doesn’t allow links in the caption.
Notice that crafting great content really fuels everything else in your social media marketing strategy.
But, engagement doesn’t stop there. Recognize your community is made up of people. Support and celebrate your community even when they share a negative experience with your brand. How you handle that negative comment goes a long way toward building trust and engagement for your brand.
In order to improve your social media marketing strategy, you must analyze your results. A full range of software from R to Python and SQL are available to help you whip your data into valuable insights. Here are ten of the best social media analytics tools available at the moment.
But, analysis tools are only one part of the analytics equation. You must ask the right questions to get the right (insightful) answers otherwise these tools are just annoying distractions. Don’t stop with descriptive statistics such as how many followers you have, how many clicks you get. Dig deep with predictive analytics that link this data to other, most impactful data. For instance,
- What time of day generates the highest click-through rate?
- Who are the folks most likely to click on a particular piece of content? The least likely?
- Which social platforms generate the highest ROAS (return on ad spend)?
- How do different types of users (ie coming from different messages, different platforms, or different demographic groups) move through your website?
Answering these questions and more like them help you craft strategies leading to success in social media marketing.
Update your strategy
Using the insights developed using your chosen analytical tools, assess what needs to change in your social media marketing strategy. Insights, and the effort necessary to generate them, have no value unless used to develop greater success in social media marketing and beyond.
For instance, maybe visitors from a particular platform generated a higher AOV (average order value) than visitors from another platform. You should shift more spending toward efforts on that platform. Or, maybe data suggest too many visitors from a social platform leave without buying. Creating a remarketing campaign to those visitors may improve performance.
Stay persistent and keep improving your social media marketing. It can take a while to take effect so stick with it, and you’ll learn more.
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Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.