Social Media Marketing for Business
Every business needs customers. Without qualified customers, it would be hard for any type of business (big or small) to survive in the long run. What’s the best way to acquire customers? SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING. Social media marketing requires both strategy and creativity.
Social Media Marketing 101: What Is Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing refers to the process of gaining traffic through social media platforms. Social media marketing is becoming more popular for both practitioners and researchers. Most social media platforms have built-in data analytic tools, which enable companies to track the progress, success, and engagement of ad campaigns.
Social Media and Marketing: Start With a Plan/Strategy
First, you need to understand what a strategy is. A strategy should define the main aim of your social media presence and set the parameters for what it will deliver and how it will be delivered. It will be supported by a practical plan that defines how the strategy will be delivered including the channels, resource, and budgets to achieve it.
Here are some questions to ask when defining your social media marketing goals:
- What do you desire to attain through social media marketing?
- Who are your potential customers?
- Where do your potential customers usually hang out?
- Which social media platforms have the right demographics?
- How much time can you devote to a social network?
- What personnel and skills do you have to work with?
- Do you have the resources to create what’s needed?
1 – Building the strategy
Below is a summary of key content to include in your strategy document.
1.1 – Strategy statement
A short, concise summary of what the strategy is aiming to achieve, broken down into bullet points.
1.2 – Context analysis
Set-out where you are in your social journey and where the business needs to be, and the reasons for this. For example, are you a global organization seeking to consolidate a fragmented approach to social media, or a startup looking to build a social presence from the ground up?
1.3 – Goals & Objectives
Use SMART criteria for objectives because they encourage you to think about the practicality of achieving each goal, rather than focusing on things that sound good but might not be feasible.
S = Specific in terms of what needs to be achieved
M = Measurable so that progress can be tracked and evaluated.
A = Achievable so that your team has a realistic chance of success
R = Relevant to your business so it’s aligned with overall business goals
T = Timeframe within which the objective must be satisfied
1.4 – Strategic challenges
Here you set out the business challenges for the social channel that need to be overcome, and the strategic activities that will enable this
1.5 – A Target audience
For this, you need to understand your core audience (personas, profiles, demographics etc.) and identify any new customer types that you want to attract based on your products/services.
Regular customers who are already connected to you via social media. You want to retain them and increase their purchases and engagement with your social profiles.
Customer who have shopped with you before but aren’t regular shoppers and haven’t connected on social media. You want to nurture them, bringing them closer to you online and therefore increasing purchase rates.
People who have never visited the website or purchased from you but who are regular online shoppers, and users of social media. You want to use social media to bring them into contact with the brand, and ultimately move them to purchase
1.6 – Review
Your strategy shouldn’t be set in stone; it needs to be flexible to respond to changing market conditions.
Include an explanation of the review process:
- > Who will lead the review (business sponsor)?
- > How often will the review take place?
- > What data/insights will be used to inform the review?
- > What will the outputs be?
- > How will outputs be measured/monitored?
Some people include social media guidelines in the strategy but we don’t think this is the best approach. Guidelines are part of the tactical execution, providing a set of rules for the business to adhere to. It’s not a strategic activity, so this content sits best within the tactical plan, or as a separate document referenced by the plan.
1.7 – Related documents
Make sure you include links to all other documents that are relevant to your social media strategy so that anyone new joining the business can find them and get the full picture.
2 – Creating your social media plan
2.1 – Deliverables
This provides a summary of all activities that need to take place to support the implementation of the plan.
2.2 – Channels + activities
Here you will spell out what you’ll be doing for each social network to satisfy the goals of your social strategy. Be sure to include all tactical elements and any related, process, people and tools.
2.3 – Integration with other marketing
Note down how social will align with other marketing channels so that the people doing the work understand the wider picture.
