In a marketer’s mind, social media comes at an instant when they think about digital marketing. The huge user base undoubtedly makes social media a lucrative marketing opportunity for them.
However, social media marketing is not only about publishing contents. A lot of things- from setting the goals to managing multiple accounts come into play.
With the right strategy and tools in place, your business too can win in the social media marketing world. This blog will help you right with that!
1. What Is Social Media Marketing?
Social Media Marketing refers to all marketing efforts done on social media to achieve certain goals. These efforts range from publishing content, advertising, running campaigns to managing customer relationships. The goals may include increasing brand awareness, generating leads, and raising conversion rates.
There are thousands of social media sites out there. Prominent among them are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Snapchat. These sites also provide features that make it easy for marketers to start their social media marketing efforts.
2. Why Do You Need Social Media Marketing?
Facebook has 2 billion users, Twitter has 330 million users, Instagram has 500 million users- all these statistics goes to show that social media is an important part in the lives of millions of people across the world.
If so many people are out there on social media, won’t it be foolish to let your business out of social media?
Moreover, social media sites often provide marketers with the right tools and features that can help them win. There are social media management tools as well which helps users to manage multiple social media accounts.
3. How to draw a Social Media Marketing strategy?
The Social Media world is like a huge ocean. Opportunities abound here. But at the same time, it is a huge threat here as well- high competition from rival brands, negative publicity, and regulations from social media networks.
In order to wade through these uneasy waters, you need to have a good social media marketing strategy. This section goes through an 8 step process to help you build a social media marketing strategy for your business.
Step-1: Set goals based on the marketing funnel
The first step is to ask yourself, “Why shall I be on social media?” Answering this question will help you define the parameters for the next few steps.
Your goals can depend on each stage of the marketing funnel. That way, you can create and manage content based on your goals at each stage:
- Awareness Stage: Increase brand awareness, increase site traffic, or increase press coverage.
- Engagement Stage: Increase conversations about your brand.
- Conversion & Action Stages: Generate leads and increase revenue
- Advocacy Stage: Build a community around your brand and allow customers to proactively talk about your business.
The goal you set will determine the type of content you will need to develop for your social media pages.
Step-2: Understand your target audience with an audience profile
To be successful in your social media marketing plan, you need to be successful with your target audience. That’s why it is important to know about your target early on.
One way you can try to understand your target audience is to build a number of audience profiles. An Audience Profile is a set of information about your ideal audience. It may contain the following information:
- Personal Information: Age, Place of residence, family size, education background, and income level.
- Activities: Hobbies and interests.
- Pain points: Problems facing the audience, how he/she wants to solve it, barriers to solving
- Interaction with social media: How does he/she use social media, when and for what purpose(s)
You can also use social media dashboards like Facebook Analytics to develop a profile of your target audience.
Step-3: Set metrics to measure your goals
Having set your goals and your target audience, you now need to set how you are going to measure your goals. This is where you need to choose your metrics to analyze your performance on social media.
A common mistake made by social media marketers is to use “Likes” or “Retweets” as metrics. However, these vanity metrics usually do not bring in any insights that are consistent with your marketing goals.
To actually measure whether you are keeping up with your set goals, use the following metrics:
- Reach: How many people have seen your posts, how many of them have shared these posts, how many views of your ads on social media.
- Clicks: How many people clicked on the links on your posts, what is the cost per click, how many people clicked on your ads.
- Engagement: How many people interact (like, comment, share) your posts, how many people use your hashtag in their conversations, what is the nature of engagement (positive or negative).
Social media dashboards such as Facebook and LinkedIn often measure and report such types of metrics. You can also use Google Analytics for the same purpose.
Step-4: Check what your competitors are doing
Before you dive into creating content, it is a good thing to see what is working in your market and whatnot. Checking out your competitors’ social media posts is a great way of doing this.
You already might have a sense of who your competitors are. Check out their social media pages to understand what they are doing in this space, how they are faring and what they are lagging behind in.
Understanding them will help you give a guideline on what your target audience is expecting. However, do not just copy-paste their strategies. Improvise them!
If you are having trouble finding out your competitors, do a quick search on companies under your industry category or use competition tracking tools like Hootsuite and SproutSocial for analysis.
Step-5: Create engaging, consistent and regular content
In step-5, your strategy comes into reality. After deciding on your goals and your audience and knowing what kind of content is being favored by your target audience, you can set to create content.
Your content on social media sites must possess the following three characteristics:
- Engaging: The contents must be worthy of sharing and discussion by your audience. Not only does this help your goals, but it also helps reach a greater number of users.
- Consistent: Your content must have a unifying theme and convey a consistent message. People associate a personality to brands and inconsistent messaging can lead to people having negative experiences.
- Regular: So that your brand has a space in the minds of your audience, post content regularly. Too frequent posting can, however, be seen as intrusive. So strike the right balance in the frequency of your posting.
While creating content, do not rely on only one kind of content. Experiment with content in image, video, or text format. This way, you can have a wide variety of content to post throughout the month.
