What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing incorporates social media platforms and websites to promote products and services, allowing organizations to communicate directly with customers and vice-versa. Social media is ever important in the changing landscape of consumer engagement. 93% of marketers use social media for business. Industries spread from startups to e-commerce businesses, to nonprofits and banks to retailers — all have at least one social media strategy in their marketing.
Social media marketing is done on platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+, Linkedin, and much more. This form of marketing is integrated with an overall marketing plan to achieve business goals.
How to Build a Social Media Strategy
1. Set Goals
Set clear goals for your organization. Goals should encompass all aspects of social media. Keep the target community in mind. If the product has a niche market, a goal could be to research and appeal to that specific market. Goals should realistic while incorporating company values. By creating SMART goals, you will be able to measure and monitor the success of a campaign.
How to Create SMART Social Media Goals
- The goal needs to be clear and easily understood by all that will be working to achieve it.
- To focus your efforts, set two to three goals per social network.
- Who is involved, What do I want to accomplish, Where will it be done, Why am I doing this — reasons, purpose, Which constraints and/or requirements do I have?
- How am I going to track the progress and measure the outcome?
- What are the key metrics that I will be evaluating, i.e. conversion assists, website traffic from social media, number of followers, engagement metrics like mentions, shares, comments, likes, etc?
- Is the goal reasonable enough to be accomplished?
- Is it in your power to achieve it or do you need help?
- Is the goal worthwhile and will it meet your needs?
- Is each goal consistent with the other goals you have established and fits within your immediate and long-term plans?
- Your objective should include a time limit. Decided exactly when you want to achieve the goal.
- To track progress, create deadlines for actions steps to be completed.
2. Audit Competition’s Social Media
Your social media strategy needs to connect and meet the expectations of your loyal customer. Customers are social media savvy, and copying a social media tactic from another organization would be disastrous. Instead, your goals are to identify gaps in your competitor’s strategy and opportunities for your brand to more fully engage with your customers. There are four core areas to look at when auditing your competitors social media: social media presence (what channels they are using and how they present themselves), content (what are they talking about and how often), performance (how many followers, fans, subscribers) and engagement (likes, shares, comments). A thorough audit of your competitors gives you insight into what your target audience cares about and engaging with. You know what works and what doesn’t work and now you can leverage social media best practices along with competitor research to develop a strategy you know will work.
3. Determine the Best Social Media Channels for Your Business
With hundreds of social media sites, deciding on the right social media marketing channel for your business can be tricky. First focus on core understanding — who you’re trying to reach, what you’re trying to accomplish, and how you want to engage your target audience. The article, Best Social Media Channels for Your Business, guides you through a process of evaluating the different channels and our Social Media Resource Guide provides links to social media statistics, best practices and how to tips.
4. Establish Social Media Policies
One loud voice can be the end of your social media reputation. However, social media should be incorporated both internally and externally. All employees can be on social media, but it is important there is a social media policy put in place to protect both the employee and the organization. All outward communications from the organization should be handled by the marketing team, but internal social platforms can promote workplace satisfaction and productivity.
5. Develop Your Social Media Platforms
Next, develop your social media platforms, it is in the name after all. This is, arguably, the most important step. Having a strong following on social media builds credibility and reputation. Organizations can do this by both producing quality content and by responding to comments from customers.
6. Set-up Process for Monitoring and Measurement
There are many tools to help organizations enhance their social media platforms. Google Analytics provides freemium tools to enhance search engine optimization (SEO) and drive return on investment (ROI). Through Google Analytics, organizations can monitor what customers are viewing and where they are going. Further, social media managing platforms, such as Hootesuite, allows organizations to maintain all of their platforms at once, giving the organization the edge in keeping up with comments.
Every good social media marketing strategy has planned events to drive customer engagement. Events range from online giveaways to in-person conferences. The sky is the limit, and the most successful organizations are the ones that develop creative events to develop social media chatter, hint you should use hashtags.
In today’s changing technological landscape, keeping up with social media is important for organizations to communicate with customers on a personal level. Developing a social media strategy is a worthwhile investment for organizations wanting to keep up in the digital age.
Filed under: Social Media Marketing