While the recent Stop Hate For Profit movement has seen big corporations pull out of Facebook advertising, the power of social media is still growing.
It’s especially useful as a tool for small businesses to reach huge audiences. If you’re in that last category here are some basic suggestions on what you should be doing to get your social media off the ground, if you’re not already doing it.
Customers actively seek out brands on social media, because it’s easy to communicate through social media and their friends are on there too. It’s great when people engage with your content on social media channels. But it’s even better when they share it.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is a technique to help promote your business and products through the various social media platforms. You create content, which is tailored to the specific platform, with the ultimate goal of engaging an audience and generating sales, or other business targets.
Understand How Social Media Marketing Works
Social media may seem challenging, but if you really comes to grips with your subject matter you’ll understand it much more, and discover that it’s not so complicated after all.
So learn, learn and learn some more. There’s plenty of advice online; there are courses, blogs and good old fashioned trial and error too. Your business is unique so you’ll need to adapt the generic strategies you learn here to meet your goals.
Measuring Success and Setting Goals
Trial and error and meeting goals leads us neatly to the next point which is measuring everything you do. Set goals for each campaign. It will give you a point to measure success against.
Because it’s the only way you’ll know if what you are doing is working or not. Trial and error sounds bad, like failure wrapped up in occasional success.
So, instead think of it as testing. Test your campaigns with new ideas. When you have one result, carry out a split test against it. This process of constant refinement will pay dividends in the long term.
Listen, Engage and Entertain
Listen to what your audience has to say and don’t just fill your feeds with product links and money-off discounts.
Social media is the perfect opportunity to get feedback from customers. They’ll very publicly say what they enjoy and what they don’t like (especially what they don’t like) so you can see where your business can be improved. You’ll need to keep an eye on these comments too.
On a positive, they’ll share great content and champion your brand too. But when you entertain your audience remember to manage it well too. Many a company has fallen foul of the social media masses in revolt at a mistimed post or failed attempt at humor.
Quality Not Quantity
There are hundreds of social media platforms. There is no need for you to be on them all. So, pick a handful that best suit your business and focus on those first. If you’re not sure where to start, this guide on to the most popular social media marketing platforms will help.
Understanding where your customers are will help you make the most of each platform. But start small (in terms of number of platforms you are on) and grow with your business. Take a look at these well-known platforms and how they might fit in with your goals:
- Facebook – brand awareness, advertising
- Twitter – PR, customer service
- Instagram – user-generated content (images), advertising
- LinkedIn – B2B development, employment
- YouTube – video entertainment or guides, brand awareness
As it’s a fast-changing industry, it’s not a bad idea to start with the platforms that have been around the longest.
Create a Calendar, Get Automated
With social media marketing, consistency is vital. You need to be listening, monitoring and posting content regularly.
Creating a content calendar is a great way to know what’s going out when, and make sure multiple channels are being fed with relevant content. It can also really help to use a piece of automation software to manage your social media campaigns.
Another bonus of using software is that there are usually tools to help you measure the successes too.
Some Final Thoughts
Once you are up and running analyse your results. Build in milestones – important so you can check to see if you’re on track and tweak things if needed. Social media marketing isn’t passive, it’s a work in progress. Feed it well and it will grow.
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