Social media marketing provides companies the opportunity to approach their target customers in novel, experimental and creative ways. No matter the size of your organization you can always interact with your consumers on social media, understand their needs & concerns and receive valuable feedback that will in turn help you fulfill your business goals and objectives. With the social media boom, there are multiple outlets churning out content day in and out and it is very easy to get lost in all that noise, here’s where developing a social media strategy is so important.
Let’s take for example, GrabOn, one of India’s most prominent and most used coupons website. Their social media posts spark discussions, bring in likes, shares and other social votes. They target different festivals and occasions, put their own take and make it relatable for the end user. Say for example ‘Bachat Wali Diwali’ which is nothing but Diwali With Savings (alluding to the special Diwali sales, offers and discounts run on the website) or celebrating International Men’s Day at work with #SayNoToToxicMasculinity.
We’ll come across more such examples as we make way to learn the step by step approach to building a perfect social media marketing strategy. Let’s start with what actually a social media marketing plan or strategy encompasses:
“A social media marketing plan is the summary of everything you plan to do and hope to achieve for your business using social networks. This plan should comprise an audit of where your accounts are today, goals for where you want them to be in the near future, and all the tools you want to use to get there.”
A good social media marketing campaign has a significant role in helping your company connect with its target customers and segmentation. The initial task before working out a market strategy is determining the goals of your company’s social media content and its reach to help you develop a more achievable strategy.
Step 1: Think and Determine your Social Networks
According to Jayson DeMers, Founder and CEO at Audience Bloom:
- If you’re looking to generate traffic, your metric should be: unique visitors from social websites where you’ve run your social media campaigns.
- If you’re looking to create a following, your metric should be: subscribers, followers on your social channels (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
- If you’re looking to generate interaction, your metric should be: quantity and type of commentary (Facebook comments, Twitter replies/mentions).
- If you’re looking to generate revenue (which is the ultimate purpose), your metric should be: the precise dollar value of every lead a social post generates.
It is the first and probably the most significant step to social media marketing. Finding the platforms that are most used and common between your target segmentation and possible customers helps you to focus on those specific social media handles which get you an appropriate response from relevant audience.
Finding the possible customers
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” – Peter Drucker
To find the right people who could be your possible customers isn’t much of a tough nut. You must keep a record of your sales, abandoned checkouts and enquires to know what age group, gender, professional, and others your target segmentation belongs to. Once the right target customers are decided, you can center all your marketing campaigns towards them will in turn derive a more specified and concentrated outcome from the probable customers.
Step 2: Finalize your definite objectives and goals
It’s always good to have a clear view of what you’re aiming for. Even for social media marketing, it is essential that you analyze your company’s current scenario and finalize some specific and well-illustrated target, goals and objectives that you’re inclined on achieving with a social media marketing strategy. Once you have the end result, it is a smoother process to decide on a succession or series of posts and updates. Having these objectives also enables you to quickly react when your pre-decided social media campaigns are not meeting your expectations and not fetching the expected traffic.
You must note that the goals and objectives you and your company decide upon should be complimentary and adjacent to your broader marketing strategy and not just confined within your social media marketing. Treat this marketing segment as a part of the broader picture, helping you gain traffic and other assets. Also, think of your audience while defining objectives. You must remember, ‘Customer is the King’. You should also make sure that you follow the S.M.A.R.T. framework when setting your goals. This means that each objective should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
For example, let’s take the Instagram account of Sabyasachi Mukherjee, a fashion designer from Kolkata who focuses on his creations by posting close-ups accompanied by his captions which include write ups about his inspiration and work process. The pattern is followed through all of his Instagram posts.
Here is another example by Shopify about Four Seasons:
“Four Seasons has been listed as one of LinkedIn’s top company pages in years like 2013. And, it’s easy to see why. The hotel and resort posts videos and readable that highlights employees, how the company gives back to the community, and employees having fun. It’s an effective way to use social media to recruit talent without seeming overly pushy.”
Step 3: Look to Challenges and meet Expectations
Challenge of low website traffic
To combat this challenge, make sure you produce good and relevant content and then post direct links to the content on all of your social media handles. For example, you’ve a Tech News Blog; ensure that your articles and content is up to date. Furthermore, see to it that the direct link to all of your blog articles is posted on handles like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and others. You can even create your Youtube Channel if you thinking your content is really catchy and can be made into a video.
