Social Media Marketing Topics
- Select Relevant and Realistic Social Media Marketing Goals
- Determine Your Most Relevant Metrics
- Decide Who You Want as Your Social Media Audience
- Understand Your Social Media Audience
- Select the Right Social Media Networks for Your Audience
- Investigate How Your Competitors Approach Social Media
- Establish a Realistic Social Media Budget
- Plan the Types of Content You Intend to Share
- Set Up Your Accounts Properly Before You Make and Promote Content
- Establish the Best Times to Post and Set Up a Content Calendar
Naive? Too many businesses go into Social Media Marketing on an unplanned basis. They know they should do something about Social Media Marketing (SMM), but don’t really understand what they should do. Some firms just give access to the company’s Social Accounts to some junior staff members – merely because they are young, so should know all about Social Media (SM), but they often don’t.
Need. However, we are well past a SM strategy of post & hope. All businesses need to create a Social Media Marketing strategy and operate the business SM Accounts in a thoughtful, measured way. Firms can’t ignore Social Media, however. According to Ambassador, 71% of consumers who have had a good Social Media experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others. Yet, 96% of the people that discuss brands online do not follow those brands’ owned profiles. Even if you embrace the wonders of Influencer Marketing, you still need to operate some SM Accounts yourself. Often the goal of Influencer Marketing is to direct visitors to your SM sites. You should consider Influencer Marketing to be merely an extension of your business’ Social Marketing strategy.
1. Select Relevant & Realistic SMM Goals
One of the most significant problems faced by many businesses engaged in Social Media is that they have never spent the time to set relevant & realistic Social Media Marketing goals. They know they need to be on SM, but have no idea why they should. Of course, your SMM goals need to fit into your Business planning as a whole. Ideally, you will have set strategic goals for how you want your business to progress. Your SMM goals should complement your overarching business goals.
1a. Make Sure Your Goals Are SMART
All too often, people set vague business goals that have little meaning. Remember, you’re not creating goals merely for the sake of it. You are building them to help you devise the most suitable SM strategy for your business. Therefore, you will want to ensure that your goals are SMART:
The SMARTer your goals, the more likely you will be able to meet them – and just as importantly, know that you are meeting them. While you want to challenge yourself, it is essential that you set attainable, realistic goals. It’s prudent to set reasonable Goals with limitations. Don’t attempt to succeed on every Social network. There are too many. You’ll spread your resources too thin. You just need to perform well on the same Social networks where your Target Market spends their time.
1b. Suitable SM Goals your Business could Set
Your goals will be specific to your business & complement your overall business goals. However, typical types of Social Media goals you could consider (couched in a suitable SMART-style) include:
- Increasing Brand awareness
- Achieving a set higher Quantity of sales
- Improving your ROI
- Driving Customers to increase sales
- Grow your Loyalty base
2. Determine your most “relevant” Metrics
Too many businesses create a Social presence and spend time + other resources on using their Social Accounts, without ever establishing whether they see any success or not. Unfortunately, SM analytics can be a gray area, because they are not the same for every business. Once again, your most relevant SM metrics will relate to the goals you have set yourself. The Influencer Marketing Hub has written a free e-book to help you here – “How to Measure Influencer Marketing ROI” Don’t be sucked in by easy-to-measure Vanity metrics, such as the number of followers someone has. The existence of fake followers on any Social network means that follower numbers have little value as a metric. Ideally, you should look at the Marketing goals you set above, and determine which metrics will provide you with the answer – as to whether you are meeting that goal. For example, if you have a goal that aims to increase your brand awareness, then Post Reach is a relevant statistic. It will tell you how far your content is spreading across Social channels. If your goals are more Sales-based, or you want to drive people to take a particular action, then you should take notice of the number of Clicks. Tracking Clicks per campaign will give you a good indication of what drives people to buy or do what you ask of them. You will often take most interest in the engagements on your posts. This shows how people interact with your content and whether it resounds with them.