Schedule your content so that you can post content in a planned manner instead of making content at the last minute.
Step-6: Be responsive to your audience
Do not just post content on social media and assume users are going to engage with it. You need to take an active role in the process of engagement.
Social media users prefer brands to display human-like qualities. Therefore, they would want you to respond to them on social media.
Whenever someone comments or asks a question on one of your posts, answer them. People like brands to engage with them much as brands want people to engage. Even a short comment such as thank-you develops engagement with users.
Step-7: Evaluate your results and optimize
After posting content for a while, check their performance. Using the metrics you set up back in step-3, evaluate the performance of your content posts.
If some of the activities you are doing on social media are not up to your expectations, improve them. See the performance of those posts that are faring well and use it to improvise your poor performance ones.
Another way to improve your social media marketing performance is to experiment. Experiment with different types of content posts. That way, you can evaluate which contents are doing well and which ones are not.
Step-8: Communicate your results
Social media marketing is an important marketing tool for a lot of businesses. Therefore, your company’s higher-ups might be interested in knowing the marketing performance of your business on social media.
Report your results based on the metrics you set up before. You can also report the ROIs of your social media marketing efforts to the top management.
Reporting your results to help bring in accountability and at the same time, you can get important feedback to improve your performance.
4. How to Personalize Strategy for Each Social media?
Even if you have a general social media marketing strategy, chances are you also need to create a strategy for each of the social media networks your business has a page in. This is because different social media sites work in different ways. So having a personalized strategy for each social media is important.
In this section, get to know about some of the social media marketing strategies for some of the top social media networks.
Whenever people think of social media, Facebook comes at the top of their minds. This vast social media network hosts the account of one out of every four human beings on this planet!
Facebook also comes on top of mind for marketers when they think of having a presence on social media. The huge user base and the tools provided by the site makes it a lucrative platform for social media marketers.
– Paid advertisement over organic reach
Since 2018, Facebook has brought major changes in its algorithm. Known as “Facebook Zero,” the new algorithm prioritizes personal engagement over branded content.
The new algorithm also prioritizes paid advertisements over organic engagement techniques. Therefore, as part of your Facebook marketing strategy, paid advertisements must have a space in the agenda.
– Become an information resource for your users
Having said paid traffic is more important, organic traffic should still not be ignored for your Facebook strategy. Increasing organic traffic is cost-effective. So completely disregarding them will be a foolish thing to do.
Make your content informative. People are constantly looking for information. So if you create informative content, your target audience will more likely engage with such content. And the more they engage, the better are your posts’ chances to rank high on Facebook’s algorithm.
– Prioritize videos
Studies have shown Facebook videos tend to generate more engagement than any other types of content. If increasing engagement is one of your social media marketing goals, videos should be on your Facebook marketing strategy.
LinkedIn’s recent growth and features have made it increasingly popular for social media marketers. Being the largest professional network, LinkedIn is being used by marketers from brand awareness to talent recruitment.
As it is a professional network, the marketing strategy for LinkedIn should be a bit different. Casual content will not be appreciated in this site like it would in other sites. Here, people are looking for a serious business relationship with your brand.
Posting content on thought leadership is often touted on LinkedIn as the most effective marketing tool. Use LinkedIn’s features for posting articles and videos for this.
LinkedIn’s advertisement features and marketing solutions blog are two resources you should use while marketing on this professional network.
Twitter comes second in mind when people think about social media. This social media site is often used by celebrities, politicians and even brands to post short engaging texts.
Although now used by all social media networks, hashtags have been first popularized by Twitter. Clever usage of hashtags by brands can increase audience engagement.
Hashtags can be both brand taglines as well as some promotional taglines. Hashtags used during promotional campaigns can be used to generate user generated content (UGCs)- a cost effective yet engaging method of content creation.
Instagram is a popular social media network, especially among millennials and Generation Z. It is also the most engaging social media- more engaging than Facebook and Twitter!
Instagram is wholly based on photos. Therefore, you need to have good high-quality photos in your stock. You can also share quotations in photos and 15 second videos.
– Influencer Marketing
Instagram is a hot bed for influencers- social media users who have a high level of following. The choice of influencers is often blindly emulated by their followers.
You can leverage the power of influencers to your business’s advantage. Sign them up as ambassadors to your brand. This way you can garner awareness of your products and services.
Instagram has overtaken Snapchat on Stories. These are short images, videos or posts that stay online for 24 hours.
Instagram’s features make Stories an engaging form of content for users. Your company can use Stories to ask questions, conduct polls and share short videos with your followers.
Quora is a social media network where users can ask and answer questions. It is under most marketers’ eyes as it has a user base of almost 200 million!
Creating informational content is the key to winning on Quora. By being an expert in your category, you will be considered a hub for information by your users. This increases both engagement and trust.
You can also create long blog posts on this site that answer a question in detail. The better you answer the most demanding questions, the better your posts’ chances to rank on top.
5. Creating a marketing funnel that integrates all your social media marketing efforts
You might have multiple social media accounts and even two or three under the same social media site. Managing them is undoubtedly not an easy task.
