Social media marketing has the potential to help scale a business of any size provided it is done effectively and targets the right audience. Plus, with the right know-how and strategy, this type of promotion can be very affordable.
Social media is a vital marketing channel for businesses of all sizes. The common question a few years ago, “why should our business use social media?”, is now being replaced with, “how can our business grow with social media marketing?”.
As a social media marketer, this makes me very excited. What doesn’t make me excited is how many businesses are still trying to market on social media without a documented strategy. Here, you will learn the top ten steps to achieving effective social media marketing:
1. Learn how it works
The first step to being successful with social media is to learn the basics of how it works. There are plenty of paid courses and free content online that can be used to educate yourself. Also, it is practical to learn how this marketing strategy can benefit your specific industry. While the basics of social media are quite similar for most businesses, it is more useful to use a particular strategy that helps to capture the attention of your user base. It is best to learn the basics of using free resources and content, and then learn the techniques that target your specific objectives and goals.
2. Document who your ideal customer is
The different social media sites can make a great platform to interact with customers and use it is a place to give advice and support. More and more customers are using these sites to give their opinions or voice their complaints. It is useful to be active and give helpful and thoughtful replies. Also, it is possible to learn valuable information about your product or service by merely listening to your audience.
You will want to get as specific as possible with this part. For example, if you identified your target market as parents, it would be ok. However, if you identify your ideal customer as a parent that lives in the United States, is between 30 and 50 years of age, earns over $70,000, primarily uses Facebook and has an interest in outdoor activities you will have much more success.
3. Audit your current social presence
Before you strategize about where you are headed, take a quick look at where you are. A few areas to consider when auditing your business’s social media presence are:
- Which networks are you currently active on
- Are your networks optimized (photo and cover images, bio, URL, etc.)
- Which networks are currently bringing you the most value
- How do your profiles compare to your competitors’ profiles
4. Use automation for efficiency
The use of automation software tools can increase efficiency when it comes to pushing out the useful and helpful content to the different sites. But, avoid sending out a lot of promotional content throughout the day because this is more likely to lose followers. Social media is best used to provide valuable information and communicate with your audience. The slow and steady approach is very effective at converting your followers into buying customers. Also, with the software tool taking care of the schedule posts, you have more time to engage and reply to messages left by followers.
5. Avoid spreading yourself too thin
For the new business venture, it is usually best to start social media marketing using two or three of the leading platforms. Use the sites that are most likely to attract your target audience. While it may be tempting to sign up to every site when starting out, this is rarely a useful option. After growing an active following on the first few sites, you can slowly expand to other sites to reach a wider audience.
6. Create a social media mission statement
Your social media mission statement will drive your future actions, so make sure you put some thought into it. This statement will make it clear exactly what you plan to use your social media presence for and should reflect your brand identity. Keep in mind your ideal customer when trying to create this statement.
An example mission statement might be “to use social media to educate current and potential customers about digital marketing, with a focus on social media marketing.” Once you have this statement documented, it will make it simple for you to decide what to share and create.
7. Identify key success metrics
How will you determine if your social media marketing efforts are successful? I am not just talking about gaining more followers; I am talking about making money. Afterall, it is hard to rationalize spending time and money on something that isn’t improving the bottom line.
A few metrics to consider measuring are:
- Conversion Rate
- Time Spent on Website
- Brand Mentions
- Total Shares
8. A track, Analyze, Optimize
This may be the most critical step when it comes to succeeding on social media. Even the best social media marketers rely on trial and error. It might seem necessary, but tracking your results, analyzing the data and then making tweaks to optimize them is crucial.
Each previous step should be re-evaluated after you have had time to analyze the results of your marketing efforts. Let the data drive you. If it is telling you Facebook or Twitter is your most effective channel, consider doubling down.
9. Invest in a social media management tool
Most marketers have a secret; they leverage tools to boost their productivity. Ok, maybe it isn’t a secret, but without tools, marketers would face constant burnout (many do even with tools). When it comes to social media, having a social media management tool allows you to scale your efforts with ease.
One of the main benefits of a social media management tool is the ability to schedule posts ahead of time. Remember that content calendar you created? Make sure your scheduled posts in your social media management tool align with your content calendar.
10. Create and curate engaging content
Sadly, many businesses jump straight to this step. Hopefully, this post has made it clear that there are several vital steps that you must take before you start creating and curating engaging content to share on your social media channels.
Let’s now discuss the fun part, posting to social media. You know who your ideal customer is and you used that information to create your social media mission statement. Armed with this information, it should be easy for you to begin creating and curating content. So, what exactly is considered content? Here are a few examples of content you could create:
- Blog Posts
- Company News
The list of content ideas goes on and on, but make sure you focus only on forms of content that align with your mission statement, as well as your skill set. Content is what fuels social media, so it is crucial that you consider creating high quality, engaging content as a top priority.
I strongly recommend that you create a content calendar that outlines how often you will post to each network, which topics you will share and when you will share them.
A grand social media strategy is never set in sand. It is a continuous work in progress that changes when necessary. So get out there, create a strategy and start optimizing it as you continue to grow and learn more about your business and your audience.