Finally coming to terms with the changing dynamics of marketing and dynamics? Finally jumping aboard the social media marketing bandwagon? Finally putting your ideas together for a social media marketing strategy?
Better late than never!
Social media is inevitable. Social media is indispensable. But more importantly, social media is crucial. At a time when there are nearly 3.8 billion internet users in the world, with nearly 3 billion of them being active social media users, it isn’t a surprise that businesses are increasingly looking to harness and leverage the dynamic advantage that marketing and branding through social media provides. And the results are there to validate this aggressive transition. Nearly
So now that you are down to drafting out a strategy for your brand’s social media marketing strategy, you need to have a full understanding of the most popular and/or used social platforms. Along with this, your strategy also needs to revolve around an insightful understanding of every platform’s DNA – user base, interest group, ROI history, purpose, target audience, etc.
To narrow down on which social media platform/s you need to focus on, first answer these 4 crucial questions:
1. What is the objective of your marketing strategy?
Before you chalk up a strategy for your social media marketing efforts, you need to zero down on your objectives or goals first. What are you looking to achieve from this marketing plan? The answer to that question can be summed as either of the following:
a) Brand Awareness – Choose universally popular platforms with a large user base such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. These platforms will provide you the best opportunity to reach out to the maximum possible customers out there – current as well as potential. Additionally, due to the platforms’ large user presence, crowdsourcing content also becomes easy, reducing your dependency on created-from-scratch content ideas. This is especially handy if you are managing your brand’s social media’s presence aside from running the business yourself. Your choice of platform will also depend on what kind of content best suits your business. If you own a restaurant or a chain of restaurants, or a gourmet grocery store, or a florist shop, Instagram and Facebook take precedence over Twitter. If you are planning on offering a lot of discounts and offer, your primary focus should be Facebook and Twitter for immediate interaction related to these offers.
b) Customer Engagement– Customer connection is all about addressing customer queries and complaints, and engaging with your customers on a one to one basis. Many brands undertake this activity as a major part of their strategies because engaging with customers makes the brand appear more human, leading to higher consumer advocacy and fan following. As much as automation (CRM tools) sounds tempting and easy, the brownie points that come with this activity are hard to ignore for most medium- and small-scale brands. Twitter has by and large been the band-leader platform when it comes to customer engagement. The platform’s instant and urgent nature lends to it being the perfect replacement to CRM tools. Facebook and Instagram
c) Lead Generation
When it comes to lead generation, platforms depend on how they attract potential leads. Facebook and Twitter, for example, can generate a lot of leads from organic strategy itself. While advertising on Facebook can lead to enhanced targeting of leads, the platform largely favours B2C lead generation as compared to B2B. When it comes to B2B lead generation, LinkedIn is by far the best platform out there. While its ROI is not as solid as Facebook, LinkedIn (followed by Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter) allow for greater B2B networking than Facebook.
2. What is your target audience?
One of most brands’ social media strategy Waterloos is the inability or refusal to connect with their target audience. One of the crucial reasons for this is that brands fail to identify and tap their target audience.
For simple understanding, Facebook is almost always the best place to start since it is the universal social media platform. People of all age groups, income groups, and geographical locations use Facebook. You can further select platforms as per your niche. If young women with interest in arts and crafts or cosmetics are your primary target audience, Pinterest and Instagram is where your target audience resides. If you are an automobile spare parts dealer, LinkedIn is where your target audience resides. And so on.
3. What is the ratio of organic to paid advertising in your strategy?
Advertising on social media platforms now contributes to business growth more than organic content. The reason for this is the aggressive push by platforms to make sure their advertising platforms generate revenues for them. If you are not willing to spend too much on your marketing strategy, you will have to depend on organic content to meet your objectives. This works best on platforms such as Facebook or Instagram.
If you decide to spend some bucks, Facebook’s advertising platform is the most evolved and easy to use advertising platform out there. While Twitter and Pinterest’s advertising ROI is low on promise, some brands have managed to leverage them to good effect too.
As discussed above, if B2B lead generation is your ultimate goal, LinkedIn, despite its low ROI pattern, can be preferred over Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
4. What content do you want to publish?
If you want to just kick-off being ‘socially active’ without actually going into much depth of the platforms, you can start with content. What kind of content do you have or can create or can crowdsource? Depending on the content format, you can choose your ideal platform/s. If the content that you plan on publishing primarily consists of images, Instagram, Pinterest or even Tumblr are great picks.
If you plan on publishing a lot of videos, look no further than good ol’ YouTube! YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine with over 3 billion searches a month. For live video updates, Instagram and Facebook now provide Live Videos and Stories feature. Additionally, you could also explore options such as Periscope if your audience is niche enough to be found on the platform. Periscope also vantages from its association with Twitter allowing ease of sharing and commenting.
If you are going to share editorial type of content such as blogs and case-studies, or company updates, opt for a publishing platform such as WordPress or Medium and share the published content on your social media channels instead of publishing on social platforms directly. For a more B2B-based approach, LinkedIn has a great in-built publishing tool.
Use this little infographic to aid your strategy while picking the right social media platform.
So how do you measure which platform hosts your set of the target audience? use a social media listening tool. Social media listening tools offer a demographic breakdown of users for each/all platforms. Additionally, these tools also give you a fair bit of idea on what platforms are popular with your competitors or other brands in your domain.
Social media listening tools also allow you to eavesdrop on social conversations among your target audiences. Make use of this feature to design your content around what you listen and tap.
Believe In Your Brand
Lastly but most importantly, believe in your brand. Your belief in your brand and its values is ultimately what will show in your use of your chosen social media platforms. Your brand’s voice speaks to the customer and you are your brand’s voice. If you are human, your brand sounds human. If you are genuine, your brand sounds genuine. If you are confident, your brand sounds confident.
There is no ‘perfect’ social media platform for your business. Whatever you pick is going to be closest to best. Sure, the first few times you might go wrong. But trial and error will help you soar through. Platforms will come and go, but your creativity and your brand’s values will have to stay forever.