Managing multiple accounts therefore can lead you to mismanagement. You might not be able to meet your goals and end up wasting efforts.
To integrate all your social media marketing efforts, you should therefore create a social media marketing funnel.
A social media marketing funnel will help you set goals for each of your accounts, develop content accordingly and measure efficiently.
5.1. The Marketing Funnel
Understanding the marketing funnel will help you create the social media marketing funnel.
The Marketing Funnel consists of five stages:
- Awareness Stage: Here potential customers get to know about your brand.
- Engagement Stage: Customers engage with you visiting your store or interacting with you online
- Consideration Stage: At this stage, customers consider your brand when buying a product
- Action Stage: Customers decides to buy or not buy your product
- Advocacy Stage: Customers recommend others about your products
Usually social media pages work for all stages of the funnel. You need to strategize in order to make them work for you.
5.2. Three steps process to creating a social media marketing funnel
To create a marketing funnel based around your social media marketing activities, you need to follow three steps:
Step-1: Identify the content for each stage of the funnel
At each stage of the content, determine what kind of content will work for you the best. You also need to determine the social media channel you will need to use for each type of content.
You can overlap channels for a particular stage of the funnel. You can also use one particular channel for two or more stages as well.
The following list shows the different channels you can use for each stage of the funnel:
- Awareness: Social media ads and social media pages
- Engagement: Instagram posts, Youtube videos, Facebook videos etc.
- Consideration: Facebook contest posts, Instagram photo contests etc.
- Action: Landing pages, Messenger chatbots etc.
- Advocacy: Facebook Groups
Step-2: Assign key metrics for each stage of the funnel
You must have set metrics for your overall social media marketing strategy as discussed earlier. Now you need to assign specific metrics for each stage of the funnel:
- Awareness: Reach, Views etc.
- Engagement: Comments, shares etc.
- Consideration: Clicks, impressions etc.
- Action: Cost per click, revenue, conversion rate etc.
- Advocacy: Shares, virality etc.
Step-3: Evaluate performance
Based on your set metrics, judge the performance of your content in each stage of the funnel. If the performance is not upto your expectations, then improvise.
6. Create personalized marketing experiences
Who doesn’t like something that is meant for them only? In the social media world, the same thing rings true.
Through personalized marketing, you create posts and content that go right into the personality of your target audiences. Such type of marketing increases engagement and conversions.
To create personalized marketing experiences, you need to use analytics tools available in different social media sites. Use the information to create highly personalized content. Here’s a three step process on achieving that:
Step-1: Use analytics tool
Use the various analytics tools to determine the profile of your target audience. Utilizing these tools, you can also create customer segments and create profiles for each individual segment.
Facebook and Twitter have their own analytics tools that help you create customer profiles. Both have an Audience Insights section that help you create such profiles.
You can also use Social Listening Tools like Brandwatch Audiences that help you apply various filters to develop customer profiles.
Step-2: Create customer profiles
Using the analytics tools mentioned above, create customer profiles. Like audience profile you have created back in the strategy steps, a customer profile contains the following information:
- What the customers’ ages are
- Where are they from
- Where do they spend their time online
- Which influencers do they follow and interact with
- What devices they use to log-in to social media
- What topics interest them
Step-3: Develop content based on the profiles
Having gained the knowledge of your audience, use the knowledge to create personalized content.
Customer behavior changes frequently. So, constantly use the analytics tool to understand audience behavior and make changes to your profile.
7. Using social media management tools
As mentioned before, managing social media accounts are quite a hard task. Fortunately, you can use social media management tools to help you out with the management.
Here are three of the top tools for managing social media accounts:
Buffer is considered the best social media scheduling tool. The scheduling will help you time when to post content on your business’s social media accounts.
You can schedule Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram posts with Buffer. By purchasing the Pro Version, you can schedule Pinterest posts as well.
The free plan of Buffer allows you to manage three accounts and schedule for upto 10 posts per day. The Pro Plan, priced at $15 per month, allows you to manage eight accounts and schedule upto 100 posts.
Hootsuite is your all-in-one social media tool: You can use Hootsuite to schedule content, analyze performance and monitor your social media accounts.
Hootsuite allows you to manage over 35 social media accounts. It also enables you to monitor over 200 metrics.
Hootsuite’s free plan allows you to manage 3 social media accounts and schedule for upto 30 updates. It’s monthly plan, priced at $29 per month, allows you to manage 10 social profiles and schedule unlimited updates.
7.3 Sprout Social
Sprout Social is a social media management tool that is great for team interactions. It is also a great tool for scheduling and analyzing post performance.
You can communicate with your teammates real time using Sprout Social. Its features also allows you to post content at multiple social media sites at the same time. Sprout Social also allows you to use tags to analyze performance over the years.
Sprout Social is one of the expensive social media management tools. Its standard pla starts from $99 per month which gives you access to manage five social media accounts.
Start your social media marketing journey today!
If you are confident on how to wade through the waters of social media marketing, start creating a strategy and build accounts for your business today!