Social media marketing is now recognised as a ‘must do’ marketing tactic. It’s no longer something that businesses ‘dabble in’ or ‘experiment’ with.
I think social media marketing has ‘grown up’ and become an activity that deserves attention and respect. Organisations are using social media to create real impact and drive measurable results that generate fantastic return on investment.
Social media marketing is great for a small business! On social media marketing channels, smaller businesses can stand alongside and potentially compete with larger established global brands.
The analytics and metrics that the major social media marketing channels provide have recently developed and became comprehensive. It’s really straight forward to monitor your progress on social media.
As with all things marketing, you’ll generate greater results and have the ability to make better decisions if you have a social media marketing strategy and plan in place.
I speak to many businesses who’ve lost their way or fallen out of love with social media.
Their followers, reach or engagers may have dropped off, persistent changes to the major networks cause confusion and they generally run out of ideas of things to post.
Some people get lost and spend hours on social media without actually achieving much.
This is my back to basics guide to kickstart your social media marketing strategy –
What is social media marketing?
According to Wikipedia –
Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms and websites to promote a product or service.
My definition of marketing is –
Communicating compelling messages to perfect potential customers.
I would also apply this thinking to social media marketing.
So therefore, social media marketing is simply also –
Communicating compelling messages to perfect potential customers.
Why are you doing social media marketing (or using social media)?
It’s really important to ask yourself what you’re trying to achieve! What’s your Why?
Businesses use social media for many different reasons including to –
Find new customers
Drive more website traffic
Communicate and engage with existing customers
Test and measure and conduct market research
Engage and interact with the public
Share knowledge and become a recognised industry leader
Support a corporate social responsibility strategy
Reasons to use social media would not include –
Our competitors are using it
We ‘have’ to be on social media
Our intern doesn’t have anything else to do
If any of this sounds familiar, then you need to rethink your why.
The 5 C’s of Social Media Marketing!
In social media marketing content is king! If your content is weak and irrelevant, you’ll struggle to attract new followers and engage with existing ones. Your content should be tailored to the specific target market that you intend to engage with.
Check out these previous blog posts for ideas on content –
Generating likes, connections, friends and followers should be an integral part of your social media marketing strategy. It’s good practice to actively engage with perfect potential customers, but also with other key influencers.
Your social media marketing strategy should involve developing conversation with other social media uses. Conversation is a great starting point – it’s never a good idea to jump straight in and ‘shout about’ your product or service.
Hashtags can help you to join the conversation –
Everything you need to know about hashtags and how they can improve your social media strategy
Consistency of posting or updating is crucial. Posting too much, or not posting enough will fail to attract and engage an audience. A steady, regular flow of relevant content over a long period of time is more appropriate.
Your social media marketing shouldn’t be viewed as a standalone marketing activity. It should be effectively integrated into a coherent marketing strategy and plan.
What are the benefits of social media marketing?
Recent research suggests that over 95% of marketing professionals are using social media marketing as part of their marketing mix. Unfortunately the stats also suggest that the percentage of smaller businesses who use social media marketing is considerably lower. I think smaller businesses are missing a great opportunity.
Here are the main benefits of using social media marketing –
Increased brand recognition
Social media marketing is a quick and simple way to expose your brand to lots of people. Ideally these people should be perfect potential customers or other key influencers.
Communicate your personality and values
Social media is a great platform from which to humanise your brand.
Become an expert or authority in your field
It’s also a great platform to communicate expertise and authority. Businesses use social media to become recognised as an expert in their field.
Gain a better understanding of your customers
Businesses who use social media marketing effectively gain insight and understanding into their customer base. They can also develop greater and possibly more efficient customer service skills.
To communicate and connect
Social media marketing is the perfect platform to connect with individuals, brands or organisations who would usually be out of reach.
Businesses are using social media to convert! Social media marketing can help to generate new enquires as well as conversions.
