Social media marketing can be the best tool in your entire marketing toolbox. Small businesses to major corporations utilize social media to reach prospective and current customers. Your prospects and your customers already use social media to interact with other brands, so if you aren’t using these ready-made marketing platforms to talk to your audience, you’re really missing out. Fantastic social media marketing can bring you tremendous success, create advocates devoted to your brand, and even drive sales and prospects.
Marketing on social media means using the platforms where your audience is already connecting. This can build awareness for your brand, drive traffic to your website, and increase your sales. To succeed in social media marketing, though, you have to publish incredible content, actively listen to and engage with your followers, run ads on your accounts, and analyze your results.
Rising platforms today include:
And they join the heavy-hitters:
The rise of these platforms from a marketing perspective has also increased the need for tools that help you manage your social media presence. Whether you’re just starting out and building your brand’s awareness or you want to grow your current business, social media management tools can help you succeed.
A little back story.
Social media began as a place where people shared the juicy tidbits of their daily lives. As businesses began to recognize platforms as the perfect place for them to share their brand stories and other relatable content, social media became the first place they turned to for publishing purposes. Businesses shared content in an effort to generate website traffic and hopefully increase their sales. As the idea matured, businesses realized they could do much more than just share brand stories.
There are several ways businesses use social media today. For instance, if a business is concerned about brand chatter, they might use active social listening tools to monitor conversations and mentions. Or say a business wants to know overall about its social media performance, it might analyze various aspects such as organic and paid reach, overall brand engagement, or sales via the social platform with various analytics tools. Social media is also great for businesses that want to target a specific audience – they can narrow their reach with various criteria.
Altogether, these methods are referred to as social media management.
Social Media Marketing’s 8 Core Aspects
No social media marketing plan is complete without these eight core tenets:
- Strategy – Choose which social media platforms are best for your type of business and what tools you’ll employ to monitor performance. Set goals. Decide how you’ll monitor goal achievement or stagnation.
- Planning – How will you put your considered approaches into action? What types of content will you use? Who will produce that content? When and where will you publish that content?
- Publishing – Using your content calendar, publish your content to the social platforms each piece was created for. For instance, images of your products or services are perfect for Instagram and Snapchat, whereas major thought leadership pieces are best for sites like LinkedIn.
- Listening – Using the tools you chose, listen for brand mentions, compliments, and complaints.
- Engagement – Depending on the type of engagement, respond appropriately, and timely.
- Analytics – Once you’ve got a solid amount of data, use the social media analytics tool you chose to see which platforms are performing best considering things such as which ones provide the most sales, where your customers are most outspoken – in compliments and complaints, and which platforms could use a bit more massaging in terms of engagement. Sometimes, it’s the analytics portion of your strategy that may slow you down. Partnering with a marketing analytics consultant can help you understand the plethora of data you’re producing.
- Reporting – Use your results to draft reports that highlight the above information in an easy-to-digest format so that everyone is on the same page cross-departmentally.
- Advertising – Using the information from reporting, decide which platforms could use a more tailored ad campaign and which ones might be floundering, and why.
In total, the above can help you harness the power of social media marketing.
How Can Social Media Marketing Help You Meet Marketing Goals?
Marketing on social media can help you achieve many marketing goals depending on how you use each platform. For instance, if your brand is strictly e-commerce or otherwise highly visible, social platforms like Instagram could bring a lot of value to your overall marketing strategy. If you’re not quite as visible, such as a B2B company, Twitter and LinkedIn are better choices.
Regardless of the type of business, you can meet a lot of goals through social media marketing, such as:
- Increase traffic to your site
- Convert from leads to sales
- Raise brand awareness
- Create brand identity
- Create positive associations and build trust
- Improve your communications with your target audiences
Bottom line, a larger, more engaged audience through social media marketing means achieving other goals within your overall marketing strategy.
Building a Solid Strategy for Social Media Marketing
While even some of the best-laid plans can falter, there’s nothing worse than not having a plan at all. Succinctly strategizing your goals gives you a sense of purpose that will make tackling them a breeze. But what’s the best way to create a meaningful strategy?
These steps can guide you through identifying your goals for social media, audience engagement, and overall marketing optimization:
- Research your key audiences
- Set goals that mean something to your bottom line
- Decide which metrics are essential, such as reach, engagement, sentiment, or hashtag performance.
- Analyze what your competitors are doing
- Curate or create content that engages your key audiences
- Ensure timely responses to all engagements
- Analyze results and decide where optimizations can be made
- Continuously communicate with your teams, and this means everything from goals to wins and especially challenges
Collaboration is one of the most important aspects of the entire social media marketing game. Marketing teams are expected to report results, such as ROI, to the C-suite. This isn’t a bad thing – it helps keep all team members on the same page while holding teams accountable.
Just as social media continues to evolve, marketing teams need to continue to up their game. Staying up-to-date on all the latest changes will help you optimize your strategies for social media success.