Engage your audience, reach your clients, and grow your brand
Social media is crucial to your online marketing strategy. Because almost anybody with purchasing power is already online, launching a social media campaign based on a sound strategy will expose your brand to a wider demographic of potential customers. This audience will then, in turn, also amplify your brand within their own networks.
Given that these platforms are free to use, why then do many businesses — particularly startups and SMEs — struggle with optimising their social media strategy and campaign for best results?
The answer seems to be three-fold:
The lack of a clear content strategy from the outset
Being out of sync with the target audience.
According to a survey conducted by manta in 2017, only 49% of the 4,700+ small businesses polled had a social media account. Of that number, 58% spent less than one hour per week on social media engagement. It is not enough to only rely on routine posts to establish a community: more time needs to be invested in audience research and engagement to build a robust social media presence.
Read how to break and avoid common social media bad habits to give a new lease of life to your business page.
Defining the target audience
One of the biggest benefits of having a social media presence is that it is a two-way street. It allows you to actively connect with your market and enter a dialogue. If you restrict your activity to only posting and promoting, you’re simply treating social media as advertising space when it can be so much more. You will miss out on creating lasting relationships with users who will spread the word about your offering.
Try posting links to relevant industry news including your take on things, community polls, and guides for new and potential users such as infographics.
It's all about sales
Only sharing promotional content may boost site traffic, but it will certainly overlook the more subtle opportunities social media has to offer. It’s akin to being in a group where you dominate every conversation by talking about yourself.
To make the most of your network, follow social trends and be a part of the discussion. Provide insights on trending topics that reflect your values, who you are, and what you offer. By doing this, it shows that you are part of a wider network and a key player in your industry.
Automation, context, and engagement
There are a wealth of marketing automation tools available and they are cost-effective. However, the human element of your social media campaign has to be present as well.
Check-in regularly to review and identify posts that inspire the optimum reactions among your audience. Which posts have high organic impressions and reach? Use the findings to inform your strategy and feedback into future posts.
Finally, note which posts don’t yield good responses and consider revising that part of your strategy. If it's not working, drop it.
A concentrated social media presence
A social media strategy does not mean having an account on every possible social media website and platform. In fact, we advise our clients against it for a few reasons.
First, consider your target market: who is your target audience and what type of online content do they consume most? Knowing these key facts about your target demographic will allow you to select a primary channel and two or three tertiary platforms.
For instance: choosing a visual primary platform to routinely posting photos, images, and infographics will likely warrant optimum results for a product where clients need to see what they are going to receive before they sign up. Alternatively, photos and images won't be as helpful for a data-driven service; a social media platform better suited to sharing information and statistics will be more appropriate.
Next, ask yourself why need to establish a social media presence. For instance, to create an additional sales funnel, or to generate homepage traffic for social media sites. The purpose needs to be clearly reflected in your choice of platform. Finally, it can be used as a means to monitor performance.
Failing to select your main platform based on your brand and product offering could be costly and time-consuming later down the line. Avoid building your strategy solely around current trends. Trends are an important aspect, but they change often.
Being on as many social media sites as possible potentially veers away from making a genuine and lasting impact on your target audience. It also risks diluting/confusing the brand message.
Consider these factors:
What channels are the most relevant to your business and within your industry?
Where are your customers most active?
Where can your brand make the best conversions?
Answer these key questions during strategy-planning and you'll be making well-informed decisions.
Finally, consider reviewing social media's role in your overall marketing communication strategy. Content marketing and social media strategies can be integrated — in terms of both direction and resources — to include combined objectives and tasks.
Brand alignment and reputation
Striking the balance
If your brand is well-known as a conservative and cautious one, your social media voice must reflect the same. Here, it pays off to listen to audience feedback and respond to their expectations.
Going viral without a clear message may risk diluting brand values, confusing organisation identity, and consequently misinforming the community. Admittedly it is easy to fall prey to the need to get thousands of likes, hearts, thumbs ups, and shares but not at the expense of straying from business ideals and goals.
In addition, coming up with viral content week after week is time-intensive; time and energy better spent focusing on brand-strengthening. Ideally, the ultimate goal is to establish yourself as an authority within your niche, and this is most often achieved through the slow-burn.
Consider having the expertise of a social media and content marketing agency by your side throughout your online marketing campaign.
They assist with identifying your target market and developing your strategy, through to launching and managing your social media campaign.
With a robust strategy and campaign, you maximise brand presence and in-turn establish your organisation as a credible authority to give yourself the best chance of generating high-value leads from a healthy — and valued — social media community.
Originally Published 19 November 2018 on Medium.com
Reposted here 14 December 2018
Updated 7 May 2019