In this article, we are going to explain the main concepts of social media marketing as well as its importance and relevance for you as a small business owner. Next to the more traditional ways of advertising, nowadays you also have access to digital marketing. This form of marketing is mostly centered around creating online content with the aim of promoting your business and products on various social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Digital marketing has many advantages such as being a lucrative, economic, and configurable way of doing marketing!
With social media marketing, you can take advantage of social media platforms to advertise your content to a highly targeted audience. It helps more people to find out about your product or service and will also help increase the interaction with your audience and the best thing, it is inexpensive! This form of marketing will thus enable you to reach out to your audience and advertise your product or service digitally, using channels like search engines, websites, emails, and last but certainly not least social media platforms. In this article, we will put a special focus on social media marketing and are going to discuss its dos and don'ts.
What is a social media strategy? Quite simply, it encompasses all the things you plan to do to be successful on social media.
The first thing that needs to be done is to set goals! This means you need to be clear on what your regular business goals are and with those in mind, create your social media-specific goals.
Understand that having many followers on social media alone does not automatically equal lots of sales. Followers without action, do not add real value to your company! So your goal shouldn’t be in increasing your follower number alone but focusing on reaching out to your existing audience in a better way and creating a strategy for your existing follower base.
To start with, you need to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve as a result of your social media presence. Be specific, your results should be both measurable and achievable. Make sure you focus on achieving relevant results for your business and don't forget to set yourself a deadline so you have a better way to measure if your social media strategy is at its best or if you still need to work on it.
If you are unsure what goals to set for yourself, don’t worry, we have compiled a list of solid goals to get you started:
To generate leads and improve conversion rates: When you use social media to promote and share your products and services, the right target group is automatically addressed, namely the users who already follow your account and have thus expressed interest in your business. So, social media is the ideal tool to generate more leads, improve your conversion rate and increase sales.
Increase your brand awareness: This means making your brand known and recognizable online. You don't need to focus on posting only promotional posts, try to show your personality. Show that there are people behind your brand. The best place to start with brand awareness is Facebook! Facebook is one of the most popular social media platforms and works for almost every business sector. Facebook can contribute a lot to brand awareness, which in turn, has a positive impact on rankings.
Grow your brand’s audience: Social media can help you increase your business audience, but to do that you first have to know what they are looking for. When you know what matters to your audience it’s easier to find them and attract them to your business page.
Boost the engagements: Draw their attention. Don’t just post information they need to absorb, try to turn your posts into questions or statements they can agree or disagree with. This will make all the difference. Give them something to do.
Direct them to your website: Social media is perfect for directing traffic to your website. Simply add a link to your website in a post and your followers will do the rest. Of course, try to use this wisely. Don’t just direct your followers to your homepage in every single post. Try to be creative and find new original ways to bring traffic to your website, for example, highlighting a specific aspect of your services or products that might be most relatable to your customers, and then sharing a link to your webpage dedicated to that aspect. You can find out more about this in our Off-Page SEO article.
Choose your platforms: It is important for social media marketers to determine the platforms on which they want to share their content. There is no universal solution when it comes to choosing the right social channels for your business. Find out what your target audience's needs are and which platforms they use most. The most popular social media platforms are Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram.
Make it a habit to check your performance on social media from time to time. It is very important to know if your current strategy is working or if you need to implement some new ideas to reach your digital marketing goals.
Most of all, you need to know…
Every social media platform will give you a slightly different answer to those questions and keeping those differences in mind is key to knowing what strategy you should implement for each of them. Also, if being active on a specific social media platform doesn’t give you many significant benefits, perhaps it’s time to consider if it makes sense to put more energy into the platforms that are working better for you.
Track your results: Newbies usually focus mainly on the number of followers, likes, or dislikes but you can take this a step further. Focus on engagement, click-through, and conversion rates, since these are the things that will boost your sales as a business.
