Put S(uccess) in Your Social Media Strategy
Our lives and our business have already moved online, and it is the online presence that actually makes you visible in the business world. Social media is a huge part of it. As a business owner, you may consider social media unnecessary for bettering your business and stick to traditional marketing techniques. Sorry, it is just not going to work! A social media presence is a core of any business for so many reasons.
OK, you’re skeptical and you think that social media doesn’t really work, especially for your business. You set up a Facebook account a year ago, you log in to it two or three times a week, you have about 250 followers, and there are still no leads or web site hits coming out of it. I don’t mean to lecture you, but the thing is – you need to put work in it to actually make it work for you.
Many businesses fail in terms of their social media success because they follow the same ‘strategy’ – open a bunch of accounts on the impulse without any idea what to do with them. To make your social media strategy successful and achieve your goals, you need to know the goals! Moreover, those goals need to match your overall business strategy. The below chart shows the usage of social media in the last 7 years.
The key benefits your business can achieve from social media include:
Increased website traffic – your website is, actually, your primary marketing tool, meaning that it is critical to generate traffic to your site if you want to attract new customers, make and increase sales. Not only is it important to generate traffic, but the right traffic to your site, which is the target audience that is actually interested in your product or service. To generate traffic to your site, you need content – providing relevant information to your target audience will not only boost your web traffic but help you make your brand more visible.
Improved customer service: In the social media era, nobody cares about picking a phone no more – your customers’ reviews and complaints are communicated through social media which is why you have to develop procedures to deal with them timely and efficiently.
Increased sales – Your customers increasingly need transparency, conversation, personalization, they want ‘special treatment.’ The more interest you show in your customers and their specific needs and preferences, the more likely they will be to purchase your brand.
Increased newsletter sign-ups – Regardless of the growing power of social media, email marketing is still one of the key elements of marketing strategy, especially in terms of keeping your leads informed by sending them updated news/offers.
Once you have finally set your social media goals and understood the necessity of social media presence, you can start thinking about key strategies to make sure your social media presence actually works for you.
A human ‘touch’– you don’t want your social media page to look like it is being run by a robot, as, after all, it is called ‘social’ media for a reason, right? You need to make your interactions on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest as personal and authentic as possible. It means you’ll have to say ‘good morning’ to your followers/customers, update them on your business activities and share stories that will be meaningful to them.
Advertising your brand is an important part of the process, but you need to give your customers a little ‘something’ to make them actually purchase something. It is important that when your customers ask a question, complain or praise your brand or your social media page that they are going to interact with a real, intelligent, interesting and, ideally, funny human being. So, be human.
You need to keep your channels separated – it may sound harsh, but you are simply not allowed to operate all of your social media channels the same way, because they have distinctive requirements. The users on each of these channels demand different, customized content – Instagram users prefer visual content, Twitter users are more int brief content that can be consumed on the timeline, whereas Facebook users want to be ‘spoiled’ with a more friendly approach and LinkedIn provides business-focused content.
Focus on your clients and customers – the key focus of your social media strategy needs to be on converting followers into customers and, ideally, brand ambassadors, which is why customer interaction is your priority. To have a successful social media channel, you need to provide answers to EACH of your customers’ comments. Remember when you’ve messaged companies merely to get information from them, only to be ignored…for days?
You get the point. To maintain a successful customer-centered strategy, you need to have someone who will make sure every customer gets the answer the same day. If you can also offer to solve their problem quickly – you win!
It may be dull, but analytics rule! – Spending hours struggling with volumes of analytical data may not be your preferred activity, but it is critical for your social media strategy. You can have one day at the end of the month to go through the numbers and measure success of your social media campaign. It includes your post numbers, growth/decline in your follower numbers, the number of clicks, page views, likes/shares and impressions.
If you think the analytics are too demanding for you, you can try with a software that can help you track your data and see what it tells you about your social media strategy.
Competition analysis – If you have the ‘wits’ for business, you will scout your competition prior to launching any business. It’s the same with social media – knowing your competitors will give you insight into what’s working for them which will ultimately help you understand potential pitfalls and successful techniques to boost your own social media campaign strategy.
The Team – to successfully manage a social media strategy, you need a well-coordinated team. Many businesses make mistakes by thinking that this could be a ‘one-man band,’ but, actually, it rarely works that way. Providing you have available resources, you should have different people working on interaction with clients/customers, content creation and strategy, and brand persona management. Once each person’s role in the campaign is defined, your strategy needs to be communicated to them in a manner that will make them all work towards the same objectives.
Content Strategy – creating a good content strategy is more than just posting something on your social media profile. It requires awareness of the market climate, your customers’ and potential customers’’ ‘pulse,’ but also some tactical thinking. You may consider creating a content calendar – there are lots of free templates that can help you with this – to help you find and sort out images, video, infographics or blog posts for each of your social media channels.
You gotta give some to get some – in our lives, nothing is black or white and it’s the same with your social media strategy. Basically, you don’t have to go for paid advertising, but you can certainly leverage clever targeted advertising to make your campaign even more successful and profitable. This does not require a massive budget – social media platforms offer targeted advertising that will enable you to reach the customers at reasonable costs.
Go specific – you don’t have to build your online presence through every single social media channel, and it is probably the best to initially focus on one, two or three particular media. This means that you need to do some research, scour your competitors, locate your target audience to see where they usually ‘hang out’ and go for that channel(s). Having one or two established channels makes it a lot easier to go for other channels and promote your brand there. It also means that if a particular channel isn’t working for you, you may decide to switch to an alternative one.
You have to judge a book by its cover – budgeting for marketing and content creation may not be a problem with you, but you need to think about visuals, too. You probably won’t get many customers with a poorly designed social media. Your visual branding may actually be your competitive advantage which is why you may also consider hiring a quality designer to create your social media visual identity which can later be changed (on regular or ad hoc basis).
To sum up, the importance of social media for your businesses is critical to your business success – you may even consider it a matter of survival. Social media strategy is also an essential part of your digital marketing strategy. If you think you need help with the development of your social media strategy or any other digital marketing concept, we’ll be glad to help you and your business.