In the marketing world, strategies must evolve with the changing consumer landscape. Marketers must be innovative and adapt openly to new and changing concepts and platforms. Over the last few years, one of the most powerful tools that has developed into a must-have component in your marketing arsenal is social media marketing.
Social media has quickly become one of the most effective avenues to reach consumers. Companies both big and small soon recognized the value and impact social media has in terms of its data collection and hyper-targeting abilities. Are you being left behind?
With social media making such a huge impact on how marketers create strategies in the digital age, the role of the marketer has evolved to encompass social media management as a key element.
As a business owner, you may be reading this and thinking ‘my company is already on social media, I’ve got this down pat!’ – but, you could be wrong.
Just because your company has an account on a few social media platforms does not mean you are using social media effectively.
If you go to any of your social media pages and the last post was published one year, six months, three months, or even one month ago, you’re not using social media correctly. Social media marketing is all about engagement.
Still unsure if you’re using social media effectively? If you answer ‘no’ or ‘I’m not sure’ to any of these questions, there’s a good chance your approach to social media needs some work.
1. Are you writing quality posts for a specific and targeted audience?
2. Are you using the social media platform that resonates with your target audience?
3. Are you tracking the referrals and click-through rates from social media to your website?
4. Are you monitoring how well your posts are performing?
If your social media accounts aren’t publishing consistent and useful content, they don’t cater to a specific audience or you aren’t tracking your online traffic, it may be a good time to start putting together a strategy to effectively harness the power and potential of your social media accounts. Here’s a few ways to get you started on your path to social media marketing success.
Create a social media presence
What is the first thing you do when you want to buy a new computer? Do you put on your shoes and drive to the nearest Best Buy, or do you open up your laptop and do a little online research?
In today’s digital landscape, the first step for most people in making a purchase is seeking out product or service reviews online. So who will be there when consumers come looking for you? The companies that have an established social media presence will have a leg up on the competition.
Social media can be used to create awareness. The social sharing nature amplifies your message, which helps both new and existing customers find your company and products, and encourages them to consider you for their buying needs. Social media also helps build brand loyalty. If your company has a popular social media page promoting a brand and a story that resonates with consumers, and people interacting with that page are emotionally engaged, your company has a better chance of gaining new followers and thus, making more sales.
Gaining a large and consistent online following doesn’t happen overnight. It can take time to raise awareness and build trust among consumers. Because of this, it’s important to remember: ‘if you build it, they will come (as long as it is interesting, unique and engaging).’
Create engaging content
Telling you that you need to create brand awareness is one thing, but making it happen is a horse of a different colour. How do you actually do it?
The answer is simple: create engaging content.
When people are engaging with your social media page, it means they are ‘liking’ and ‘following’ your company, or are ‘sharing’ content that you have posted.
Engagement is important for creating both brand awareness and brand loyalty. Say you’re still looking for that new computer. You look online at Best Buy’s Facebook page to see how other customers are interacting with the company’s page. You find a lot of positive reviews, hundreds of people liking their posts and content is being posted daily. This seems like a company you can trust to buy a computer from.
Now, imagine you went to Best Buy’s Facebook page and found no followers, no reviews and no content. Or maybe the page is covered in negative comments and reviews with no responses from the company. Would you feel the same way about them? Probably not. Why? Because there’s no engaging content or interaction to build trust. This could be perceived as the company not caring enough about its customers to keep them updated on social media, or that customers do not like the company enough to interact positively with them online.
So, how do you create some buzz around your social media pages? Here are some tips to create content that people will want to engage with:
Post interesting and informative content – forget the sales pitch and just try to engage with your target audience. Show them you’re not on social media to sell, but to connect.
Share other people/company’s posts – An effective social media page needs to be posting consistently, and at times it will be very difficult to fill the page with all of your own content. That’s OK. Sharing other people’s posts with information you feel your followers will appreciate will help you stay consistent and help keep your customers engaged, even if it’s not directly related to your business or industry.
Include visuals – There are hundreds of thousands of companies on social media today who are competing for consumers’ attentions. To stand out and get consumers to engage with you, you’ll need to use visual stimulants like images, infographics and videos.
Use hashtags – Hashtags will group your posts with other similar posts. Search to see what topics are trending at the time and use the hashtag to increase your visibility.
A little can go a long way
Just because you can be on every social media platform, doesn’t mean you should be. Distinguish who your target audience is and what platforms resonate best with that specific group of people. It’s best to put a full, concentrated effort into the platforms your consumers are using than to exhaust time and energy on all social media platforms – especially the ones your target consumer’s are not active on.
The social media platforms that stand out today include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Take the time to look at stats showing which platforms garner the most activity for your business and focus your energy there.
If you decide your company is fit for all of these platforms, consider managing your accounts with services such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social. These services allow you to monitor all of your accounts under one roof, which makes it easy to schedule posts and monitor the engagement on all of your accounts.
When managing multiple social media accounts, remember that each platform has its own unique audience. This often means that one post does not fit all. Make sure your posts follow the popular format of each platform, and if you do want to post similar content across all your social media accounts, make sure you tailor it accordingly.
Understand and leverage your data
We said it once (or twice) and will say it again, if you aren’t monitoring and tracking your social media data you are doing yourself a huge disservice. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have built-in tools to help you see exactly how well your posts are performing. You can also use your Google Analytics to gauge traffic sources. You can then use this information to fine-tune your content and posts in a way that will resonate even better with your target audience.
If you follow these steps, you’ll be well on your way to social media dominance! But remember, building an online community that engages with and becomes loyal to your brand can be a slow process. If you want to create a social media marketing presence and engage with your customers, but simply don’t have the time to do it right, consider contacting the social media marketing experts at ZOO Media Group. Our experienced team can assist you with content development and social media management, help design and develop your accounts from scratch and implement effective strategies to build and expand your social media presence. Like we always say, if people aren’t talking about you on social media, no one is.