Social media marketing is an overwhelming concept in the digital world. There are too many platforms, too many requirements, and too many paradigms. What works and what does not? We’ll take you back to the basics and then discuss the most effective social media marketing tips. Whether you want to drive revenues or retain your existing customers, our advice will come in quite handy. Read on!
What Is Social Media Marketing?
In the simplest of terms, social media marketing, or SMM, is a process of generating web traffic and gaining brand recognition through various social media platforms.
But there is a whole lot more to the basic definition. SMM involves creating content that has been tailored for your target audience as well as the platform on which you’ll promote the content. The goal isn’t just to generate website traffic; increasing user engagement is another key objective of social media strategies.
How are these goals achieved? Through content creation. You create the most suitable kind of content for every platform, keeping your target audience in mind, of course. Obviously, this content must be engaging so that people don’t just view it, but also share it among their social circles.
Why do you want to use social media for promoting your business? Do you want to generate web traffic, increase brand visibility or engage your current users? Whatever your goals are, they should be SMART and nailed down so that your entire SMM media team is on the same page.
Initially, aim for smaller, more realistic goals, and then keep adding more to the list. Let’s quickly look at some common social media goals.
- Increasing Brand Awareness: If this is your aim, create original and value-added content. Don’t hard-promote your brand.
- Improving Lead Qualities: Come up with buyers’ persona and then target efficiently through social media so that you can reach your ideal buyers more quickly.
- Driving In-Store Sales: Yes, you can increase traffic at your retail store through social media by enticing followers to come and check your brand at physical locations. Obviously, that involves putting up some great pictures and of course, conducting various promotional campaigns so as to create a buzz.
- Increasing ROI: Audit your presence on social media, cut down where you can on the ads and labor, but don’t compromise on the quality.
Check Out the Competition
How are your competitors performing on social media? Check out their profiles and conduct an analysis. You can even use effective tools for greater insights. Try to understand their strategy. Now when you devise yours, make sure that you can set yourself apart in one way or another.
Promote on the Right Platforms
What are the key personality and behavioral characteristics of your target audience? Refer to your personas, and check out their profiles so that you know which social channels they are active on. These are the ones you should focus on.
Also, ensure that the channel is relevant to your business. Considering the number of social media platforms out there, you cannot be active on all of them. So choose only three to four, and invest in them only.
- Twitter: Twitter is one of the simplest social media platforms that any business can utilize. The setup is minimal and the interface can be understood quickly, so you can use the channel right away. For customer service, Twitter is probably the best platform.
- Facebook: Facebook works for all kinds of businesses. And their ad platform is probably the best that the social media world has to offer if you’re willing to spend some money. That being said, if your goal is increased in-store visits, this is the platform that you should focus on.
- LinkedIn: This social media platform is mostly for the corporate world. Networking is the primary focus. LinkedIn works well for B2C as well as B2B businesses.
- YouTube: Video marketing has proven to deliver astonishing ROIs, and if this is what you want to cash on, you cannot afford to leave out YouTube from your social media strategies. YouTube is the best place for sharing videos and you should definitely use it because video marketing can quickly drive revenues.
- Instagram: Instagram is an image-based platform. Visual content lies at the core of this social channel, which works well for retail stores, e-commerce websites and creative brands. What’s the trick to Instagram success? Clever captions and spectacular photos.
Fill up all Fields on the Profiles
Have you filled up all fields in the About section? Ensure that you do this and that all details are correct. Incomplete profiles make you appear as a less trustworthy brand.
Whatever you post on social media, make sure that you add hashtags so that people can discover you. You can use any hashtags you like, and can even come up with ones that are completely unique to your brand.
Create a Content Calendar
If you create posts at the eleventh hour, chances are they will be of poor quality. Organize content creation and come up with a calendar for the next 12 months. Social calendars are also useful for tracking progress. Create posts well beforehand and then publish them according to the schedule you come up with. Your posts should be complete in every sense and include images, links and meta details. You should also know where you’ll be placing them.