3. Decide Who You Want as Your Social Media Audience
One of the most common mistakes made by firms on Social Media is to think that all followers will be good for them. There is a good reason why pundits deemphasize the metric Follower Numbers and call them vanity metrics. There is little point having somebody as a follower unless he is likely to take an interest in the content you share.
This is probably the biggest problem with buying fake followers. Fake followers don’t engage with your account. Some aren’t real people at all, merely bots. They certainly won’t make future Customers. These people – whether they are real or fake Accounts – will not spend any money on your products or services. They will not refer people to you. They are of no value to you at all.
Look back at those goals you set in Step 1. There is little point having SM followers who can’t help you work towards meeting your goals. In most situations, you want your SM followers to be of a similar type to your intended Customers.
4. Understand your Social Media audience
Not all Social Media audiences are alike. Different types of people use SM in varying ways. If you’re going to meet your goals, you need to be using the same SM networks as your Target audience. Similarly, if you intend to engage in Influencer Marketing, you need to ensure that you engage Influencers whose audience matches your Target market. If your business Targets people aged 25 to 34, they make 29.7% of Facebook users, and are their most common age. What are the-most-popular-SM-sites-in-America-do-we-have-data-to-support-it. Look at your SMM goals you have previously set. Which Social channels will best help you meet those goals? To be successful at doing this, you need to have a solid understanding of your Customer base. If you have ever established personas for your ideal Customers, now is the time to dust them off. What do your Customers like, want or need, and how do they spend their time on the Internet? What-are-the-most-popular-Social-Media-sites-in-America-do-we-have-data-to-support-it? The better you can understand the demographics & psychographics of your Target market, the better you will be at reaching them on your Social channels.
5. Select the right SM Networks for your Audience
Some people worry about how they are going to find the time & energy to operate Accounts on every SM network. In most cases, you don’t need to. You simply need to find the right SM networks for your business. You want to discover the SM networks where your intended audience spends their time. You may have to carry out some research first to discover where your intended audience hangs out. This shouldn’t be too difficult – particularly if you know your Customers. If you don’t already understand this, you could Survey them, asking them for their preferred SM Accounts. You could start with your audience’s most preferred network, then widen to include others – where a sufficiently large number operates active SM Accounts. You generally wouldn’t need to go further than three to five SM networks, however. We are taking a reasonably broad definition of SM networks here. Obviously, you include well-known ones like Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter in your considerations. You could also look at video platforms like YouTube & TikTok – if your Target audience uses them in large numbers. In some cases, live streaming apps like Twitch might be suitable for your audience, too. Pew Research has collected valuable data on the use of different online platforms by demographic groups (for US adults) that may be of value to you in deciding the best SM networks for your audience – if you don’t mind the odor. LoL
5a.Don’t waste time on SM Networks your Audience don’t use
If a sufficiently large proportion of your Target audience spends time on a certain SM network, you want to be there too. If they have little interest in a platform, you can give it a miss, and not waste your time or resources there. There is another factor that you should consider to make your life easier. Many businesses find it easier to use some form of SM Marketing platform to help them schedule posts in one place – in bulk. Therefore you may prefer to align your SM networks you use, with those catered for by your preferred SMM platform. This is perhaps less relevant for the video-sharing platforms, such as YouTube – which don’t use content feeds & work more on channels of content, + live-streaming platforms such as Twitch, where you effectively operate a live channel. You might also consider whether you want a single company-wide account on a SM network, or whether you want multiple Accounts, each targeted at a niche audience. For example, you might have several Twitter Accounts, each with a clear focus. If you have plenty of resources, you could also set up several YouTube channels, each with their own niche audience.
