By definition; marketing is the study and management of exchange relationships. The key word being relationships. Social media makes those relationships come alive. Social media is a marketing campaign and should be part a coordinated effort. To be effective it should be developed, managed, tested and measured. Don’t be fooled by the word social, all marketing is meant to be social, it is the aspiration of every campaign to have its viewing audience share what they saw.
Social media can drive business and is becoming one of the most important marketing strategy for all target markets. There are several key steps to developing an effective social media campaign.
- Understanding your audience
The core of marketing is about speaking to an audience.
That starts with who your audience is, you need to take a deep look at the demographics of your audience, including their interests, fears, needs, and behaviors.
Having a good idea of who your audience is will help you choose social media platforms down the line.
Knowing your audience leads to being able to identify goals for your social media marketing efforts. What are you trying to achieve with your strategy?
- Building brand awareness
- Getting website traffic
- Lead generation
With your goals set, you need to determine how much money you can allocate to your social media marketing strategy.
The share of overall marketing budgets devoted to social media is expected to increase from about 10% on average to nearly 25% in the next 5 years.
Your budget will need to cover:
- Paid social promotions
- Social media management tools
- Community engagement efforts
- Analytics tools
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Bottom of Form
Who is going to build, manage and run your strategy? Internal, outsourced or a combination of both. It is easy to find freelancers who will manage your social accounts on Upwork or Guru. But finding someone who will develop social campaigns that speak to your target audience is not as easy.
- Blog aggregator – Use a tool like Feedly to aggregate all your blog feeds in one place.
- Social media automation tools – Use Hootsuite.com, Buffer.com, or another tool and schedule your social posts to go out at optimum times. They’ll also help you analyze your results.
- Social following tools – Use ManageFlitter.com or FollowerWonk.com to identify and follow your target audience.
Start with getting to know your competition. If you want people to find you. Find out what your competitors are doing to attract attention. Similarweb.com will show you what key words, search sources and channels are working for others in your space.
Keep a competition worksheet that lists;
- Who is your on-line and social competition
- What are their most effective keywords
- Where their traffic is coming from
Once you have information based on your market research, you can move on to enhance your website with technology that furthers your ability to track and learn from customer activity. Analyzing and compiling this data can help marketing teams develop more strategic campaigns.
Next, research your posting strategy – how often should you post, and on what platforms?
Research by Hubspot found the best times to post on Facebook are:
- 3 PM on Wednesdays
- 12-1PM on Saturdays and Sundays
- 1-4PM on Thursdays and Fridays
How often you should post your content will also depend on your platform:
- Competition research – similarweb.com
- Content to Share on Social Media – TwelveSkip
- The Essential Guide to Content Sharing – RazorSocial
- 7. Platforms
The average user maintains five accounts, but to be effective you may want to limit your focus to 1 or 2 and do a better job with fewer then trying to be all things to all people. Which platforms you use should be based on your audience.
Once you start, you cannot stop. One of the behavoirs consumers are starting to look at is when was the last post. Non-active accounts are a sign that you are out of touch.
- The Zero BS Guide to Choosing a Social Media Platform for Business – WPCurve
- Social Media Demographics to Inform a Better Segmentation Strategy – SproutSocial
Content needs to fit your audience. What do they want to see, how do they want to see it, what will prompt them to pass it along and share your content with others?
- Visual – visual content is 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.
- Emotional – Create content that evokes awe, excitement, or amusement to encourage engagement and shares.
- Useful – Berger and Milkman found that people like to share useful content to help others.
Check these sites for more information.
- 9 Best Social Media and Content Marketing Tips from Buffer – Convince and Convert
- 100 Killer Ideas For Your Social Media Content – Forbes
- Integrating your digital strategy
Your social media strategy must work in harmony with the rest of your marketing. What your audience sees on-line is what they should see when they walk into your store.
Here are some resources that can help you integrate:
Analytics tracking is one of the most important things you can do to improve your social media marketing strategy over time. Tracking analytics gives you a detailed picture of what kind of content and promotion strategies work – along with the ones that don’t – enabling you to adjust and improve.
So how can you measure the success of your campaigns? While 80% of marketers use engagement metrics (likes and shares) to evaluate success, 56% base social media marketing success on website traffic. You may want to use a combination of the two – the specific metrics you focus on will be relative to your goals (raising awareness might better align with social metrics, while referral traffic is a better indicator of sales).
Here are the most common tools people use to measure social media marketing results:
- Native analytics tools on Facebook, Twitter, etc. (65%)
- Social media management platforms like HootSuite and Buffer (62%)
- Web analytics such as Google Analytics (59%)
- Dedicated social media measurement platforms (22%)
Measuring ROI will likely require you to look at big-picture data, as well as engagement metrics. This all goes back to your original marketing goals and associated metrics – how well have your various social media campaigns helped you achieve them?
The only way to keep it fresh is to go through this entire process on a regular basis. You can think about like the retailers of old changed their windows. You must stay fresh and up to date. Don’t lose market share because your competition stayed up to date and you didn’t.
In summary, one of the best aspects about social media is that there is no shortage of people who are very successful in social media and are willing to their successes and tricks. If you have a question, go find someone that is eager to tell you all about what they have learned. We all learn from mistakes, but no one said those mistakes have to be our own.