If you’re wondering which social media channels you ‘should’ be using, then here’s some statistics to help you to decide
Facebook has 1.13 billion daily active users. (Statista, 2016)
72% of adult internet users use Facebook. (Pew Research Center, 2015)
74% of people say they use Facebook for professional purposes. (HubSpot, 2017)
Should Facebook be part of your social media marketing strategy –
Facebook isn’t dead! Here’s why Facebook should be part of your social media marketing strategy
23% of adult internet users use Twitter. (Pew Research Center, 2015)
Twitter has 313 million monthly active users. (HubSpot, 2016)
Find out more about using Twitter in your social media marketing strategy –
How to use Twitter to drive more traffic to your website or blog
Keep up to date with the 2016 changes on Twitter –
Twitter update – a guide to understanding the recent changes
31% of adult internet users use Pinterest. (Pew Research Center, 2015)
Pinterest has 100 million monthly active users. (The New York Times, 2015)
71% of Pinterest’s users are women. (Search Engine Land, 2015)
Should Pinterest be a part of your social media marketing strategy –
How to maximise the power of Pinterest and sell more product online
Instagram has 500 million monthly active users. (Statista, 2016)
28% of adult internet users use Instagram. (Pew Research Center, 2015)
Over 95 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram every day. (Instagram, 2016)
Find out more about using Instagram as part of your social media marketing strategy –
How to make sure Instagram becomes a crucial part of your social media marketing strategy
25% of adult internet users use LinkedIn. (Pew Research Center, 2015)
LinkedIn is the only major social media platform for which usage rates are higher among 30 to 49 year olds than among 18 to 29 year olds. (Pew Research Center, 2015)
LinkedIn has 450 million members, but only 25% actively visit the professional social network each month. (VentureBeat, 2016)
Don’t forget about LinkedIn in your social media marketing strategy –
Are you forgetting about LinkedIn in your social media marketing strategy?
Choose the right channels for your social media marketing strategy
I often advise that it’s better to concentrate on one channel and do a great job rather than spreading your time and resource thinly across multiple channels.
The channels that you chooses to be active on should be the channels that your perfect potential customers (or other influencers) are also active on.
Inevitably time and resource will play a major part in this decision.
It’s also important to decide where each channel fits within your overall Inbound Marketing Process. What are you using each particular social media channel for?
The Inbound Marketing Process –
1. Get Found
2. Generate Branded Content
3. Engagement and Nurturing
So for example – you could use Facebook more to get found and Twitter more for engaging and nurturing. LinkedIn might the best place to post your best branded content.
House Keeping – Some quick tips and short term fixes
Create accounts for your business or brand on all social media channels
It’s good practice to do this. Things change quickly! Only a year ago nobody thought Instagram was for business.
Check that your social media profiles are up to date
I’m sure you’ll agree – there’s nothing worse than linking to a profile that was last updated 3 years ago.
Follow like – minded people
This will allow you to access relevant content that can engage with potentially ‘curate’.
Promote and link to your pages
Link to your key social media profiles from your website, blog email signature and other places online.
Consider using a scheduling tool
If you’re active on more than one social media channel, then Hootsuite or Buffer could save you valuable time.
Why do you need a social media marketing strategy?
Without a plan you’ll probably fail! How will you even know if you’ve failed?
A strategy and plan will provide invaluable direction and focus.
It can help to get other people in your organisation onboard.
It gives you the ability to make informed decisions moving forward.
A strategy should align with your overall business plan.
Most importantly, it will help your business to grow.
How Do You Create A Strategy
To create a social media marketing strategy, I recommend using the following steps –
Step 1 – Define Your Target Market
Step 2 – Set Realistic Targets and Measure the Results
Step 3 – Focus on Key Channels (Maybe Even Just 1)
Step 4 – Generate Content
Step 5 – Consider Using A Social Media Management Tool
Step 6 – Adapt and Develop
The most important part of any marketing activity is understanding your why! Why are you using social media or doing social media marketing? It’s always a good idea to revisit your why!
Check out this previous blog post –
Are you wasting your time and energy on social media?