Social media platforms have seen unprecedented and unprojected traction in recent years. From its humble beginnings in Friendster and MySpace to the massive boom in user engagement on Facebook and Twitter, the ubiquitous quality of this communication tool cannot be denied.
At the start of the millennium, no one would have thought that social networking sites such as Facebook would effectively bridge the digital divide among people in different parts of the globe. The impact of such an advancement in technology has led to social progress and change. These days, online interactions on popular social networking sites have become the norm.
In its earliest incarnations, Facebook functioned as a channel that linked networks of people from all over the world through a simple profile. Meanwhile, the Twitter feed began to provide real-time updates on current events and breaking news. Both social networking sites are now considered as platforms for information dissemination and social interaction.
Social Media Accessibility Across the Globe
Today, billions of people stay connected through social media. The 2019 Global Digital Report explained that the number of internet users around the world had reached approximately 4.388 billion, while the number of social media users stands at least 3.484 billion.
When measured per region, the report revealed that parts of Europe dominate the list of regions with high internet accessibility. In fact, at least 94% of those living in Western Europe use the internet, while at least 95% of Northern Europe residents also have internet connectivity.
Due to its broad reach and accessibility, if wielded correctly, social media is indeed a powerful tool for digital marketing. The question for digital marketers is this: how can you maximise the use of social media in promoting your products and services, while at the same time gaining traffic and attracting your target audiences? How can you become masters at curating the right content and convincing customers that your products and services are worth buying?
The Science of Social Media Marketing
Social media is a catch-all phrase for websites and applications that provide various social actions for users regardless of location. It goes beyond traditional marketing approaches: instead of the usual and expensive television ads, print advertisements in newspapers and magazines, or a simple word-of-mouth strategy, social media marketing makes use of digital techniques to help your business grow and expand.
It is then vital to understand how social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, and LinkedIn can be maximised to build your brand, connect and grow your audiences, boost sales, generate more leads, and increase website traffic.
The basics of social media marketing can be achieved by publishing the right content, evaluating the results of your posts, and running social media campaigns. To do this, several helpful social media management tools can facilitate the posting of different kinds of promotions, including Buffer and Hootsuite.
Before you begin publishing content, however, there are a few considerations you need to take note of to create a social media marketing strategy for your brand successfully.
- The right strategy
Creating a social media marketing strategy means taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture. Review your company’s goals and how you want to achieve them. Make sure that the details fit a larger narrative and that the concepts you bring to life are aligned with your company’s vision and mission.
With the right strategy, social media can help increase awareness for your brand, generate user engagement, create a network or community of your target audience, and become a safe place for customers to talk about your brand.
Along with this, consider which social media sites you will be using to promote your product or services. It’s okay to start small and only pick a few platforms in which your target audience belongs instead of overcommitting to all social networking sites.
Lastly, think of the kind of content you want to share on these platforms. We suggest that you think of a marketing persona for your brand: is it for mothers? Is it for young adults? This will help ensure relatability and accessibility for your customers. Heather Muse from Fortune says, “The main objective we have is to grow our brand. Social is a place where we can own our brand and promote it.”
- The right planning
Now that you’ve come up with a strategy, it’s time to create an action plan. There are several options to choose from: you can share a blog post, post an image, or upload a video on any social media platform. The key is having a consistent social media presence, which means you must consider the right frequency and timing when it comes to uploading content and updating your audience.
Tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite can help you schedule posts so that you can automatically publish them at specific hours. Creating a queue assures that there is no shortage of content for your customers to engage with.
- Addressing user engagement
As your brand grows, conversations about your product will start making its rounds on social media. Customers can send you direct messages, tag you in posts, and comment on the content you publish. This is important because you must drive traffic and increase user engagement.
You can do this by using social listening tools that will allow you to monitor conversations about your brand and products/services. A positive comment can boost your brand reputation, while negative feedback is an opportunity for improvement.
When it comes to Facebook engagement, the results are promising.
The 2019 Global Digital Report discovered that there is an 8% average post reach versus page like in a typical Facebook post, as well as a 27% average paid post reach versus total reach worldwide. This means that opportunities for both organic and paid posts may reach a large number of users. This can help businesses optimise the kind of content they put out.
