Social media can no longer be taken lightly.
Although search engines still account for a large majority of online traffic, it is becoming increasingly clear of the rising proliferation of social media.
No longer are networks such as Facebook or Twitter seen as trends. But genuine places for audiences from around the world to gather and interact with each other.
Which presents opportunities for companies to reach their target audiences around the world.
But the right strategy in place is what defines success. It’s what separates brands that have a loyal following and those that can’t seem to gain any traction.
And this is exactly what most companies struggle with.
Anyone can create a profile and start posting in minutes. Even getting a few followers is relatively simple. But creating content that connects with its audience has the power to go viral in minutes and bring followers for your business.
By providing value. By interacting with your audience. And by being unique.
Anything less is likely to result in a highly ineffective marketing campaign. And the amount of effort you put in will determine the results you get. Just like with traditional forms of marketing, social media requires deliberate planning to be successful.
And it needs to be strategic.
Most companies are unclear about how to successfully leverage it for results and go about the process in an aimless manner. They expect to see results immediately after a single post. They expect visitors to automatically sign up for their newsletter or make a purchase.
But social media rarely works this way.
Developing a successful social media strategy starts with laying out clear goals and objectives. Rather than focus on what others can do for you, the mentality needs to be shifted towards what kind of value you can provide to others.
Creating an effective social media campaign starts with the following steps.
Set Business Objectives
The first step to developing a solid social media marketing strategy is to set business objectives. And equally important is setting a timeframe for achieving those goals.
Setting SMART objectives is extremely useful in this case to be successful.
Specific: Targets need to be specific. While metrics such as social shares should be tracked they should also not be the primary focus of a social media campaign. Being specific creates helps craft a more effective strategy.
Measurable: Goals need to also be measurable to determine their viability from the start. Using analytics is easy to measure marketing campaigns.
Achievable: Social media objectives must be achievable in that they can be accomplished with existing resources.
Realistic: Aiming to double revenue through social media within a week is simply not realistic unless you have the resources to do so.
Timely: The final step is to set a realistic timeframe for all milestones and an action plan to achieve those goals.
Some examples of leveraging social media to meet business goals can include:
- Delivering customer service
- Engaging directly with customers
- Generating more business leads
- Increasing online traffic
- Keeping a tab on competitors
- Gaining more followers
- Increasing revenue
Most companies are eager to get started with social media but have no clear idea how. Setting SMART goals is the most important step as it lays a solid marketing foundation.
Failing to do so will likely deliver poor results.
Identify Your Audience
You cannot expect to attract every single individual to your business. It’s just not possible. Before creating a social media campaign it helps to identify exactly who your target market is and how to connect with them. Answering the following questions is vital for market research.
- What are people saying about your brand?
- What needs do they have?
- How can you provide value to them?
- What concerns do they have?
- How are competitors responding?
- Who are the key influencers in your industry?
- What opinions do they have?
Using social media and even blogs are a great way to identify your audience and where they are online. Market research also presents an opportunity to conduct research into your competitors and to learn from their own social media strategies.
It is natural to feel overwhelmed by the competition but they could also have their own shortcomings which you can easily use to your advantage.
Especially if customers are unhappy with their products or services.
Leverage The Right Platform
The next step is to identify the social platforms that your target audience is using. There are hundreds of platforms available. Which one is right for your business?
Facebook and Twitter are by the largest social media platforms in the world. Facebook alone has over a billion active users while Twitter has over 200 million.
But they may not be the best platforms to start with.
It may be tempting to create profiles on all the major social networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and even Pinterest but doing so will only dilute your efforts.
Each one also requires a different approach for the best results.
If your target audience primarily interacts through Twitter or online forums, then it makes sense to concentrate efforts there before using other platforms.
Content marketing is at the heart of a social media campaign by creating content to share with your audience. But the type of content you produce ultimately depends on your business objectives and your market.
And this is where all your initial market research efforts begin to pay off handsomely.
But creating content is often cited as one of the main challenges for most companies. Here are ideas of the type of content you can produce to get your marketing campaign off to a solid start.
- How to’s
- Case studies
- White papers
- Relevant statistics
- Success stories
- Expert interviews
- Live events
- Curated content
- Breaking news
Providing timely and relevant content positions your company as a trusted resource in your industry. But it also needs to meet the following criteria before it goes live to produce measurable results.
Engaging: Your content needs to resonate with your audience. And this is exactly the kind of content that gets shared and produces results.
Unique: Content that is simply a rehash of what is already available is likely to go unnoticed. The content must be unique as it distinguishes your brand.
Useful: Visitors are more likely to share your content with others if it genuinely provides value. Providing case studies or tutorials is a great way to do so.
Relevant: Every piece of content that gets published must be relevant. Otherwise you risk sending the wrong message or even losing followers as a result.
Content can be created in numerous forms depending on your objectives and can be used to drive targeted traffic to your business. Providing educational content is one of the best ways to attract new customers by solving their problems.
This can easily be done by providing blog posts, ebooks or even webinars. Delivering content in this manner also helps to attract targeted traffic from the search engines.
Content marketing requires continuous effort to be successful but can lead to measurable results including an increase in online traffic and sales. Social media can also be used to streamline customer service by publishing FAQs as blog posts or responding directly to inquiries.
Consumers are constantly bombarded with marketing messages. The key to a successful social media marketing strategy is to focus on providing value.
And filling your profile updates with blatant advertising for your products only makes visitors more inclined to ignore you. Give people a reason to share your content and you will be rewarded.
Social media involves more than just posting updates. The following tasks need to be assigned to the right team members including:
- Content creation
- Post updates
- Customer interaction
- Conversation monitoring
- Data tracking
- Competition analysis
And this is what it takes to achieve social media success.
Implement the Plan
Posting a few updates to your social profile or publishing content to your blog is not going to double your traffic or revenue figures overnight.
But overtime it can.
Social media is not something that is done once. It requires consistent effort to be successful. And implementing your plan helps to reach your business objectives.
Even the most brilliant marketing strategy can fail without the right implementation. Which is why creating a content schedule is important to get the best results and to ensure your plan is implemented.
Measure the Results
Not all marketing campaigns will produce the same results. Measuring important metrics cannot be stressed enough. It allows you to identify:
- How your campaign is performing
- Which types of content produce the best results
- How much traffic was generated
- How many business leads were achieved
- What customers are saying
- How you stack up to competitors
- Return on investment (ROI)
Tracking this information is absolutely vital to reach your business objectives.
But one thing to remember is that social media constantly changes. And being able to account for these changes makes all the difference between a successful campaign or a struggling one.
The impact that social media has is clear.
Having a solid social media strategy will ultimately determine the success of your campaign. But even more important is taking a holistic approach by tying social media into other forms of online marketing including SEO, CRO and PPC.
All companies want to increase sales or improve brand awareness through social media. But most remain uncertain as to how to do so or even resort to leaving their campaigns to inexperienced individuals.
Which often leads to disastrous results right from the start.
At Smart ROI our team of professionals can create a highly effective social media strategy to fit your organisation. We focus on building a stronger online presence for your company by developing a comprehensive strategy.
Contact us today to speak to one of our representatives for more details.