For the last few years, social media has been influencing the way we do business.
While social media can be an incredible resource for your company in terms of the ability to reach out directly to customers and the opportunity to create brand awareness, you mustn’t neglect or misuse it.
You must know what you want from your efforts before investing time and resources into a long-term strategy.
In this article, I will outline some steps for creating a sensible strategy for using social media as a marketing tool. By following these tips, you can help ensure that your efforts are worthwhile and productive rather than a waste of time.
Creating a sensible social media strategy
Here are the tips to follow to create a social media strategy that makes sense for your business.
Define your goals, ideal persona, and the problems they face.
To create a sensible social media strategy, you must know what your goals are. In business terms, this is often referred to as defining your niche or target audience. Your niche covers the demographic of people that form your target audience.
For example, a niche might be composed of stay-at-home moms between the ages of 25 and 50 who have children under 10 years old and make between $40,000 and $100,000 per year. In other words, these are the ideal customers that you would want to market to. If your goal is to sell cupcakes via social media, then your ideal customers could be people who follow bakeries on Facebook and Twitter because they love to bake.
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Once you have determined the goal of your social media efforts, it’s time to choose a persona. Think of a persona as your ideal customer. You should be selling to real people, not abstractions and this is where the person comes in.
The best way to choose an ideal customer is to think about the demographics (mentioned before), psychographic (your niche’s attitudes and aspirations), and even behaviors (such as travel style, fashion preferences, shopping habits). A persona allows you to create a more humanized image of the person for whom you’re making your products and reaching out to on social media.
You might wonder how you can ever create a single persona that will fit every one of your customers. While it’s impossible to create a single profile that covers everyone interested in your product or service, we can use some generalizations as there are usually traits shared by most members of this group.
Once you have chosen an ideal customer and created a persona based on these guidelines, write down the problem they face so that you know what content will be compelling. This way, you’ll always know what to stop, start and keep doing when it comes to social media marketing in order to connect with your target audience and provide content that will solve their problems.
While the above steps might seem like a lot, they are the needed foundation for a sensible social media strategy that yields long-term results.
Create educational content that is of interest to your potential customers
Educational content is an excellent way to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry, rather than just another company trying to sell something. When you create educational content, you’re doing more than simply informing people of the existence of a product or service—you’re engaging them on a deeper level and creating a relationship with them that can help turn casual fans into permanent customers.
Asking yourself why someone would want to follow your business on social media allows you to plan out future posts with purpose. If you know what problems they face and why they might care about this information, it will make it much easier for you to come up with ideas for things to share. For example, if your ideal customer is a recent college graduate looking for jobs, you might create a post with job search tips, or share articles about companies offering online marketing internships.
As a general rule, educational content should be relevant to your target customer and should provide value by improving your customer experience strategy. Educational content can come in many different forms—animated videos, blogs posts, infographics, or slide shows.
When sharing educational information with people on social media, think about the format that will be most interesting to them and the one they are the most likely to share. If you share links to videos created by someone else, they might have little interest beyond enjoying the video itself. If you create a blog post with data from a new study, they might find a whole lot more value in it than if you were to simply write some text description of the study’s findings.
In turn, this leads to a higher chance that your content is shared on social media.
The goal of creating educational content is not just to build a personal brand on social media but also to position yourself as an expert in your industry. If people see that you’re regularly creating intriguing content that links to other sources, they’ll start looking to you as a first resource for whatever it is that you do.
When you position yourself as an expert, the benefits will be twofold: You’ll create more interest in what you have to say, and people who need the products or services that you offer will choose to turn to you instead of other companies because they know they can trust what you have to say.
Measure, measure, measure
As with any aspect of your marketing strategy, social media is most effective when you measure the results you get from it. While measurements are important no matter what type of content you share on social media, they are even more so when it comes to educational content.
Whether you are just creating an online business or are already established in the marketplace, it is critical to understand the metrics that will help lead your business towards success.
Measuring all forms of social media is essential for a clear understanding of how your content performs.
For example, you might choose to measure the engagement rate different posts get in order to understand what works best for your target audience.
Calculating the engagement rate for a piece of content is simply taking the amount of likes/shares/comments/ that your content gets, and dividing it by the sum of followers you have on that particular social network. Then, just multiply the result by 100%.
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Social media measurements should be both short-term and ongoing. A few examples include how many people engaged with your content (by liking them or reacting to them), how many users were forwarded to external sources, which types of blog posts get the most comments, etc.
Integrate social media with your website and email marketing efforts
Combining different forms of social media content ensures that your website and email marketing efforts will be properly supported. When you post educational content to any type of social media site, ask yourself if a link back to a relevant page on your site would be beneficial.