- The value of analytics
As months roll by, it is essential to evaluate and analyse the kind of performance that your social media marketing strategy is putting out. How is your page performing so far? Are people flocking to your Facebook or Instagram page? Are you reaching more people on social media compared to last week? How many positive feedback do you receive? Do people use your brand’s hashtags?
These are the type of questions you can use to make sense of your analytics and pick out relevant metrics.
- Social media advertisement as a platform
Social networking sites are among the easiest and most accessible platforms for advertisement. When you’ve saved up enough funds, you can boost your social media advertisements so that you can reach a wider audience than the ones who are already following your page.
With this, you can easily specify the demographics of your target audience. You can also adjust the settings to cater to users’ interests, behaviours, and more. With countless social media marketing campaigns, using a tool can help conserve time, optimise your ads, and automate processes.
A good example is how Facebook allows customisation for the target audience in their settings. Alfred Lua of Buffer says, “We have been getting a sizable amount of traffic each month for as low as eight cents per click!”
How to Build a Solid Social Media Marketing Strategy
After understanding the key metrics, you may now build your strategies and make them happen.
A strategy is a framework, which your company is headed, while the plan is how you’ll get there. The benefits of a well-executed social media marketing strategy just prove that social media is a vital part of building a brand and pushing marketing efforts. Separating your brand from social media means that your overall marketing strategy is incomplete.
That being said, how do you build a solid social media marketing strategy? We must keep in mind the following:
- Be clear about your brand’s goals and objectives and establish your reasons
The first question you’ll have to answer is why. Why is your brand on your social media? What do you hope to accomplish by creating a page and posting content? Keep in mind that your social media goals and objectives should align well with your overall marketing efforts. To set realistic goals, you can use numbers, set a deadline, and create specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based (SMART) goals.
- Define your target audience
Without knowing anything about your target audience, how can you make sure that the content you post will be of interest to them? Engaging and connecting with the audience is essential so that you could suitably introduce your brand.
To do so, you can conduct surveys among your audience, look at their demographics, take part in forums with conversations initiated by your target audience, reply to posts and comments on your social media platforms, and collect feedback from your audience regarding your product.
- Curate your social media content carefully and meticulously
Various social media channels have different purposes. When you create content, initiate contests, or upload any multimedia, you must understand the kind of tone and atmosphere that’s expected in each social media network.
- Facebook is the most ubiquitous social media site. This is best used for entertainment and news purposes. It is more challenging to drive traffic through Facebook pages, but Facebook groups can bridge the gap between brands and the audience.
- LinkedIn is best used for a professional network. It includes publishing and distributing platform known as LinkedIn Pulse.
- Instagram can be used for any campaign but works best if your content consists of images, videos, and visual art. However, this social media app does not drive traffic for websites and blogs.
- Pinterest is similar to Instagram in a way that they’re both very visual. The difference is that Pinterest can post direct links to external websites. You can also group your content by making Pinterest boards.
- Avoid intrusive and aggressive sales techniques
Gone are the days when hard-sell marketing is the norm. With the advent of social media, it’s highly effective to create online connections and bonds with your audience and your customers organically.
- Upload videos and other multimedia ads
Maximise the visibility of your posts and create compelling types of advertisements. You can even conduct sessions of Facebook Live on your page and allow customers to ask relevant questions. You can also use Canva to create beautiful images and graphics to promote the content you create.
- Interact with your audience and schedule your content properly
User engagement can drive traffic and boost profit, but there’s more to this than just simple analytics. Make sure that the content you create genuinely connects with your target audience. Data from SproutSocial revealed that 73.3% of people purchase items and services because of a post they saw on social media.
Interact with your customers, reply to their comments, and make sure that they are being heard. Likewise, the posts you upload should be timed appropriately. Take advantage of moment marketing to initiate engagement with your content.
- Start a Facebook group or create boards on Pinterest
As Facebook’s algorithm change, it is now easier to reach people and interact through Facebook groups. There will be less public content on a user’s newsfeed and more posts by friends and family. Because of this, Facebook Groups is a surefire way to engage with customers, using a soft approach. Meanwhile, Pinterest can also help generate website traffic by creating relevant boards with keywords on the board’s name, or creating pin-worthy graphics that can be shared by users.
- Be open to the latest trends and focus on the bigger picture
Lastly, be in the know when it comes to the latest trends on social media. Always look at the bigger picture and return to your company’s social media goals to see how far you’re progressing.
