There is no point in reiterating the fact that social media is an integral part of any marketing strategy. You will hardly find a business that doesn’t leverage the power of social media. What is worth discussing, however, is how these businesses are utilizing these revolutionary marketing platforms and why some of them stand out and why some don’t.
Small businesses often make the mistake of having social media presence just for the sake of it so that they don’t feel left out of an ongoing trend. It is high time to accept the fact that mere existence does not suffice; after all, what good is having a treasure when all you do is just stare at it? Social media is no less than a treasure ready to be mined.
Rules for thriving on social media are similar to traditional media, it is just the mechanisms that differ. Traditional media is a one-way street while social media gives voice to consumers, making it better than the former. Here is how you can tame social media to bring you back the results you desire:
1. Define Your Goals
Before you hop onto the social media bandwagon, you should have a clear idea about what you want to achieve with social media. Experimenting with social media without knowing where you are headed is like shooting an arrow in the dark; you will only hit the target if you are lucky enough.
Your goals need to be SMART as the popular management theory suggests. They need to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-specific.
The crucial question you need to ask yourself is: what is that you want your target audience to do? There can be various actions that you may want your target audience to take. You may want them to visit your website, place an order, or have a connection with your brand. It would be easier to set a goal once you have answered these burning questions.
Your goal could either be to increase brand awareness, generate more leads, drive traffic to your website or just spread awareness about a cause. Subsequently, your metrics to measure the one-way results would depend upon your goal. For example, if your goal is to generate more leads then you shouldn’t be measuring the number of likes or followers that you are getting. There is no use of having followers that do not add value to your business.
2. Understand Your Target Audience
80 percent of the companies are under the impression that they are delivering exceptional social media service, while only 8 percent of their customers agree with the belief. Why do you think there is such a huge discrepancy? These companies might be doing a great job according to their own standards, but that doesn’t matter because they don’t know what their target audience wants.
Understanding your target audience preferences is extremely crucial and you don’t only need surface-level information such as their demographics, you need to go an extra mile, step in their shoes and understand what their desires and fears are. This is particularly important when you are working in a niche.
To know who your target audience is, you need to know what benefits your product or service offers. For example, if you are offering ride-hailing service, you would target people who don’t have their own transport, rather than people who belong to high-income segments.
You can also take help from your competitors. Do some stalking, review your competitors’ content, and see who they are targeting and how they are doing it.
It is possible that your product is relevant to more than one segment, but you need to focus on your bull’s eye.
3. Decide the Right Platform
If your first instinct is to start bombarding all platforms with your advertisements, you need to halt right there before you embark on the self-destructive path. It is an absolutely bad idea because all platforms differ in terms of the target audience they cater to.
Facebook was once quite popular with the youth, however, a study conducted in 2018 showed that teenagers are leaving Facebook for Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. 51 percent of the teenagers said that they use Facebook way less than they use Snapchat or Instagram.
Facebook is a more popular platform amongst adults, especially in the ranges from 18-29 and 30-49. If you have a B2B business, then the right platform for you is LinkedIn rather than Snapchat. Twitter is also quite famous among the 30-49 age group.
Once you have analyzed each platform’s target audience, you need to decide the one that is right for you. That doesn’t mean you should be completely absent from others, but you need to focus your efforts on the one that has the highest percentage of your target audience.
4. Time to Have Some Fun
Once you have built a strong foundation, it is time to play around with your creative skills. However, you should know what works best with each platform.
With Facebook, you can start with the basics that is paid marketing. Facebook has various forms of ads categorized according to their objectives. There are three types of objectives: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion. For lead generation, you need to focus on consideration ads. A consideration ad provokes your target audience to think more about your product. For lead generation, you can utilize video, photo and carousel ads. You can also use the lead form ads if you want to get their information.
To make the game more interesting, you can run some interesting campaigns on your Facebook pages such as a contest or sweepstake. People love giveaways and contests. It not only generates leads but increases awareness and engagement as well. Oreo recently ran this stacking contest, in which it asked the interested participants to show off their stacking skills and build a tower with Oreo. Imagine the amount of Oreos kids must have bought.
While the traditional paid ads option is also available with Instagram just like with Facebook, you can use Instagram to up your game in an entirely different manner. Instagram is the perfect place to run an influencer campaign. Influencers have a profound effect on their target audience since they are not just a mere celebrity, but their followers trust them wholeheartedly.
H&M is a brilliant example of a successful influencer marketing campaign on Instagram. The fashion brand is very popular amongst millennials and has millions of followers on Instagram. For their fall 2017 catalog, H&M recruited the best fashion influencers from Instagram to reach its target audience.
LinkedIn is not the first platform that comes to mind for social media campaigns. However, LinkedIn is the best platform for generating B2B leads because it is where your audience is. The first step is to optimize your profile. Make sure that all details are complete so that you can easily connect with others. Then eye the decision-makers of your potential companies and target those. There is no use of targeting people who don’t have decisional authority in their hands.
LinkedIn Pulse is an excellent source for generating leads because there are professionals waiting to be educated. Publish content that is useful for them and it will automatically generate interest for your brand.
With billions of annual tweets floating on the platform, Twitter is the best place to capture your target audience. You can use Twitter’s advanced search query to find relevant usernames and then promote your brand to them. You can also take advantage of the hashtags to promote your ads to the relevant audiences.
Measure Your Results
This is the most critical part of your strategy where you find out the fruit for your effort. It may seem like something to do in the end. However, you need to decide the metrics beforehand so that you know what you need to measure.
The lead generation cycle starts when a customer shows interest in your brand and then moves along the path. Hence, you should track interest, engagement and then conversion.
To measure these you need to identify certain metrics. You can measure engagement through likes, comments, share or retweets or clickthroughs. This is why sweepstakes and contests are quite useful in generating engagement.
Once you know someone is interested in your brand, it gives you an opportunity to interact with them and subsequently, convert them. You need to dig deep in clickthroughs and find out that at which point your customers bounced. Keeping a track of who spends time where and how long they spend it, shows where your opportunities lie.
Business Survival Kit
Today, businesses cannot survive without a good internet connection and digital media. While a good internet connection is something that is easily available through various providers such as Charter Spectrum, success with digital media depends upon how these businesses decide to leverage its power. If used in an appropriate manner, social media would indeed turn out a real treasure that can help you succeed in your business at a lower cost and better results.
Baldwin Jackson is a content marketing expert who loves to write about the latest technology innovations and trends. When he is not working you can find him gaming or reading ancient cultivation history and culture.