Post at the Right Time
Customers want you to respond quickly on social media and also share meaningful conversations at the right time. After all, that is what social media platforms are for. Maintain your presence and keep talking to your audience.
Post at a time when most of your target audience would be active on that particular channel. The best posting times vary for each channel. But as a rule of thumb, you should be posting on Tuesday and Thursday between 6 pm and 7 pm.
You can encourage engagement on social media through a number of ways. For starters, share interesting content, ask your audience to comment, reply back and maintain an active presence. To encourage more engagement, give away discounts, create polls, share updates and promote using videos. Get the ball rolling, and if your content is enticing enough, it will engage your audience.
Businesses often start promoting way too much content on social media, but that can actually be harmful to your strategy. You can’t just focus on promotion — you need to also focus on value.
Share useful content that addresses the challenges and issues your audience faces. Only then will they follow you actively; otherwise, they may simply dislike your page. As a rule of thumb, one in every seven posts can be promotional. The other six posts should be knowledgeable.
Resolve Problems Quickly
You may come across a dissatisfied customer every now and then on social media. Track your mentions so that you can come to know of customers who might have faced some kind of issues. Resolve their problems quickly before they escalate and become viral. Apologize publicly if necessary so that everyone knows you realized your mistake.
Yes, you can promote the same content on different social media channels, but do it strategically. Furthermore, don’t do it every single time.
The only purpose of your social media strategies should not be to increase followers. Yes, you need leads, but they should be of quality. They should be interested in your brand and be loyal to your company. Only then can you expect them to like and share your posts.
Great, so you’ve already learned quite a lot about social media marketing. Are you ready to implement what you have learned? Kudos! But when you do, how will you track your progress? How will you know that you are heading in the right direction? This is where the 5 Ps of social media marketing come into the picture. They serve as a standing point and are a great way to ensure that you are on track and can achieve your social media marketing goals.
Planning is the basic building block to ensure success. In fact, some people even claim that a good plan means that 50% of the work has already been done. The same applies to your social media strategies. Set goals, as we have already discussed, and then work your way ahead. How can you maximize the ROI? What sort of creative content do you need to come up for your campaigns? And what tools will come in handy? Think about all these things before you start. Decide key metrics as well because that will tell you what to measure.
One of the most effective social media marketing tips is to create original content. And no, your content does not have to be limited to text. There are so many types of content out there, so why would you want to restrict yourself to only blogs or emails? Get your creative juices following and utilize as many types of content as you can. You can choose from blogs, eBooks, webinars, podcasts, case studies, whitepapers, the list is long. Decide the type of content you will produce based on your goals as well as the typical stages of your sales cycle. The channel that you choose for placement will also restrict your content type. For instance, YouTube only deals with videos, whereas Twitter limits post to 280 characters.
So by now, all your content should be ready for publishing. Do you have a schedule for doing so? Great, that has also been created. Where will you put all this content now? Once again, consider your objectives and then make a decision.
For instance, if you want to generate web traffic, focus on creating more blog posts. If you want more followers, then you should use two mediums —email marketing so that you get followers and blogging so that you can keep them engaged. And by the way, email campaigns are often linked to landing pages. As another example, if your followers are on social media, then that is where you should publish the content and if you want greater engagement levels, then upload more videos or host a webinar.
Until you promote, you just cannot increase awareness. Social media is one of the best channels to do so. Use multiple platforms to increase effectiveness. You can also promote content through emails or by guest blogging. Ads can also help, but that is a paid medium.
We talked about deciding key metrics earlier. This is where they come in handy. Track them and measure your progress. Conduct an analysis, note patterns and trends, and derive insights. Accordingly, refine your social media strategies and then continue to track progress to ensure that the improvements were indeed effective.
Once you have tried all these strategies, repeat all social media marketing tips that worked and stop deploying strategies that didn’t. Note down the learning points on every campaign and utilize them for all future strategies.
Which social media marketing tips were the most helpful for your business growth? Let us know what worked best in your particular case.