Not only can this lead people to more information about your company, products, and services, but it also compels them to stay on your site longer—which is great for SEO purposes.
Every time you share an article through social media, consider adding in some text before the link directing people back to your website. Give them information about how they might benefit from working with your business. This way, they’ll start seeing you less like just another company pushing sales and more like someone who cares enough about their customers to help them succeed as well.
Offer your expertise as a service
If you are an expert in any subject matter, e.g., you offer photo printing services, creating a social media strategy based on that expertise is something that you should consider.
Given how much time you will invest into creating quality content, it would be a real shame not to put yourself out there as the main person behind your content and allow people to have access to it. After all, if your content is good enough for you to create it (given that it is of the highest standards), you should want as many people as possible to consume it.
When sharing educational posts on social media, the more useful the information contained within them is, the more likely they are going to pique someone’s interest and be shared by other users. This provides free publicity for your blog or website and allows more people to become familiar with who you are and what types of products & services you offer.
In addition, becoming a consultant is one of the best self-employed jobs available right now and social media can be a great place for you to get your name out there and spread the word about your expertise.
Use a landing page builder to bridge the connection to your website
Being able to build a landing page that connects to social media is a great way to get your message across. However, not all landing pages are created equal. Many marketers make the mistake of creating a landing page that is in no way related to the social media platform they are tying it to.
A landing page that should be kept as closely related to the social media platform experience your target audience has.
This means keeping the same messaging, look and feel, and even imagery so that users are clear that they are on the right page when they jump over to your landing page by clicking any of your links on social media.
Focus on one or two key platforms, rather than spreading yourself thin
When developing a sensible social media strategy for your business, it is best to focus on one or two social media sites that you feel are most relevant to your industry. Every brand has different needs and while some companies find minor success across many different platforms, we recommend that you pick your favorite couple of social media sites and dedicate more time and effort to becoming an authority figure on them.
Using several social media sites is time-consuming no matter what your experience level may be. When it comes to social media management, attempting to stay on top of multiple accounts at once can lead to increased stress levels, frustration, burnout, and even lower engagement & conversion rates.
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On the other hand, focusing all of your efforts on only one or two sites allows you to be an expert in those respective spaces. You’ll get a good handle on how to use the site’s features effectively and you’ll be able to develop a following that knows, likes, and trusts you.
Focusing on just a couple of social media websites also makes it easier to ‘become official’ on these sites, so to speak. If you decide to focus on Facebook and Instagram for a period of time, you can start the process to get verified. Once you accomplish this you will, among other things, have more credibility and gain a competitive edge over your competitors.
Take advantage of social media ads
Social media offers several great ways to use ads to target just the right customer base.
While some companies make a point of avoiding ads altogether, social media ads can be a powerful way to generate new leads and attract the attention of customers who might not have been aware you were selling your product or service before. Additionally, if you can put a new twist on concepts that worked before, such marketing campaigns are more likely to get noticed by others due to their novelty.
If you’ve never tried running ads on Facebook before, it’s worth testing out. The site has an unparalleled ability to deliver content that is relevant and timely, making such ads perfect for promoting just about anything.
It’s time for marketers to stop thinking of social media as a place for sharing pretty photos and start seeing it as the advertising powerhouse that it is.
Using advertisements on social media is the best way to get access to new customers, grow your brand’s reach and increase sales.
Why having the right social media strategy in place is key
Before we conclude this article, it’s important to note why it’s crucial to have a social media plan in place before you start executing.
From a business standpoint, social media can allow brands to align themselves with customers who share similar interests or goals. This allows businesses to better target their audience by providing content (both education and entertaining) that is more likely to resonate with such an audience.
Whether you’re promoting your blog or launching a full-scale advertising campaign, social media is the best way to get in front of vast groups of people who are already interested in your product or service.
In addition, many social media sites offer businesses the chance to advertise directly to their target demographic, making it easier than ever before for brands to get in front of the right people while targeting them several times from different angles.
Finally, understanding and taking advantage of the evolving social media trends is key to adjusting your strategy as time goes by.
With all that said, there’s no longer any reason not to take advantage of the incredible social opportunities that we have in this day and age.
In conclusion, marketers and small business owners need to understand that social media can be an extremely useful tool in promoting their brands.
By focusing on a smaller number of social media sites (rather than all of them), you’ll be able to learn the ins and outs of each network and get more out of them with less effort. This will lead to increased exposure for your business and a customer base that engages with anything content that you put out as part of your social media strategy.