6. Investigate how your Competitors use SM
Most firms don’t operate in stealth mode. You will usually have competitors who will also run a SM strategy. You will definitely need to know what they are doing. What is their focus? Whom are they Targeting? What key phrases are they trying to dominate? You can quickly conduct a Competitor analysis to help you better understand their strengths & weaknesses. This should give you a better understanding of what potential Customers expect from businesses in your industry. You might spot your competitors’ weak SM areas and be able to exploit the gaps. For instance, one of your competitors might be influential on Twitter, but have a weak Facebook presence, despite your Target market using that network. In that case, it may pay you to put more resources into Facebook rather than competing head to head-on with Twitter. You could use a tool like Buzzsumo to spy on your competitors and discover their most successful SM pieces of content. Once you know what types of content are good for them – on which Social networks – you can produce & share similar, but better, material.
7. Establish a realistic SM Budget
Let’s be realistic. No business should merely robotisize its SM Accounts. SMM is as viable a form of Marketing as any other Marketing type for most companies, and you should be prepared to allocate your budget accordingly. You can’t expect SM success – if you simply tag it onto the pre-existing list of duties your existing office staff performs. On the other hand, you shouldn’t spend more time or $$$ on your SM activities than you can realistically earn in increased sales, or at least in Brand recognition & awareness – if that is more where your goals lie. As with any form of Marketing, you should calculate a Return on Investment (ROI) from your SM expenditure – bearing in mind the goals you set earlier in your strategy. As you go about setting a SM budget, you should consider how much you intend to spend on all your digital Marketing – across all channels. Then ask yourself: “How much of that budget am I prepared to devote to SM? WebStrategies has done some basic research for a typical company and discovered that most companies spend about 5% – 15% of their annual revenue on Marketing. Of that, most spend 35% to 45% on digital Marketing activities. In turn, most companies spend 15% to 25% of their digital Marketing budget on SMM efforts (organic & paid).
8. Plan the Types of Content you intend to Share
Of course, to be successful on SM, you will need high-quality content to share. One of the biggest mistakes that businesses do is to share excessive promotional material. Remember, Social networks are designed to be Social. They were never intended to be a marketplace for you to sell your products. Therefore, you need to balance the content you share Socially, to be a mixture of informative & entertaining items, with a small % of promotional material added in. You will also need to like and share other peoples’ content. This is probably the most significant reason that most Influencers gain that status. They know their audience well and create the perfect content to interest their followers. As a brand, you need to do the same. If you have previously determined your goals and discovered what works (& what doesn’t) for your competition, you should have a reasonable idea of the type of content that will resonate with your Target audience. There is little point in creating content for other types of people who will never help you meet your Sales goals.
8a. Be Realistic about what you can do
You need to understand any limitations you may face when creating content. For example, you might want to run a great YouTube channel, but if you don’t have the equipment, people, knowledge, & time to create high-quality videos, it is pointless going down that track. You don’t want a YouTube channel with just one or two poorly-filmed videos of talking heads. Likewise, there is little value in planning to make live video streams if you don’t have anybody who feels comfortable presenting in front of the camera in a live broadcast. You need to balance the types of content that your Target audience most enjoy, with the material that you feel best equipped & most comfortable making.
8b. Don’t Mix you Personal Tastes with those of your Target Audience
The odds are that you, or the person running your business Social account, will also run personal Social Accounts. You must distinguish between these two types of Accounts. Just because you like to make a particular type of post on your own Accounts, does not mean that those posts will work on the company Accounts. You presumably post about things that interest you. However, when operating the business account, you need to think solely about the tastes of your Target audience. You want to make posts that will interest, entertain, & educate them. You should probably write down your Niche topics. This is particularly important when you organize content. For example, you should even restrict the Tweets you reTweet to those that relate to your Niche topics.
9. Set Up your Accounts properly before you Make & Promote Content
It is vital that you set your Accounts up correctly. You will want a consistent visual look across all of your Social channels. Use the correct colors, logos, & similar graphics on each network. Don’t waste any of your Social real estate. Take the time to fill in your Bios & Profiles fully. Make sure that you link to relevant places – perhaps even create specific Landing pages on your Website for people who click through from your SM Accounts. It is worth taking the time to ensure that you have uploaded all the images on your Bios & Profiles at the best resolution for the Social network. Keep in mind your Target audience as you set up each account. Ask yourself whether your page will interest these people – based on what you show on your Bios or Profiles.
