What exactly is digital marketing? It is an umbrella term that covers all forms of marketing which are performed via a digital means. When speaking of digital means, this includes websites, content creation and distribution, online ad campaigns, email newsletters, SEO and social media. As you can note, social media marketing is one component of the larger digital marketing picture. Businesses launch social media marketing strategies, by creating a presence on multiple platforms in order to interact with their existing and potential customers. These platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and the like. As a result, many businesses are able to interact and engage customers like never before.
When a business wants to build their presence on social media, there are tried and tested best practices to apply. In this article, you will find steps to follow in order to set yourself up for social media marketing success.
First, you need to identify what you want to accomplish through social media marketing. You will find that marketing through this channel is different than traditional marketing, so goals must be set accordingly. The nature of social media is that it is a platform where people choose to come and view what interests them. As a result, content should be 80-90% native (which means informational or entertaining) and 10-20% promotional. Thus, goals should be set to increase engagement, expand customer bases, improve customer relations, and the like, which have a secondary effect of increasing revenue.
Identify Target Audience
“Buyer personas” are essentially the demographics of the types of people who may or may not be interested in your product. Surveys and other research can help you to find out who you should market to. The target audience should be the buyer persona which will bring in the most revenue; whether it is a large group that consistently brings in less per customer, a smaller group that brings in more per customer, or somewhere in the middle.
For example, the persona of a buyer may be that he or she is typically 15 – 25, engaged in sports and fitness, works in an entry-level position or is in school, and lives in an urban environment. Once you have identified your target audience, you can fine-tune your content, and even launch ad campaigns which specifically target them.
Always know what you are up against and be ready and willing to act on new information. If you have competitors that are doing well, try seeing how they have their success. Are they posting tons of great content on social media? Do they run promotions which prompt users to participate and generate content? What is their secret? In contrast, struggling competitors can help give you perspective on what NOT to do.
Prioritize Social Media Platforms per your Business
Certain social media channels will be better suited to different businesses. For example, Facebook is the most used platform and commonly contain posts with pictures, videos and text. Users come to view a wide range of content which is entertaining and helpful to them. On the other hand Twitter is used for short text posts, where people share tidbits of information. Then there is Pinterest and Instagram which are primarily composed of images. As a business, you will want to analyze how each platform works, what kind of content is most effective on each, and which will be the most effective for your business.
Here is an example. If you have an interior design business, your work is very visual. It would be beneficial to note that Pinterest and Instagram would be very effective channels to share your work through. Now being that most users don’t want to be directly marketed to, you could post before and after pictures of your designs. This would function as inspiration to viewers in your target audience, and consequentially pique their interest in your services for the future.
Now, this is not to say the interior designer should not use Twitter or LinkedIn. A presence on these platforms can also be beneficial. However, they should not be the primary focus in this example, as the target audience will be on the more visual-based platforms. Cross-platform campaigns, which prioritize according to business type, are recommended.
One of the greatest benefits of social media marketing is that it can be very inexpensive and highly effective. Creating accounts and networking does not cost anything. However, dedicating a budget to social media marketing efforts can enhance the results. Platforms do offer paid ad campaigns which can increase your visibility and traffic. Additionally, creating content for platforms on a regular basis can be time consuming. Many companies hire writers, or social media managers, to create, post and manage accounts. You will need to audit your business’s budget, weigh the cost/benefits, and identify what budget is reasonable. It is recommended you start small, and work your way up as you learn the platforms.
Lastly, as mentioned, running a social media campaign can be time consuming and does involve skill. One of the keys to success, is an ongoing, consistent presence. This means no breaks in content. As a result, businesses will need to assign responsibility to ensure the campaigns run smoothly and are effective. If you have a fabulous blogger, let them help with written content. In addition, customer service, visual content, video content, daily management, advertising, and more should all be assigned to various people to keep the marketing streamlined and running like a well-oiled machine.
By implementing these steps when planning a social media marketing campaign, you can better ensure that your efforts will be fruitful. As a result, your presence on social media can be a key asset in your overall digital marketing campaign.