Over the past few years, social media has gone from being a place of what-i-had-for-lunch tweets, funny cat videos, and general fooling around to being an effective marketing tool, where companies and individuals go to build powerful brands. For a newcomer looking to develop an effective social media presence, it may feel like you’re out of your depth…where do I start? what kind of posts do I put up? whom do I target? These marketing steps will serve as a guide to the social media marketing strategy to adopt in order to build the perfect brand and target the perfect demographic for your product or service. From the challenges you aim to solve, to the kind of content you should create, this step by step guide will ensure you end up with the perfect social media marketing plan.
Ensure the goals of your strategy solve problems for your business: The goals for your social media marketing plan must aim to solve the problems in your business.
- Do you need more traffic for your site? Since the world is online, a dip in your website traffic could mean you are attracting fewer customers, and as a result mean less profit for your business. Your social media marketing strategy should focus on creating more links to your site, be it from your own posts, or others influencers. An increase in traffic should be a marketing goal which would, in the long run increase your profit.
- Do you need a better brand awareness? Social media marketing allows you to reach a broader audience. So, to create a brand that will make more impact, focus on producing creative, more meaningful content, not a barrage of self-promotional posts. Find the trends and other influencers that are relevant to your brand and utilize them in your marketing strategy instead to increase your brand awareness.
- Do you need better customer service? Since customers engage with businesses via all available means, your social media marketing team must be trained and equipped to answer questions and handle customer issues appropriately.
Choose your social media networks: Each social media network is unique, and it’s best to pick those that are the best fit for the marketing strategy you have in mind. Consider carefully
- The time you can devote to each network: Each one requires an hour to be devoted to it daily for a start, once you get on your way, social media analytics tools can help you save time.
- Resources: Different social media networks require different resources. Instagram and Pinterest require images and videos and Google+ requires quality content, so you must know the resources you have and the kind of marketing content you can produce or easily outsource as each social media network requires.
- Demographic: On what network do your potential customers spend more time? Where can you easily find them? Knowing the social media habits of your potential customers allows you to easily craft marketing content that will speak to them.
Create quality content that will engage your audience: All marketing content created must be aimed at achieving the social media marketing objectives which you set at the beginning of your strategy planning. Some examples of good marketing content are: Guides – to how potential customers can get the most out of your product or service. Infographics – these are graphic visual representations of data and knowledge intended to present information quickly and clearly. They’re a good way to show complex data about your product in a beautiful, comprehensible way
Choose your posting method wisely: How often to post? When to post? What to post? Different social media networks need different frequency of posts if they are to be effective.
- Twitter and Google+: Post at least 5 times daily. Fewer posts will mean your content gets lost in the sea of tweets and google+ posts, as these platforms see a lot of traffic daily.
- Facebook: Between 5 and 10 posts weekly should be enough.
- Linkedin: Once per day is enough, seeing as it’s a platform for professionals who don’t put up an abundance of posts everyday.
On social media, images get far more views, re-shares, likes and comments than an other kind of post. Images are followed by videos. Choose a specific kind of post that will make up the majority of your social media marketing content, and add one or two different types from time to time for variety. One different type of post for every five of your regular posts is okay.
For when to post on twitter, facebook, linkedin, google+ and pinterest, consult the image above.
Engage with your online community: this is a very critical marketing step, which is often ignored. Whether it’s a comment on a post, a twitter mention or a direct message, it’s good marketing practice to respond to customers that give feedback – whether posring negative feedback will risk you losing favour with your customers, because if they’re continuously ignored, they will eventually leave.
Monitor progress and improve on what works: This step lets you figure out what part of your marketing strategy is working and what’s not, which makes it a very important step. Social media analytics tools like Google analytics, Sprout social and Buffer help you track and pinpoint your marketing messages and determine which ones have the best impact. Once you understand the marketing content that is engaging your online community the most, focus more on producing posts similar to it. This will help you perfect your marketing strategy, and produce the most rewarding content.
Social media, when harnessed properly can generate a lot of revenue for your business. This makes knowledge of social media marketing a rewarding advantage to have.