Social media marketing (SMM) is imperative for businesses in the 21st century. Having a social media presence is not just about marketing but also providing authenticity and trustworthiness to a business. You can think of it as similar to what landlines supplied to companies in decades prior. People would become justifiably skeptical of an organization that didn’t have a landline, and the same can almost be said about social media today.
The added benefit of SMM is that it’s accessible to most businesses, big and small, making it a great equalizer when trying to get ahead in a highly competitive market. If you haven’t yet used social media for your business, taking the first steps may seem somewhat overwhelming.
There are numerous social platforms, each with its specific uses, and leveraging them may require some degree of trial-and-error, especially for the uninitiated. And when taken alongside the fact that SMM is a mid to long-term process before providing true marketing benefits, many businesses begin losing hope altogether.
So, where should you start on your social media marketing journey?
The Social Media Marketing Plan
Running a successful SMM campaign long-term is like running a business. It needs careful planning beforehand as well as a keen observation of the metrics during progress. The less you leave up to chance, the better the results will be. For things to run smoothly, you will need a robust social media marketing strategy.
The first step is to set the objectives that you wish to achieve with your campaign. Do you want more customer engagement, better brand recognition, increased reach, etc.? Keep in mind that these goals need to be both explicit and doable; otherwise you run the high risk of not realizing them.
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely (SMART) objectives are an example of this. Your goals can change over time, and you can have more than one. Nevertheless, it’s best that you keep it small in the beginning and work your way up from there.
Select Your Platforms
Going from Facebook to Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or LinkedIn, there are numerous social platforms out there. Each of them excels at specific marketing goals (engagement, connections, brand awareness, etc.) and it’s better at targeting specific audiences.
You may be tempted to try your hand on all of them, but it’s probably wiser to start small. Select one or two platforms that make the most sense for your business and invest most of your time, energy, and resources there. Once you’ve gotten the basics of SMM, you can begin to scale your efforts to other platforms, as well.
Quality over Quantity
When you’re creating material for your audience, make sure that they find the information valuable and useful. That said, it’s also a good idea to diversify the type of content you post, from time to time. Light, sharable content is an excellent addition as a means of humanizing your brand. But most of the time, your audience will be interested in real value, not massive quantities of entertaining content. Statistics also indicate that 46% of users will unfollow a brand if its material is too promotional.
Take your time to learn a bit about your audience and cater to their needs as much as possible. Strive to bring as much quality to your posts as this is what will bring them back for more. Over time, this will increase your brand’s reputation and establish you as a thought leader in your industry.
Once you have everything up and running, consistency is critical. This consistency translates into everything you do in your social media marketing strategy, such as the general style of your content, the graphics, colour scheme, and posting frequency.
The content style, the imagery, as well as the colour scheme you use, will help your audience recognize your brand faster. As for the frequency of posting, figure out a workable schedule and stick to it. Over time, people will become accustomed to your posts and will begin to expect them during certain parts of the day or week. Create and use a content calendar to help you keep yourself organized. All of these will contribute to your overall brand loyalty.
SMM works best in combination with other types of digital marketing such as email, influencer, content, SEO, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, etc. While social media marketing is great for engaging with potential customers and attracting them to your business, a simultaneous email campaign will nurture and maintain that relationship over the long-term. It’s a good idea to integrate the two, so they can work in synergy and provide you with more business than each can do, individually.
Starting with social media marketing may seem like a daunting challenge, but the key is to pace yourself. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy, and every business needs to, more or less, find its way. Keep in mind that results will not happen overnight and a fair degree of commitment is required. Still, the benefits provided will be well worth the effort.
Until the next time,