Let’s face it. Every company needs a presence on social media to stay relevant in the minds of both current and prospective customers. It doesn’t matter if you run a small local bookstore or a global business. Social Media Marketing, both paid and organic, are a vital aspect of a solid corporate marketing plan.
People from all over the world interact through the internet, and social media networks are present in the lives of millions regardless of age or background. Through organic posts and paid promotions, social media helps companies easily connect with clients, improves brand recognition, and ultimately can help improve sales. Furthermore, a presence on social media is commendable as it gets your product and brand name out to the masses at the click of a button.
When consumers decide whether to purchase a product or not, research shows that they turn to social media as one of the main sources for information before making their decision. Companies that have a strong social media marketing strategy with a balance of organic and paid content stand out above the competition.
Building a social media marketing strategy
Posting on social media is easy but knowing the dos and don’ts of social media marketing is tricky. Few businesses actually excel at using social media for marketing purposes. Companies that implement both organic and paid content into their social strategy receive better insights for their overall strategy. That’s due to the fact that organic social drives brand awareness and paid social is what drives lead gen and conversion. Mixing the two together will lead to an increase in customers.
Finding the right balance between organic and paid content is only half the battle. Let’s find out what the best practices are as it relates to posting on social media, and also identify what you should not do.
DO: Research target audience
Making broad assumptions as to who your content is intended for will get you nowhere. Luckily, there are ways to identify your target audience through demographic data and social media analytic tools.
Much of the information you need to know about your audience to influence your social media marketing strategy is readily available, granted you know where to look for it. Also, keep in mind that different platforms will attract different audiences.
Today’s social media demographics speak directly to which social networks your brand should approach and what types of content to post. Here are a few highlights from 2021 thus far:
– Advertising on Facebook will benefit just about any business in at least some way, shape, or form due to the sheer size and engagement rate of users.
– Instagram and Facebook share the same ad platform which makes it easier to set up cross-promotional opportunities for brands. Instagram is also the second-largest network after Facebook, making it another ideal platform for advertising.
– Twitter is good for quick news or conducting customer service due to its relatively straightforward, shorter-term interactions.
– LinkedIn is rich in opportunity when it comes to digital ads due to its B2B demographic.
– Pinterest is perhaps the most product-focused of any social media network, making it ideal for ads given the platform’s high-earning base.
– TikTok, while still growing, has 689 million monthly active users which makes it a platform to keep a close eye on in 2021 and beyond.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket or spread yourself too thin. Instead, focus on social networks where you see your target audience and focus on growing on those specific platforms.
DON’T: Assume your audience is everyone
Not having a clear understanding of your audience doesn’t just stem from not identifying a target audience. A lot of businesses simplify their audience too much. This ultimately leaves them with a simplification that distorts reality rather than helps them understand their intended audience.
For example, most Instagram users are between the age of 18 to 34 years old, which indicates they are a part of the Millennial generation. Who are Millennials? They only care about themselves, don’t follow directions, and are into memes – if you go by this definition, your social media campaign is sure to fail.
Instead, work to understand your audience better. You’re not interested in all Millennials, you’re only interested in those that are buying from your brand. Not only does this come in handy when choosing who to target, it also helps you adjust your tone, content, and messaging too.
DO: Set goals that make sense for your business
A good social media strategy starts with your goals.
Perhaps you want to build a more dedicated following or build a supportive community. Maybe you want your social accounts to drive a steady stream of leads this year. Or perhaps you’d like to increase your follower count by 2,000 in the coming months. The goal doesn’t matter if you don’t have a solid social strategy.
The goals you set will define your content marketing strategy and determine how much time, energy, and resources you’ll need to dedicate to your campaigns.
Below are a few sample goals that businesses of all shapes and sizes can easily pursue.
– Generate leads and sales
Social media lead generation is any activity on social media used to collect new leads. How you define a good lead depends on your goals, industry, and campaign. It’s important to remember that when it comes to generating social media leads, quality matters more than quantity.
– Expand your audience
Building your following on social media means finding new ways to introduce your brand to those who have yet to hear about you.
Growing your audience largely depends on participating in industry-leading conversations. This is only possible by monitoring and listening to specific phrases, keywords, or hashtags. Having a good handle on these conversations allows you to reach your target audience much quicker.
– Create brand awareness
This means getting your brand’s name and message out there. A lot of businesses make the mistake of only posting promotional messages instead of content that emphasizes their values and personality first. To create brand awareness post authentic content that your followers will find valuable. This will keep them coming back to your account.
– Drive more traffic to your website
If you are solely focused on driving more traffic to your website through social media you can certainly accomplish that goal. Whether you are posting promotional messages or social ads, keeping an eye on URL clicks and conversions from those clicks will help you better determine your ROI on social media.
DON’T: Work without a plan
Many businesses tend to follow a guide when taking their first steps into the world of social media instead of putting together a solid social media marketing strategy to fit the unique needs of their business. Not having a plan hurts your business more than you think and won’t produce the results you may be hoping for.
Your first step should be gaining an understanding of the possibilities your business has on social media. That should guide all of your social media interactions. Doing your social media marketing while lacking knowledge of who you’re targeting, how to market your posts, and what your next steps are is like taking a walk to the store in an unknown neighborhood without GPS. It’s a mistake that could cause your campaign to fall completely flat – and make all your hard work wasted.
DO: Create and curate engaging content
It’s no secret that your social media marketing strategy hinges on your content.
By this point, you should be able to easily identify what to publish based on your brand identity and goal. You probably also have a good idea of what platforms to use to promote your brand’s message. But what is your content strategy? Content strategy focuses on the planning, creation, delivery, and governance of content. Content isn’t just the words you post, it also lives in the images and multimedia that accompany it.
Sticking to a content theme can help you become more consistent and zero in on a content theme that works for your business. Play around with filters on images, color schemes, and cycling between memes, product photos, and user-generated content. This will allow you to test what works and build a killer content strategy from your findings.
DON’T: Post boring content
It’s easy for businesses to get lost in the shuffle when it comes to social media.
Instagram alone sees over 100 million posts a day. The thing that will limit the reach of your content is posting material that doesn’t engage viewers right away. For example, on Facebook, the average person spends roughly 1.7 seconds on any piece of content and even less with younger audiences. It’s easy to get caught up in solely showcasing products and services without ever putting thought into the look and feel of the content.
The mistake of posting boring content can be avoided by doing research on your target audience, gaining inspiration from competitors, and getting creative. Keep in mind that assessing your social media accounts regularly to see what content is performing best will also help your content to stay fresh and relevant.
Building a strong presence on social media isn’t easy, and you will likely do a lot of trial and error before finding what works, but don’t give up!
There are many moving pieces involved in crafting a strategy for social media. If you find a good balance between the types of content you post, set actionable goals and keep the best practices above in mind, you’ll already be way ahead of the curve when it comes to creating a social media marketing strategy that works.