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Social media marketing is a powerful way for businesses of all sizes to reach prospects and customers. Your customers are already interacting with brands through social media, and if you’re not speaking directly to your audience through social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, you’re missing out! Great marketing on social media can bring remarkable success to your business, creating devoted brand advocates and even driving leads and sales.
What Is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms and websites to promote a product or service. Although the terms e-marketing, internet marketing, online marketing and digital marketing are still dominant in academia, social media marketing is becoming more popular for both practitioners, marketing executives and researchers. Dodwell Solution’s social media platforms have built-in data analytics tools, enabling companies to track the progress, success, and engagement of ad campaigns.
Most social networks provide their built-in analytics dashboards that are free to use. The free analytics tools are excellent for optimizing content and its engagement, measuring social activity in your channels, and for learning more about your followers.
The first step to creating a winning strategy is to establish your objectives and goals. Without goals, you have no way to measure success and return on investment (ROI).
Each of your goals should be:
Here is a S.M.A.R.T. goal framework. It will guide your actions and ensure they lead to real business results.
Here’s an example of a S.M.A.R.T. goal:
“We will use Facebook for customer support and lower our average response rate to under forty five minutes by the end of the quarter.”
Vanity metrics like number of followers and likes are easy to track, but it’s hard to prove their real value. Instead, focus on things like engagement, click-through, and conversion rates.
You may want to track different goals for different networks, or even different uses for each network.
For example, if you use LinkedIn to drive traffic to your website, you would measure click-throughs. If Instagram is for brand awareness, you might track the number of Instagram Story views. And if you advertise on Facebook, cost-per-click (CPC) is a common success metric.
Social media goals should align with your overall marketing objectives. This makes it easier to show the value of your work and secure buy-in from your boss.
Start developing your social media marketing plan by writing down at least three goals for social media.
Knowing who your audience is and what they want to see on social media is key. That way you can create content that they will like, comment on, and share. It’s also critical if you want to turn social media followers into customers for your business.
When it comes to your target customer, you should know things like:
Get to know your fans, followers, and customers as real people with real wants and needs, and you will know how to target and engage them on social media.
Don’t make assumptions. Think Facebook is a better network for reaching Baby Boomers than Millennials? Well, the numbers show that Millennials still outnumber Boomers on the platform.
Social media analytics can also provide a ton of valuable information about who your followers are, where they live, and how they interact with your brand on social media. These insights allow you to refine your strategy and better target your audience.
Odds are your competitors are already using social media, and that means you can learn from what they’re doing.
A competitive analysis allows you to understand who the competition is and what they’re doing well (and not so well). You’ll get a good sense of what’s expected in your industry, which will help you set social media targets of your own.
It will also help you spot opportunities.
Maybe one of your competitors is dominant on Facebook, for example, but has put little effort into Twitter or Instagram. You might want to focus on the networks where your audience is underserved, rather than trying to win fans away from a dominant player.
Social listening is another way to keep an eye on your competitors.
Do searches of the competition’s company name, account handles, and other relevant keywords on social media. Find out what they’re sharing and what other people are saying about them.
As you track, you may notice shifts in the way channels are used. Or, you might spot a specific post or campaign that really hits the mark—or totally bombs.
Use this kind of intel to inform your own social media marketing strategy.
If you’re already using social media, take stock of your efforts so far. Ask yourself the following questions:
Once you collect that information, you’ll be ready to start thinking about ways to improve.
Your audit should give you a clear picture of what purpose each of your social accounts serves. If the purpose of an account isn’t clear, think about whether it’s worth keeping.
To help you decide, ask yourself the following questions:
Asking these tough questions will keep your strategy focused.
During the audit you may discover fake accounts using your business name or the names of your products.
These imposters can be harmful to your brand—never mind capturing followers that should be yours.
As you decide which social networks to use, you will also need to define your strategy for each.
If you can’t create a solid mission statement for a particular channel, you may want to ask yourself if it’s worth it.
Once you’ve decided which networks to focus on, it’s time to create your profiles. Or improve existing ones so they align with your strategy.
We’ve also got step-by-step guides for each network to walk you through the process:
Don’t let this list overwhelm you. Remember, it’s better to use fewer channels well than to stretch yourself thin trying to maintain a presence on every network.