Other things you should look to are the internal and external links. These both drive and contain traffic.
Internal Links: “An internal link is a type of hyperlink on a webpage to another page or resource, such as an image or document, on the same website or domain.”
These links give your readers or audience a hyperlink to one of your other article, or page that is relevant. For example, if you have a news website and you’re writing an article about the success stories of the top entrepreneurs, and you’ve already written an article about the top 10 entrepreneurs, you might as well link the latter article to the current one. This is internal linking; it drives your traffic to another source of your website and increases views. Also, this proves the versatility of your blog/website.
External Links: These are links to a type of hyperlink to another page from another domain or website. These links come in use when you’re quoting someone, or referring to something or adding a term that isn’t common. You can link their meanings, the authors, and other suitable sources so that your readers do not have to look around for their references. This kind of linking is known in the field of social media marketing to gain audience. For example, in a tweet by Amazon during the #AurDikhao campaign, it mentioned Red bull and tagged it which drove both their traffics, resulting in increased number of viewers and responses.
Decreasing Customer Retention
“It costs 4 to 10 times more to acquire a customer than to retain one,” according to The Chartered Institute of Marketing.
Social Media is a great tool to keep your customers around and build a relationship with them. You can use several platforms to connect with your target consumers which will build a trust and a good social relationship with your customers that would translate into a better perception and offline relationship of consumers with your brand. Developing a social bond will help you make and keep your customers
Step 4: Make your Social Media handle exciting and keep up with the trends
Social media nowadays has become a major part of life and it is not just contained within the young generation. People of all age groups use platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn to connect with their favorite brands and celebrities. In these cases, having a good brand image through an active and good social media handle can benefit your market goals.
There was a time when emoticons or emojis were very popular among the social media users and brands picked-up on the trending emoticons and started including emoji in email subject lines and social media posts. Taco Bell, who has an incredible social media presence and knows how to connect with its youthful demographic decided to take it a step ahead of its competitors. Users simply had to tweet @TacoBell with a taco emoji and another emoji and the brand would tweet the user back with a humorous mashup of the the two images.
“For inspiration, look to what others in your industry are sharing and use social media listening to see how you can distinguish yourself from competitors and appeal to prospects they might be missing.”
Here are a few suggestions of companies that have good marketing strategy. You take inspiration, be creative and come up with your own new plan of actions.
- Social media customer service: Uber, Indigo
- Facebook strategy: Coca-Cola, Walmart, Starbucks
- Twitter strategy: Oreo, Amazon
- Instagram strategy: Redbull
- Snapchat strategy: Taco Bell, Amazon
Step 5: Measure and analyze progress
“Measuring your success is the final step in your social media plan. You need to know if your efforts are delivering results for your business. Let’s break this down into three areas: conversion, reach, and engagement.”
Keep a record of what kind of content, like images, text, gif, meme, video or other was more appreciated by audience and what kind of content received more response from the target consumers. Also, keep a track of customer feedback and review on your social media handle and try to decrease the negative responses.
Once done with all these, you must re-evaluate the step and analyze how successful each one was. Based on that, you could develop another round of marketing campaign that will be a successor to the prior one. There are various software, applications available to help you manage and schedule your social media posts to make your tasks easier. They also track the responses.
Social Media Marketing is the sector where you are in direct touch with the consumers and potential customers. This is the place to be your best. To summarize the whole article in short for a revision, the first step is to think and determine the social networks you want to work on. This has to be in accordance with the demographics of your target segmentation. The second step is to determine your objectives and goals for a year, a month or a campaign. This helps in being systematic. The third step is to stand up to the expectations of your customers and self. Learn how to combat hurdles like retention in audience or weak social media presence. The fourth step is to be fun, exciting and aware of the current trends. Nobody looks forward to a dull handle. Fun always attracts people. Engage your potential customers with offers, contests and giveaways. The last step is to measure the success of the entire campaign and analyze the key players in it, the shortcomings and more appropriate things that could have been done.