2.4 – Timelines
This is the ‘T’ in the SMART objectives – ensuring each activity has a time frame stamped on it so you can track progress. Timelines are critical because they give you a yardstick against which to measure your ability to implement the strategy. Activities without deadlines tend to drift and are often seen by others as less important.
2.5 – Measurement
Start by defining the KPI’s (Key Performance Indicator) for your social strategy, which should break down into macro KPIs and micro KPI’s. You should align your KPI expectations with the metrics that you can track for each social network so that they can easily be measured. Then sense checks that your web analytics tools are configured correctly to capture all relevant data.
How Social Media Marketing Can Help You Meet Your Marketing Goals
Without goals, it’s hard to know exactly how well your social media strategy is performing and where you need to iterate to continue moving forward.
9 Social Media Marketing Goals
Social media isn’t only a marketing tool it can affect almost every area of a business. How can we ensure we’re getting as much value as possible from the time and resources we put into social media?
One way is by setting goals. If you want to stay motivated and achieve more results for your company through social media, science recommend setting goals. But which goals should you set?
Below is a list of 9 ultra-effective social media goals to help you maximize your returns from social media:
- Increase brand awareness
- Drive traffic to your website
- Generate new leads
- Grow revenue
- Boost brand engagement
- Build a community around your business
- Effective social customer service
- Increase mention in the press
- Never miss a mention through social listening
Best Social Media Marketing Tips
To help you out, here are a few social media marketing tips to help you use these platforms to grow your business.
- Social Media Content Planning – Want to connect more with your target audience? Wondering how to deliver relevant social media content consistently? Planning your social media content delivery keeps your marketing on-message, making it more likely that you’ll reach your business goals.
- Great Social Content – a solid content strategy is more complex than that and also includes websites and even offline activities. It doesn’t put the medium but the customer, buying persona or audience at the center, in combination with the marketing goals.
- A Consistent Brand Image – Consistency is the key to unlock brand success. As you develop your visual voice on social media and across your marketing strategy, creating a style guide for your visual elements and applying them consistently will help you build your brand like a pro.
- Social Media for Content Promotion – Social media still is a great native distribution channel, and if we can master its complexities, we can generate more attention for our content. We want to maximize the reach of our content through more clickthroughs, likes, and shares. This will help us gain an edge over our competitors.
- Sharing Curated Links – Even something as simple as a link to a guide in a post for more information could be considered curated content. You’re finding content that you know your readers will be interested in and then connecting them to it. Almost all content marketers curate content in one way or another.
- Tracking Competitors – Having a clear understanding of competitors’ business operations, such as what they are charging, what clients they have, and what new products and services they are offering, can help a company develop their own successful business models and strategies.
- Measuring Success with Analytics – You know what they say, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” In Search Engine Optimization measurement is critical to success. Sure, keyword rankings are a great measure of SEO. More keywords ranking higher means more traffic. Going beyond keyword rankings allows marketing teams to showcase what really matters: how organic search brings revenue and profit to the business. Google analytics is one of the best tools for measuring your most prosperous social media marketing strategy.
- Social Media Crisis Management – A communications crisis can strike at any time. It could be a faulty product, a lousy campaign, or a slip of the tongue from someone higher up. It doesn’t matter the industry you’re in, or how popular you’ve been to this point. Sometimes, it just happens. Whatever the case, you need to be prepared. If you’re going to put out a fire, you need a good hose.
Tips for a Successful Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing can be a dynamic powerhouse that solidifies branding, creates quality leads, and drives sales. With some planning, companies are more likely to reach and exceed the payoff that got them excited about social media marketing in the first place.
Follow these 10 easy tips to rock your social media marketing strategy
- Identify your goals
It’s a smart business practice to start with goal setting before all new plans, and social media marketing’s no different. After all, you can be the best bicycle salesperson in the state, but still fail if you are supposed to be selling ice cream.
Use the SMART goal setting strategy to create the foundation for successful social media marketing.
2. Identify your audience
Your message won’t be effective unless it’s specifically designed for who you are trying to target. Developing a relevant buyer persona is essential for successful social media marketing.
