The moment you open Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter profile, there’s never a day when multiple ad pop-ups of different products and services don't flood your screen. You can easily notice the online strategy of these brands, emphasising on why social media platforms are integral to every successful marketing strategy. According to Sprout Social, 97% of marketers today are using Facebook, 88% are on LinkedIn, and 83% on Instagram.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing constitutes sharing relevant content and striking images & videos and sending messages to defined personas to drive organic traffic to your website. Marketers can easily reach out to a huge number of prospects through different platforms and meet their goals with the right strategy. Besides, social media also increases awareness about your brand, generates leads, closes them into customers, and improves revenue generation. And it’s not just marketers who benefit from social media, even salespeople now use social media to drive inbound sales - also known as social selling.
As per PWC, 37% of consumers are motivated to buy after watching an ad on social media. But all that has to be started from somewhere and if you are wondering how - here’s a breakdown of everything need to kick-start marketing on social media. Let’s begin.
Your Social Profile
Based on your brand’s personality, opt for a good social media handle or stick to your company’s name, keeping SEO optimisation in mind. But remember, catchy words or names that connect with the customers are retained better in the long run. For example, CNN’s twitter handle is CNN Breaking News, which reveals the type of news content. A profile should be as informative as possible so that people know who you are. Make sure you fill in all the gaps. After all, your social profile is the first non-verbal communication your prospects and customers have with you.
Bring the Best Strategy to the Table
This is one of the most important steps. A solid and fool-proof strategy is crucial to successful social media marketing. You can develop a phenomenal strategy by answering these questions - why, who, what, where, when and how.
Before you start posting content on social media, know exactly what you want to achieve. Have SMART (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound) goals as they are less likely to go off-track and give you an idea about the type of content your audience needs, when to expect the desired results, and whether or not you’ll be able to achieve them. You can choose what you want social media marketing to do for you and set your goals accordingly.
Since you’re already into marketing, you probably know the type of audience you are catering to. Choose one or two platforms based on your target audience. Think small initially and once it picks up pace, spread the marketing activities to other platforms. For example, to target millennials, the best platforms would be Instagram or Facebook and you can later move on to Snapchat and YouTube. Paid social media marketing also helps to bag good leads at a minimal cost.
The next thing is deciding what type of content to upload. For example, Facebook is more of a friendly community and hence, brings the need for keeping the tone light. Make sure your content is mostly original and somewhat curated. Keeping a theme for your content is very helpful because consistency is the key. That’s where you begin with cluster topics or selecting the right keywords. For example, Levi’s mostly posts newly launched apparel on Instagram but once in a while they go off-beat and post things like these balloons in support of the LGBTQ community. So, it’s good to have a few themes for delivering consistent content and slipping in surprising elements every once in a while.
Also, sharing behind-the-scenes work, offers and discounts, and content that solves problems (for example, how-to videos) are very much liked by the audience. Don’t forget to link posts between two social media platforms.
The frequency of updates is also important in attracting more and more people, and the decision depends upon the type of platform you choose.
Timing of posting updates is also crucial, which can be predicted by studying your audience’s behaviour - the time when most of them browse social media. Basic analytics tools such as Facebook Insights and Instagram Insights can tell you everything you need to know.
Many leading companies set their marketing blueprint based on all these questions and invest in a social media management tool, such as HubSpot, to put all their marketing activities together. A social media management tool not only streamlines your activities but also schedules content to deliver it to the right person through the right channel and at the right time and frequency.
A Single Central Dashboard For Everything
Although the results of social media marketing are magnificent, switching to different accounts might become a daunting process as you get on to more platforms. Choosing a platform every day can be really challenging while posting updates. That’s when social media management platforms come into the picture. These platforms provide you with a central dashboard from where you can manage all your social media account and you can view your logistics on a single page.
Measure, Analyse, and Test
Measuring the results is not only about finding out whether or not your goals and objectives were achieved in time but also about tracking your reputation online. Checking the number of leads generated, conversion rates, time spent on each post, and ROI generated is of utmost importance and so is content analysis. Find out the top-performing strategies in terms of clicks, likes, comments and shares. Read comments from people about you and don’t forget to leave a friendly reply to those who love your brand. When people feel heard, they indulge more with your brand.
Automate the Process
Posting a few updates per week might seem easy at once but this won’t hold true if your business is on speedy growth. You may want to invest in a marketing automation tool for this. An automation tool helps you schedule and deliver content consistently. It can also track the progress of each marketing activity on every social media platform. Tools like HubSpot give all these details to both your marketing and sales teams on a single platform. You may also benefit from a system to ensure that you listen to all the conversations happening about your company and engage with the customers.
Managing Social Media Crisis
Social media marketing is not always a cakewalk. You will get all kinds of customers - buyers, ambassadors, critics, and complainers. But if you have a social media crisis team in place, you can easily manage an upset customer. You just need to address the complaint at the earliest and have a strategy to find a feasible solution. 83% of the people who tweet to a brand and receive a response feel better and are more likely to continue business with them. To avoid getting into trouble on social media, ensure that you respect the audience, don’t capitalise on memorial/crisis days such as 9/11, be calm with angry customers, refrain from indulging into political debates, and be vigilant of imposter accounts.
Social media marketing is one of the most powerful tools that provide you with an opportunity to reach thousands of people at the same time. An opportunity like this should be used with a brilliant strategy that makes it easy to achieve your goals and objectives. A well-developed marketing strategy and a good crisis management system are all you need to kick-start social media marketing as the next step in your company’s growth chart.