Social media marketing is the blanket term that involves the marketing of a product or service on the various social media platforms by creating content specific to the structure of those platforms and thus driving traffic and sales. Some of the important social media platforms are:
Social Media Marketing is fast becoming a vital part of digital marketing campaigns. Not only is it a cost effective way to increase brand awareness, it can even link you to customers that you could never find otherwise. A strong media presence helps your business to build a reputation and in turn let your customers know you better.
Sharing your content on Social media also boosts your SEO rankings because you increase the engagement factor of your content when you promote it as a brand with value.
However, in order to formulate an appropriate strategy that can bring you the ROI significant to your goals, you need a well-planned and researched approach.
Here are the top ten pointers.
1. Understand the structure of the various social media platforms
Facebook is the alternate address of your business. It can be used to provide insights into the activities and culture of the brand and gives out the message of the brand to the viewers. You can use it to increase likes, shares and thus increase engagement and traffic. Needless, to say, facebook presence is a must because of the strong demographics it has.
Twitter is a micro blogging site but has a major instant appeal. It is best suited to give out important snippets, and short quips within 280 characters. This makes it suitable for trends, rants, or previews to increase the curiosity quotient associated with your brand. Also, if you need constant connect with your customers then this is the right platform for you.
Though mostly associated with teenagers, Instagram can also help you promote your business. It has a visual format and connects to the viewers through photographs and images. Thus any brand that needs a strong display and a visual medium of promotion can look at Instagram.
If you want to target businesses and organisations or make connections with professionals then LinkedIn is the ideal platform. You can grow your network and reach other similar active professionals and businesses in your niche.
Pinterest is a strong visual platform that works on the principle of always-on marketing. Though it is associated more with women, but it can be a great way to reach out to your audience through pins.
Growing a business on YouTube takes effort and consistency but it can be a great platform to build a connection with your audience. You can even monetise videos and get paid for the content. A YouTube channel with a reputation goes a long way in influencing the viewers.
2. Formulate the objectives of the social media marketing campaign
Some of the key objectives of a social media strategy can be summarized as follows:
- Brand awareness
Based on the importance of the objectives, define the top three goals of your marketing strategy. These should be outlined in a way that the results can be measured against them. Basically, they should be quantifiable.
For e.g. if you want to increase engagement factor of your brand, you may consider using Facebook likes and shares as a parameter and aim to promote content on FB. If you want to increase traffic, then you should examine the parameter of views, unique visitors and length of visits.
3. Consider focus on relevant social media marketing platform(s)
A social media strategy does not necessarily have to be spread across all platforms. It should primarily focus on the platform that is most important to your goals and where you can significantly produce good content in.
You need to answer the basic questions :
- Does the platform resonate with my business promotion strategy
- Do my direct customers use the platform
- Am I able to design content of value for the selected platform
4. Learn all about your audience profile
If there is one important factor that will supersede all others in terms of the impact on strategy, that is – knowledge about audience profile. The more and detailed knowledge you have about your customers and their likes/dislikes, the easier it is to build a social media campaign for them.
The analytics section of social media apps, gives a close idea of what your audience looks like including their age, location, languages spoken, and viewing habits.
Use this information as your guide.
5. Get insights about the competition
Being unique and original is important in your marketing strategy, but so is keeping an eye on the competition. Competition analysis can help you understand what kind of content ideas work and what are likely to fail. There are valuable insights that you can derive from the competition and monitoring it, that can help you avoid major mistakes.
6. Establish your budget and resources
After zeroing on the goals and analyzing the various platforms, you need to discover your own limitations and scope. This includes your budget for the campaign. How much are you able to spend as compared to the returns that you expect? Being on a budget is more a planning decision and one that goes a long way in making key decisions regarding expenses and also in evaluating the results further down the line.
Other than finances, you need to consider the resources that you have at your disposal that you can utilize in the best capacity. This will include the infrastructure, the people, the production equipment etc. The idea is to know beforehand what your readily available tools are and what you are limited by or need to improve upon.
7. Make content of value
Finally, you come to the content. Largely you will need to decide on the format of your content that you can best present your story in – videos, photos, case studies, guides, or blog posts- whichever is most suited to your marketing objectives.
What is content value, anyway? Well, I would say it is a mix of watchability and utility. The more people relate to the content at a personal level or find it relevant in their lives; the more is the value.
It the changing world of marketing, the focus is no more on selling a product. It is more to make people find value in the product. People buy more willingly when they find value as against when they are pressured to do so.
8. Optimise your content according to the platform
Optimization is a vital part of managing content and increasing its visibility in search engines. There are specific technical requisites related to optimization of blog posts, videos and even photos. You need to be aware of how to optimize each form of content for better ranking and visibility on the social media.
9. Make a schedule for posts
When you are looking at a campaign, be prepared to sweat it out in the long term. Whether it is videos or blog posts or even promotions, you need to keep your audience sufficiently engaged so that they are constantly in touch with the brand.
You cannot afford to ‘set and forget’ because it will harm your current viewership as well.
10. Evaluate your results and upgrade the strategy
Your audience is your best friend and guide. Keep in touch with the feedback on the social media and use it to upgrade your marketing strategy from time to time. Being responsive to the viewer’s help you to identify positive solutions and strategies and make the content appreciated more by them. This directly leads to increased traffic, subscribers and conversions because your followers begin to trust you as a brand.
There is no one size fits all all strategy for social media marketing. In fact, the strategy has to be tailored according to the specific needs and goals of the campaign. Depending upon the goals, the resources and the budget, should the businesses select which platform they want to focus on even if just a few.
For any business today, social media marketing is the norm rather than the exception. Irrespective of the scale of the business, you stand to lose a lot by ignoring this people centered form of marketing.
And if your presence is not yet set up, do it now because in all likelihood, your competition is on the social media already.