Social Media Marketing Strategies
What are effective social media marketing strategies that will help you achieve your brand’s goals and objectives? We’ve listed down several ideas below which could give you the right push to promote your brand:
- Integrate chatbots in your accounts
Are your resources limited? The best solution is to integrate chatbots in your social media channels. Chatbots can easily redirect your customers to the right websites or links that can help answer their queries or resolve their issues. Chatbots can take direct orders from Facebook Messenger, comments, and other communication platforms.
- Personalise your customer’s experience
Believe it or not, chatbots can help personalise your customer’s experience. Chatbots can help prevent the idea that the only reason you are interacting with your customer is to sell them something. In fact, chatbots imply that the customer is being cared for and their concerns translate to better user experience.
- Make sure that there is a community for your brand
Show your audience and customers that a robot does not run your brand. Create a community that understands their needs and wants. Communicate with your audience by asking questions, gathering their opinions, sharing valuable information, engaging with their posts, and asking them to interact directly with you.
- Present advocates or influencers for your brand
With a community of users, you need to show that there are loyal brand supporters who are willing to vouch for your product. You can use employees as brand advocates by forming specific guidelines on social media use, educating them about the best social media practices, and improving these practices.
- Make sure the right people see your videos
Tighten your social media marketing by making sure that your videos reach the right audience. You can do this by using proper keywords, high production values, and the timing of your video releases.
- Fleeting content is also important
While evergreen content is all about building an arsenal of blog posts, videos, infographics, and other posts that can still be relevant for years to come, fleeting content such as those used on Instagram stories, Snapchat, and Facebook’s My Day can lessen the information overload for your customers.
- Establish a budget for your social media marketing channels
Allocate the right budget for your social media channels so that you can boost posts and ensure that campaigns are running smoothly.
- Create cross-channel campaigns
Lastly, engage your customers by running cross-channel campaigns that effectively tell stories, link back to a landing page of your website, and have a memorable name that’s coupled with relevant hashtags.
Social Media Marketing Rules
To become a pro at social media marketing, you have to understand the rules that you need to follow. You need consistent and on-brand daily tasks that will slowly but surely help you work the magic of social media marketing. Below are some of the most practical and helpful ways to get your plan rolling:
- Schedule a queue of advanced posts – At least 65% of digital marketers schedule their posts in advance, according to Software Advice. Doing so can ensure that the kind of posts you curate are properly reviewed and assessed first before going live. A poorly executed post can make your brand look unprepared and unprofessional.
- Use hashtags – To increase the discoverability of your brand, it’s highly suggested that you use hashtags. On Twitter, most brands use at least one to two hashtags that are memorable and easily accessible. Keep in mind that using related hashtags to your brand will zero in on your target audience accurately.
- Test your posting times – Figure out which times of day you’re more likely to gain a large number of user engagement and maximum exposure. The best standard to test this against is your own experience. Try to post different kinds of content at different hours of the day and then evaluate the data to see which post and time deliver the best results.
- Use more than one social media channel – To maximise your reach on social media, make sure to use more than one social media channel. For most brands, having two to three social media networks is enough. Return to the tips mentioned above and consider the kind of atmosphere you’ll need for your business.
- Consistency is essential – Being consistent can easily help you establish a solid presence on social media. Twitter and Instagram Stories both require constant activity, while Facebook and Instagram posts do well with scheduled posts throughout the day. Consider how each algorithm works for all these social media channels.
- Make sure there are visuals in your post – Visually eye-catching posts will captivate your audience’s interests. This will effectively draw attention to your content, and in effect, your brand.
- Invest in videos – A report by SproutSocial revealed that on YouTube, video views have increased by approximately 99% over the years. On Facebook, the increase is at 258%. Additionally, a tweet that contains video is six times more likely to be retweeted than a tweet with only text or a photo.
- Conduct A/B testing – Lastly, one of the most efficient ways to maximise social media is by conducting split or A/B testing. This involves the use of several headlines for the same type of content to see which creates a better response. This should help you fine-tune your social media marketing strategy.
Take the First Step in Social Media Marketing
Always review and return to the goals and objectives of your brand. What do you hope to accomplish? How will you connect and engage with your audience?
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