10. Establish the Best Times to Post and Set Up a Content Calendar
While you could manually make all of your Social posts, that is inefficient, and may not lead to the best results. Most of the SM networks now use some form of algorithm to filter the results they give people. This means that if you post at a different time to when your Target audience is online, they may never see your content. Ideally, you will want to use one of the SMM scheduling tools so you can set up & organize multiple posts at the same time. We have reviewed many Social Media Marketing (SMM) platforms. You’re sure to find that at least one of these will make your life easier. You can also see our post on the leading Social Media scheduling tools to use. There are differing opinions over the number of posts you should make on each network each day, and the best times to make them. We have previously written posts giving the best times to post on Instagram, Facebook, & TikTok.
11. Create appropriate Content to Share with your Followers
There are four questions you should ask yourself when creating content:
- What is the optimal character count per SM channel?
- What is the number of Hashtags for messages on each channel?
- Should I be using Emoji in my Social Media messages?
- What is the best content type for each channel?
Don’t forget the importance of Images & Videos. Visual content is more than 40 X more likely to be shared on SM than other types of content. Instagram has rapidly grown in importance over the last few years, because it has a significant Visual focus. Top brands on Instagram report a per-follower Engagement rate of 42.1%. That is 58 X higher than on Facebook & 120 X higher than on Twitter. Each year, Video Content appears to increase in popularity, too. According to YouTube, mobile Video consumption grows by 100% every year. 64% of Customers say they are more likely to buy a product online – after watching a Video about it.
11a. Create Diverse Content
While you want your Content to have a general look – particularly within individual Social campaigns – you don’t want all your Social content to look the same. People respond best to variety in their Social feeds. Depending on the Social network, they like a mix of enticing imagery, entertaining videos, & even some compelling text copy. Of course, some Social networks only allow you one or two of these content types, but you can still alter the mix of posts within a medium. When somebody goes to your Instagram profile, reads your Bio, and sees your posts together, they want some variety, without everything being so different that it looks disjointed.
11b. Customize your Content for each Social Network
It’s important to remember that not every Social channel is identical. Ideally, you should customize your content for each network.
Twitter comes with a self-imposed limitation – you can’t write more than 280 characters in a Tweet. So your message needs to be short and to the point. You can include Links in Tweets & Hashtags (but no more than 1 or 2). Tweets with images perform far better than those without.
Facebook posts can be longer than Tweets, but don’t make them excessively so. People can be easily turned off by too much Text. It is always a good idea to include some personal comments, even if you are simply sharing your best content. Short videos perform well on Facebook. Add an Image or Video with every Facebook post, but relate them to your Text. Link posts often perform well on Facebook
Instagram is an image-based Social network, so you need to share interesting, relevant photos, or short videos. You can combine these to tell a Story, which has the advantage of sitting at the top of people’s feeds, rather than being lost in regular posts.
Pinterest is also very image-focused. Indeed, people Pin images on themed boards. So you need to focus your Pinterest content around a pinnable picture. Pinterest can be perfect for creatively showcasing products, particularly if you have a predominantly female Target audience.
LinkedIn is a professional people network, so you need to ensure that all the posts you share there are suitable for such an audience. People often read posts on LinkedIn hoping to educate themselves, particularly anything that can help further their careers.
YouTube is, of course, renowned as the home of medium to long-form Video. You set up a channel and post videos to it – preferably following an overall theme. You need something to set you apart from all the other YouTube channels. You should aim to post at least 1 Video/week, so your audience knows they can expect new videos consistently. You should generally avoid simply uploading your existing TV Ads. Aim to make & upload well-made, high-quality Videos. One way to avoid making Videos that look too obviously like Ads is to make interesting Videos that incorporate your products.