While it’s important that your brand be unique, you can still draw inspiration from other businesses that are great on social.
You can usually find these on the business section of the social network’s website. (Here’s Facebook’s, for example.)
Case studies can offer valuable insights that you can apply to your own social media plan.
Who do you enjoy following on social media? What do they do that compels people to engage and share their content?
National Geographic, for example, is one of the best on Instagram, combining stunning visuals with compelling captions.
Then there’s Shopify. The ecommerce brand uses Facebook to sell themselves by showcasing customer stories and case studies.
And Glossier is a great example of superior customer service on Twitter. They use their 280 characters to answer questions and solve problems—fast.
Notice that each of these accounts has a consistent voice, tone, and style. That’s key to letting people know what to expect from your feed. That is, why should they follow you? What’s in it for them?
Consistency also helps keep your content on-brand even if you have multiple people on your social media team.
Consumers can also offer social media inspiration.
What are your target customers talking about online? What can you learn about their wants and needs?
If you have existing social channels, you could also ask your followers what they want from you. Just make sure that you follow through and deliver what they ask for.
Sharing great content is essential, of course, but it’s equally important to have a plan in place for when you’ll share content to get the maximum impact.
Your social media content calendar also needs to account for the time you spend interacting with the audience (although you need to allow for some spontaneous engagement as well).
Your social media content calendar lists the dates and times at which you will publish types of content on each channel. It’s the perfect place to plan all of your social media activities—from images and link sharing to blog posts and videos. It includes both your day-to-day posting and content for social media campaigns.
Your calendar also ensures your posts are spaced out appropriately and published at the optimal times.
Make sure your calendar reflects the mission statement you’ve assigned to each social profile, so that everything you post is working to support your business goals.
You might decide that:
Placing these different post types in your content calendar will ensure you maintain the right mix.
If you’re starting from scratch and you’re not sure what types of content to post, try the 80-20 rule:
You could also try the social media rule of thirds:
Pro tip: Once you have your calendar set, use a scheduling tool to prepare messages in advance rather than updating constantly throughout the day.
We might be biased, but we think Dodwell Solutions is the best social media marketin company in Kenya.
Your social media strategy is a hugely important document for your business, and you can’t assume you’ll get it exactly right on the first try. As you start to implement your plan and track your results, you may find that some strategies don’t work as well as you’d anticipated, while others are working even better than expected.
In addition to the analytics within each social network (see Step 2), you can use UTM parameters to track social visitors as they move through your website, so you can see exactly which social posts drive the most traffic to your website.
Once this data starts coming in, use it to re-evaluate your strategy regularly. You can also use this information to test different posts, campaigns, and strategies against one another. Constant testing allows you to understand what works and what doesn’t, so you can refine your strategy in real time.
Surveys can also be a great way to find out how well your strategy is working. Ask your followers, email list, and website visitors whether you’re meeting their needs and expectations, and what they’d like to see more of. Then make sure to deliver on what they tell you.
Social media moves fast. New networks emerge, others go through demographic shifts.
Your business will go through periods of change as well.
All of this means that your social media strategy should be a living document that you review and adjust as needed. Refer to it often to stay on track, but don’t be afraid to make changes so that it better reflects new goals, tools, or plans.
When you update your social strategy, make sure to let everyone on your team know. That way they can all work together to help your business make the most of your accounts.
Social media marketing poses an opportunity to grow online for companies if they are willing to invest in their social presence. The many benefits of social media marketing have for companies small and large, can have a positive impact and differentiate them more against their competitors.
Not using social channels will negatively impact businesses in the long term, even if it might seem that your business doesn’t need it now. Eventually, it will hurt your bottom line.
Investing and researching early on proper strategies will help you discover new opportunities in the ever-changing landscape of digital marketing. The power of gaining a new way to reach new customers and showing your brand to new audiences is vital for success.
Most industries can benefit from social visibility, and the key is to find the right social media approaches as every business is unique, and every strategy won’t fit everyone.
To grow on social media, you need to have a solid strategy to base your actions on, and by measuring every step, you can replicate the most successful actions to keep growing.