Just about everyone on social media networks has a story to tell and businesses have to compete with the millions of users and other brands for attention. You need a strategic approach to social media marketing for your business to successfully leverage the marketing opportunities that social media offers.
There are two main elements to social media, namely, news (feed/timelines) and advertising. To be seen on social media, your business can either focus on creating content for news feeds or advertise with targeted posts for a much wider audience reach.
Defining Social Media Marketing
Wordstream defines Social media marketing as “…a form of internet marketing that implements various social media networks in order to achieve marketing communication and branding goals. Social media marketing primarily covers activities involving social sharing of content, videos, and images for marketing purposes, as well as paid social media advertising.”
Luckily, Search Engine Land provides a simple definition; “Social media marketing refers to the process of gaining traffic or attention through social media sites.”
You don’t necessarily need to implement various social media networks though; just one can be enough for your business depending on where your target audience spends most of its time and availability of resources to invest in different platforms.
“One of the biggest false assumptions about using social media for marketing is that it doesn’t cost money and its fast,” says Amy Vernon, social marketing consultant and cofounder and CMO of Predictable.ly. “Like all good things, ‘getting the word out’ takes time.”
Social Media Content
So how can your business do social media marketing well enough to stand out and capture attention on social media?
Creating quality content (videos, images, articles etc.) that keeps your page fans engaged is easier said than done and consumes quite a chunk of time. As a business manager or marketer, you want to make sure you have a capable and dedicated person to manage your social media marketing while you focus on running the business. “Marketers who take the time to document their content marketing strategy are more effective than those who don’t”, says Joe Pulizzi from the Content Marketing Institute.
Before diving into social media, you need to first review your social media capabilities by performing a social media marketing audit and set some goals that you want to achieve. This is important because you want to make sure you have enough resources in place before embarking on a social media campaign.
After setting your goals, you need to choose the social media network/s that is relevant to your business and target customers. The most common and largest social media networks are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Strategy & Goals
Social Media is like a fishing line with a baited hook. You still need to skillfully handle the fishing rod to bring in the fish. It`s a part of a larger set of tools/elements in your marketing tool box. Setting clear goals and implementing the right tactics is essential to finding success with social media campaigns. There is no substitute for good business systems and good customer service.
As Kristy Bolsinger advices in The Beginners Guide To Social Media, “Keep in mind that neither your customers’ experience nor your brand starts with Twitter, Facebook, or your blog…Your efforts in social media should be an extension of everything else you do in all departments of your company.”
Goal setting is critical to your social media success. After all, how else will you know if you`re hitting the mark? Ultimately, I would advise you use social media as a tool to drive people to your preferred location where you have full control of the relationship such as your website, in-store or your email and even mobile number list. In 5 Essentials for Connecting with Your Ideal Target Market on Social Media, Lesya Liu argues that sending social traffic to your website is the ultimate goal in 99 percent of cases. For businesses that aren`t big on websites, sending your social traffic to your physical location or capturing contact details should be your ultimate goal.
Test and Measure Metrics
Clicks and impressions are nice but at the end of the day, your business needs sales to grow. At first, brand reach and engagement can be your main priority but that has to evolve into more useful metrics that you can build on to improve your business. By linking your social media reports with other metrics like site visitors, number of leads, store visitors or sales; you can ascertain what social media tactics are generating the results you want and focus your efforts. Integrating tools such as Google Analytics will help you measure the success of your ad campaigns and optimize what`s working.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and when you find what works best, focus more resources on that.