TikTok is beloved by Generation Z and, to a lesser extent, Millennials. If they’re your Target market, then you should be making short-form Videos for that platform. Videos on TikTok can be of any length up to 60 seconds, although most are around 15 seconds. Trends are significant to TikTok’s audiences, so take note of the latest trends, then try to make & share a quick Video – following the trend as soon as you notice it. As with YouTube, it’s vital you choose a niche for your TikTok videos that is likely to interest your Target audience. With TikTok videos being short, you need to post often to keep the attention of your viewers.
12. Promote your Social Media Channels
Although good content will ultimately sell your Social channels, you still need to gain your initial following. People have to find your channels before they can choose to follow you. You can promote your channels in various ways, some highly visible, others more subtly. You should place buttons for all your Social Accounts at various places on your Website – on your Home page, in your Footer, on your About & Communications pages, for example. If you have an Email list, you should include a reference to your Social channels in any Emails & Newsletters you send. You can easily add Links to your Social channels in the footer of every Email. Of course, you can also promote your Social channels offline. Many firms cross-promote their Social channels. For example, you can make Tweets promoting your YouTube channel. You might notice that most YouTube channels list the channel owner’s other Social Accounts on their profile page. You can even run Ads on your Social channels, with a highly Targeted audience, to build brand recognition and increase your Social followers.
13. Engage with your Social Media Audiences
People don’t just go onto SM networks to read, look at, or watch content. They go online to interact with other people and to be Social. Successful businesses do not just broadcast to their Social audiences. They engage with them too. This is why you should not attempt to cover every SM network – unless you have a very diverse Target market and an army of personnel dedicated to this task. By focusing your attention on the SM networks that your Target market frequents, you can use your resources most efficiently. Some firms have found it very useful to create custom Hashtags (ie, #Just do it !!! ). Not only can these encourage discussions & sharing, but they also make it easier for you to search for posts that reference your business. Ideally, you should respond to all SM mentions of your business and demonstrate that Customer care is a priority for you.
14. Build a Community for your SM Audience
One of the best ways of engaging with your audience is to create a clear community for them. You want to be one of their “go-to” places each day. A crucial part of this is establishing a personality online. You want to ensure that your business comes across as having heart & soul, so people don’t see you as a faceless corporation. Try and make your posts interactive and involve your audience. Make a point of asking them for an opinion. You could perhaps include quizzes & questions to collect your followers’ views. Whatever you do, make sure your posts are interesting & newsworthy. Don’t simply regurgitate (yuk) your advertisements. You want your followers to return to your posts regularly, so they must find them of value. One thing you need to give some thought to is who you use to run your SM channels. Ideally, they should be employees who match the SM demographics of your Target audience. Depending on your Target audience’s SM platforms of choice, you could join and/or create relevant groups. Facebook Groups are ideal for B2C businesses; consider LinkedIn – if your focus is more B2B. You could create a group on one of these platforms to inspire your audience.
15. Consider “Paid” Promotion to Boost your Audiences
Most SM networks allow you to buy some form of Paid ads. Most will enable you to demographically target your ads, making them only visible to your preferred Target audience. Paid promotions allow you to reach relevant audiences to whom you don’t currently connect. You can use advertisements to build Brand recognition, promote particular Posts\Videos, or even to sell products.
16. Consider working with Influencers to widen your Reach
We obviously understand the advantages of working with Influencers and engaging in Influencer Marketing. If you select the right Influencers, you have the chance to reach a whole new audience – who hopefully will have an interest in your business and its products or services. Influencers have already mastered the art of SMM. That is their strength. They have built a solid reputation online, and have a large number of keen & interested followers. You might consider working with Influencers – having them to direct their followers to your Social sites. You will, of course, have to create content that will interest them when they arrive at your pages. If you select Influencers whose followers match your Target audience, and you provide quality content to people that the Influencers direct your way, you have a chance that these people will then become your SM followers too.