You should monitor:
Social Media is a great place to find out what your competitors are up to. Find out what social media strategies your competitors are using and what platforms they use for it. What products are they promoting and how? In what way and how often does the competition interact with followers? Knowing what works for the competition and what doesn't saves you a lot of trial and error when it comes to your digital marketing strategy. So, by all means, compare your marketing approach against competitors' social media accounts and make sure your marketing stands out and embodies your brand in a unique way.
Another tip is to check for opportunities. If your competitors are not very active on a specific social media platform, perhaps it could be possible for your business to have more of a presence there and amass an audience before your competitors even realize what they are missing out on!
With creating content for your social media strategy, knowing your audience is key. Not only do you need to know their demographics (age, gender, location, income range, job title/industry, interests, etc.), but also their cultural references (do they like certain shows, sports, etc.). This information about your audience is important and helps to define the tone that you’re going to use in your social media messaging. Building a target persona can help during this step to visualize what kind of person you are writing content for.
When producing content, stick with your unique voice and style as much as possible and create content that authentically markets your brand.
The importance of this can’t be overstated, as those will be the posts that your audience gravitates towards and that will perform the best/drive engagement etc. Posts/Content that comes across as inauthentic or irrelevant, on the other hand, will be mostly ignored or can quickly lead to people unfollowing your company’s social media.
You should also take note of which platforms your content succeeds most on. You might want to target every social platform but it’s unrealistic to expect to perform well on all of them. You want to allocate your resources to the platforms that serve your brand and your audience the most.
An example of content that will connect well with your online audience is creating posts utilizing popular TV shows (like Game of Thrones) or historic events (like the 50th anniversary of the moon landing) and relating it to your product/service.
Many brands, for example, tweet about certain very popular shows and are able to make jokes about them, thus breaking the ice between them and their audience and starting a conversation between them.
Other possibilities include the sharing and repurposing of user-generated content (e.g. guest posts, images, videos, online reviews, or even testimonials. Your audience can connect well with these types of posts, because they get the feeling that such content has been created by people just like them, making them more likely to engage with it and share your content with others.
You could also use the tried and tested engagement method of creating an audience poll (Instagram even has a built-in feature for this!). Polls are fun and don’t take much time to engage with. They also make people curious as to how others have voted, encouraging them to participate to find out.
Another good way to create engaging content is to post “how-to” videos that show how to use your products or have other useful tips that align with your brand. If you manage to find topics that are relevant to your audience and your product, this can be very effective.
An example of this would be a make-up company posting a tutorial on how to use a new eyeshadow pallet to create a dazzling evening look or a company in the travel/hospitality sector sharing a video on how to travel to X location on a budget.
A last piece of advice (no matter which platform you are on and what type of content you decide to post) would be to interact with your audience when they comment on your posts. A company that replies to comments quickly and with personalized responses will often make people feel more connected with their brand. You don’t need to reply to every single comment, of course, but keep in mind that even small things, like a simple “thank you” on a favorable review often goes a long way for your customers.
Balancing all these different content approaches across different platforms might seem overwhelming at first. A good solution to this is having a social media content calendar, which can be a big help with organizing your ideas and overall strategy. It will make scheduling your posts and putting out diverse content that much easier. When you select times to post it is important to keep in mind that there are more suitable times for posting content, these might even change across platforms. Always keep an eye on your analytics and check when users are engaging on a platform the most. This will give you an idea about the correct times to post. You should also consider that different types of content perform differently across the different platforms and adjust accordingly.
As you can see, knowing your audience is key to creating engaging content, so, from the types of content, you post, down to your posting times you should always keep them in mind.
Even though many companies are skeptical when it comes to social media, utilizing its power for your marketing needs is very worthwhile! Implementing a social media strategy has a demonstrably good effect on rankings and is great support for your SEO. As already discussed it can also help greatly with brand awareness, audience growth, and audience engagement. In addition, having a social media presence will help you generate leads and increase your conversion rate, which is always a good thing.
So, as you can see social media marketing is a topic that can’t be ignored if you want your company to be successful online and even if you already have SEO and SEA tactics in place.