3. Select the best platforms
It’s usually a mistake to try to cultivate followers on half a dozen or more social media channels. The person managing the social media efforts gets overwhelmed, off track, and the results end up being puny.
4. Employ a qualified manager
It takes unique qualities to be a savvy social media manager. One of the mistakes companies frequently make is to choose the person who has the lightest schedule or the cheapest per hour rate with no regard for whether or not they are “built” for the job.
5. Deliver consistently
An outstanding social media initiative is one that is nurtured constantly. Throwing up a blog here and a picture there won’t build a prosperous marketing strategy.
6. Woo influencers
Research from Twitter shows 49% of consumers rely on influencers to make purchase decisions. Find out who the experts are about the product or service you sell. The ones with a large following on social media are influencers.
7. Grow your audience
The more eyes that see your message, the more results you enjoy. The social media manager needs to work on increasing followers across all the social media channels deemed relevant for the product or service.
8. Engage your audience
For social media marketing to be successful, companies need to find ways to increase engagement in the followers they have and the ones they want.
9. Measure your results
Close the loop by holding the results up to the goals you set and see how they compare. Otherwise, you won’t have any idea which strategies are paying off and which ones crashed.
10. Lather. Rinse. Repeat
Metrics show you where you have been, and they also map out where you need to go. Companies need to take the metrics they gather and use them to massage their message. Does one type of content create more engagement? Is there a pattern of posts gaining more attention on certain days, or particular times of day? Does the content do better across one platform over another? Use this data to edit and hone the strategy. You will see even greater results from social media marketing efforts.
Successful social media marketing poses a variety of challenges to businesses, and it’s easy to take the wrong turn and end up with less-than-thrilling results. It’s also common to start out excited, and get burned out and lose commitment in the middle of your efforts.
How to Choose the Best Social Media Platforms for Marketing
Three Steps to Choosing the Right Social Media Platform for Your Business
Social media marketing is a must for any business looking to grow. Here are three steps to help you find the right platforms to focus on.
1. Seek Out Your Target Audience
Who is your target audience? On which platforms are they spending most of their time? When they are on these platforms, what are they doing? What are they seeking out? Who are they interacting with? How are they interacting with the platform? Look at the key demographics such as gender and location of the users and gain a general understanding of what each network is used for.
You may also want to check out which platforms your competitors have successfully engaged with their audience on. A simple Google keyword search can help you see which social media network your market is most active on.
2. Define Your Objective on Social Media
What are your social media marketing goals? Are you trying to grow your audience, spread word of mouth, or engage with your current customers on social media? Perform an audit of your business: start with identifying gaps in your current marketing plans. Do you need to:
-Grow your base?
-Improve your customer service and build customer loyalty?
-Create a channel for customer feedback?
-Update your customers on new products, services, or deals?
–Increase traffic to your website?
-Conduct informal market research?
Initially, rather than defining your goals in terms of the number of fans or followers you want to reach, think about which platforms will help you increase engagement with your audience. The number of followers you have is simply a vanity metric that doesn’t indicate business success. It’s important to keep in mind that with social media, a larger audience doesn’t necessarily convert to real results for your business, while a highly engaged audience will. Align the objectives of your social media marketing plan with the platform that will complement your goals.
3. Identify Your Resources and Skills
What types of resources and skills are needed to execute a successful social media marketing plan for the different types of networks? We already know now that each platform is unique in terms of how you can engage your audience, but each platform also complements different sets of skills and require different resources to execute. It’s not only important to align the needs of your business with the right social network, but it’s also vital that you have the skill set and resources to effectively use it.
There are also a number of free marketing tools online to help you create content that’s optimized for each type of social media network. Think about what your strengths are and research what type resources or skills are involved to be successful on each network.
Choosing the right platforms and adopting a plan for your social media marketing is vital to saving you time and resources in the long run.