As with any social marketing campaign, there are effective ways to pull it off successfully and not so great approaches. There is a basic set of rules that need to be followed to come out on top of this game. For those who fail to do the research and learn from the past mistakes of their predecessors, social marketing can be a waste of time.
Social marketing in 2017
With 2016 in the shadows and 2017 under way, one thing is crystal clear: all businesses, great and small, need to be marketing on social media. Not so long ago the big question was, “why should we bother using social media?” today, business owners are asking, “how can social marketing help us grow?”
These standard rules of social marketing are designed to create a solid foundation for any social media marketing strategy:
Put in the Time and Do the Work
You will not achieve success if you take shortcuts. Social marketing requires a lot of time, energy, resources and endless creativity. Effective campaigns result from strict commitments.
Prior to planning your strategy and your future direction, examine where you are now. Consider these areas when auditing the current social media presence your business holds:
- Which platforms are you actively using?
- Is your business optimizing these networks using photos, cover images, bio, etc.?
- Which social media networks are most valuable?
- How do your company profiles compare to those of your competitors?
Also, identify your ideal audience and document the information. Be as specific as possible. For instance, if your target audience is avid runners, that is good. But if you determine your ideal customer is a seasoned runner who lives in the U.S., is between 35 and 60 years old, and earns an average of $60,000 annually, engages mainly on Facebook and loves thrill-seeking activities, you will be much more successful.
Even otherwise great marketers have been known to target the wrong audience. To develop a spot-on buyer persona, you need to know the following about your consumers: age, location, occupation, income level, problems your business can solve and which social media platform is used most often.
If You Don’t Contribute Something of Value, You Won’t Have an Audience
This is a simple matter of fact. If you don’t provide value to the community no one is going to listen.
Time needs to be spent developing a social marketing mission statement that will drive your future actions. This will ensure you put significant thought into the process. This statement should be very clear and concise. How do you plan to use your social media presence? How can it effectively reflect your brand identity? Always remember who your ideal buyer is when crafting this mission statement.
Once you devise a plan of attack it is easy to decide what you want to create and share. If certain content doesn’t align with your social marketing statement, disregard it.
Unorganized businesses that rely on random posts without a mission statement to guide them will fail. Consumers are attracted to experts, that is who they will follow. Generalists come off as amateur and uninformed.
Position yourself as an expert by offering knowledgeable, compelling and engaging content that your audience looks forward to seeing.
The content you choose to post on social media should spark a direct response from current followers and potential viewers who see the material.
Just one effective post can lead people to your profile, your company website or even straight to making a purchase. Bill Gates had it right when he made this famous prediction, “content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet.”
Unfortunately, many businesses make the mistake of jumping in head first without wearing a helmet. They are quick to put hasty posts on social media without taking the vital preliminary steps to ensure their content will convert. This common market faux pas is often at the root of ineffective social marketing.
Creating and curating unique content is the fun part. This process should be easy once you have established who your ideal customer is and crafted a doable social marketing mission statement. With this valuable information, you need to understand all the different types of content and how to use them efficiently. Here are a few good examples: images, videos, blogs, company news updates, infographics, eBooks, and interviews. This list of possibilities is endless, but whatever you use, it must align with your social marketing mission statement and your skill set. Great content is the gas that fuels social media. Make it a top priority to create only high-quality content that keeps your audience coming back.
Use Social Media Marketing Tools
It is important to scale your efforts and without the right tools in place, you may risk constant burnout. This is no secret to seasoned marketers. Effective social marketing requires that you leverage such tools to boost productivity.
One of the most valuable perks of using a social media management tool is having the ability to schedule posts in advance. It is good practice to craft a content calendar that maps out how frequently you plan to post to each platform, what you will share and at what times. Your scheduled social media posts should align with your content calendar.
Here are just a few popular social media tools the pros use to operate social marketing campaigns effectively:
- LikeAlyzer is a free tool that helps you analyze and measure how well your Facebook page is performing. It allows you to evaluate your activity and explore further possibilities. This must-have tool lets you stay up to date with the ever-changing Facebook algorithms. Knowing and understanding such stats as posts per day; comments, likes and shares; timing; and length of posts is vital to your social marketing success.
- Twitter Ads for targeted reach is a powerful marketing platform. Although Facebook and Google are all the rage for their paid ads, Twitter also offers a very effective advertising tool. By promoting your business tweets in front of potential customers who are not yet following your page, you will expand your reach dramatically. The connection is one-on-one for a more personal experience. If you are looking to stimulate engagement, gain more followers, or both, you can do so with ready-to-go Twitter campaigns almost instantly. Results are measured in real time. You can watch your follower base increase and track engagement with each Tweet.
- ly is a cost-free app that makes it possible to view which social media sites your email connections use as you browse. For example, if you are looking at a person’s Twitter profile, you see who your mutual connections are on LinkedIn and Facebook. This valuable tool enables you to get to know your audience better and discover the right hooks that will drive your successful social marketing campaign. By warming up to the right people you will boost your conversion rates.
- Pablo is a relatively new, free, image creation tool that helps you design and share captivating images for social media posts easily, typically in under 30 seconds. You have the option of using images in their free gallery or uploading your own graphics. Text and logos can be added and the app will perfectly resize the image to the most suitable dimensions for Facebook or Twitter posting.
- Todoist is a useful tool that can help you manage your daily task list making it easier to accomplish more, boosting efficiency to a whole new level. With one-click management, you can collect ideas at any time and any place with your mobile device, web browser, email or desktop computer. When you are ready, you can prioritize, arrange schedules and put action items in place. Individual projects are arranged separately by use of folders and labels. Each day the app notifies you of the day’s scheduled action items. Todoist makes it easy to track your goals and get the work of social marketing done.
Keep Track of What is Working and What Needs to Change
If you are not constantly identifying key success metrics you will have no way to determine if your social marketing is effective. This isn’t about boosting revenue or gaining more Facebook followers. There is simply no point is wasting time and money on methods that aren’t improving over time. A few key metrics include conversion rate, reach, brand awareness and mentions, time followers spend on the website, sentiment and number of shares.
You Have Control Over the Effectiveness of Your Social Market Campaign
Track results, analyze data and optimize results, daily. These are the key steps to effective social media marketing that converts. Even marketers with decades of experience and the best track records rely on trial and error to get their strategies right. It may sound simple, but skipping these steps can be fatal.
Re-evaluate each step after you have spent a good amount of time analyzing how well your social marketing efforts are performing. The data should drive your future efforts. If LinkedIn or Facebook is more effective than Twitter, that is where your energy should go.
Nothing is ever unchangeable, social marketing campaigns are not set in stone. They are always a work in progress, change will always be necessary. If you are still wondering how effective social marketing is, try following the previous suggestions covered in this article, create a strategy and work hard at optimizing your campaign. You will see, with a smart approach, the more you give, the more you will receive.