17. Consider working with Brand Advocates
You might already have access to sharp & eager people who are happy to promote your brand on Social Media. You can include these Brand advocates in your SM strategy. They may not have the same reach as the top Influencers in your niche, but some will already have sizeable audiences & solid reputations, and you have the added advantage that they already know and like your product. Brand advocacy simply means that the people who love your product or services continue to show loyalty & support for your brand by promoting your business to new audiences. Your Brand advocates can play a significant role in “word-of-mouth” Marketing and drive new business – by being enthusiastic fans of what your company does. Brand advocates can include your executive leadership, company partners, employees, friends & family + existing Customers.
18. Consider using Chatbots as part of Your SMM Strategy
If you use messenger-type Apps, such as Messenger or WhatsApp, with your followers, then you could consider adding a Chatbot. These can help you resolve problems for your potential or existing Customers without the need for any human interruption. SocialBee says: “the greatest benefit may actually be the fact that a Chatbot will provide your Customers with a smart Assistant with the ability to communicate with them almost like a Human Consultant and it will progressively begin to get to know your Customers and which of your products they are interested in.” If the thought of using a Chatbot intimidates you, you don’t need any coding skills or have to pay a costly development team. There are several existing Chatbots you can integrate into your Social channels for a small monthly fee.
19. Run Cross-Channel Campaigns
Many businesses now have more than one SM account and tie them together with cross-channel campaigns. You can even include your Influencers & Brand advocates in these campaigns too. Of course, if you sell multiple products or services – targeting different groups of people – you might have quite a few business SM accounts. That doesn’t mean that you need to include every SM account in every campaign. Focus on those Accounts that match the Target audience for a specific campaign. Every SM network has its quirks and ways of doing things. For instance, Hashtags began on Twitter. They’re still important there, but you shouldn’t use more than one or two per Tweet. That network also has a fixed limit of 280 characters. Instagram seems even more beloved of the Hashtags, (ie, #Just do it !!!) and you can use up to 30 Hashtags in an Instagram post. They don’t like you using the same combination of Hashtags in too many posts, however. On the other hand, while some people use Hashtags on Facebook, they have never taken off there in the same way they have on Instagram, Twitter, or even TikTok. So, you can’t just use the same items of content – unaltered – on all your Social networks in a cross–channel campaign. You need to think of a cross-channel campaign as one fascinating story you tell across all your Social Accounts without repeating yourself. You want to tell a connected, cohesive story that does not feel repetitive to your audience, particularly to those who follow you – your Influencers & Brand advocates across multiple Social networks. One way to do this is to share only the content types that each network specializes in for your campaign. For example, you would only share Images relating to your campaign on Instagram, Videos of no more than a few minutes duration on YouTube, short videos on TikTok, & short, sharp 280-character Tweets on Twitter (but always include a suitable Visual.) You will, of course, wish to use consistent branding across all the messages on all your SM networks for your cross–channel campaign. Ideally, you might create an overall Landing page giving more details about your campaign and linking all your messages there. Remember to create a unique, memorable Hashtag for these campaigns (and even encourage people to use it on those networks with less Hashtag interest, like Facebook.)
20. Track your Results and Adapt accordingly
Of course, no matter how much you plan your SM efforts, there is no guarantee that things will work as you expected. If you don’t Track your results, however, you will never know the success of your SMM campaigns. You began the process by setting Goals, then determine your most relevant metrics. Therefore, you will want to keep a constant eye on how these metrics are progressing. Are your SMM campaigns having the desired effects on these metrics?
We have previously looked at 15 Instagram Analytics Tools for Influencers. Some of these also provide metrics for other SM platforms. Many of the SM networks offer their own analytics tools that will provide much of the necessary data. For example, you will find an Insights section for your Facebook page + Analytics sections on Twitter & YouTube. Use these tools to track your success. If they show that you are producing popular, well-shared content, create more of that type. If your content doesn’t perform so well, take note of what does work, and adapt your SM sharing to focus on the kind of material your followers prefer. You could also consider surveying your Social audience to discover what they think of your SM strategy. Your followers may come up with valuable ideas that you hadn’t thought about. Don’t be afraid to make changes – if there is a chance that you can further improve your Social success.
Comments: Do you know any other Steps to take in your SMM campaigns?
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