Have you recently evaluated your company’s marketing strategy and thought about getting started on social media marketing? Or, are you currently doing social media marketing and it’s not as successful as you planned? Don’t worry! Social media marketing is an inexpensive, but extremely effective, way to get your brand’s name out there. Whether you do it in-house or hire an agency to handle your internet marketing strategies, our guide to social media marketing includes pointers on where to start or reevaluate your current strategy! #Letsdothis
Getting Started on Social Media
If you are ready to start social media marketing for your business, make sure you create a social media marketing strategy guide. A social strategy guide will keep you in line with your business goals and brand voice. Ask yourself these five questions to ensure you create a thorough strategy:
- Who will be my target audience? Who is my current audience and who am I trying to appeal to? Knowing who you’re talking to is important when crafting your social posts.
- What will my message be? What information do I want to share with my audiences?
- What is my competition doing? What are they successful at? Start off by creating an audit of what you are doing and what your competitors are doing. This is an easy way to evaluate what is working on your competitors’ profiles and what is not. Make note of the types of content or keywords that people are engaging with most often.
- Do I have time to keep up with social media for my business? It’s important to make sure you are posting on a consistent basis. The moment you stop posting at the usual frequency your audience will notice.
- What are my social media goals? What does successful social media look like to me?
1. Figuring out your Audience
This is a big step in your planning process. Knowing the persona of your target audience and the “voice” you’ll use to speak to them will make it easier to craft social media posts in the future. A quick way to start analyzing your current audience is by diving into your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram insights, where you can gain an understanding the demographics of your social media followers – age, sex, geography.
From there, let’s dig a little deeper into your target users and begin developing different personas, beyond just basic demographics. Give your user a personality. This will help you gain a better understanding of how they live, and how they relax. Ask yourself a few questions and try to create a complete picture of your social media followers.
- What is her job? What does that position look like in her company?
- What does his family look like? Is he single? Married? Have kids?
- What does her daily routine look like?
- What are her hobbies?
- What websites does he visit frequently? Which influencers does he follow?
Not all social media platforms have the same demographics, so try to identify the differences in audience members amongst the platforms you utilize.
The more you know about your audience, the better your chances of engaging them and getting them to consider your brand as their friend.
2. Plug Into the Right Platforms
There are dozens of social media outlets out there, and each appeals to a certain demographic of people with certain interests. When you’re just getting started on social media, it’s important to know which outlet to use to draw in your intended audience.
Facebook: More people use Facebook than any other social media outlet. Everyone is on Facebook and they’re there all the time. Use Facebook to reach a broad audience with an array of different media.
Twitter: The “short and sweet” of the social media realm, use Twitter when you have many updates that are time-sensitive. It’s also an important place to be when you need to be part of the conversation about your brand and monitor mentions.
Instagram: This is a great social media platform for building brand awareness, especially if you have top quality images and videos.
Pinterest: When you want to reach women in the 18-49 age range, you can’t go wrong with Pinterest, especially if your brand is involved in a DIY, fashion, home decor, food or travel industry. “Pretty up” some visual content and start pinning!
LinkedIn: It’s all business, baby. Utilize LinkedIn for posting career opportunities and impressive stats on your company. In addition to business having a presence on LinkedIn, your employees should have a personal presence as well.
3. Plan, Plan & Plan!
Once you get a better understanding of your audience and where you’ll go to reach them, you will need to figure out how many posts you’ll create each week and each month to keep them engaged with your brand.
Start building your social content calendar by Identifying important dates and events within your company or industry or new product/service launches to plan content around. Start pulling this information on a yearly basis and then break it down by month.
Remember, always post QUALITY over QUANTITY! Ask yourself these five questions whenever you are writing or designing a new post:
- Would I engage with that post if I saw it in my news feed?
- Did I ask for or encourage action (like, share, comment)?
- If there’s a photo, would you want to share it if you saw it in your news feed?
- Does this post truly add value to my audience?
- Does this post educate, entertain or empower?
In addition to posting on your social media channels, you should also have an action plan for when you will respond and engage with your audience. We like to schedule 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon to review our social media accounts and respond to any questions or comments.
4. Build up your Content
After determining how often you will interact with your social media audience, build that content!
You’ll want your social media content to have the same voice (and we don’t just mean the words you use but the images you share as well!) Create a mood board and fill it with social media images, videos, and campaigns that inspire you, as well as with examples of what your competitors are doing with their social media. When you create your own brand style it helps your posts stand out as uniquely “yours.” The goal is for your audience to recognize one of your social posts without ever seeing your name. Select a specific color palette, photo filter, or font to use in each of your posts.
We think original photography is always the best option, but there is a large variety of amazing, free stock photography sites to pull from as well. Ensure that whatever photo you choose still looks and feels natural and fits the social style guide you created.
Finally, utilize other team members to help craft great content. Recruit your content writers to help craft catchy copy and SEO members to help you pick out relevant and trending keywords.
What Are You Waiting For?
Now that you have your strategy and content plan in place, and you’ve fit your team members into the social media marketing puzzle, it’s time to start posting! We suggest doing the following to help your social media profile GROW!
Brainstorm with your team to develop a list of possible hashtags that you and your audience can use to engage within your community. Hashtags will help you quickly identify what your followers are posting about your company. Here are a few tips when picking the perfect hashtag.
Do your Homework: Make sure you do your homework first. Complete an interactive search on what hashtags your followers are using. Make sure that potential hashtags do not have any negative uses.
#KISS- Keep it Simple, Stupid: When choosing a hashtag, try to keep it simple and to the point. The worst thing that could happen is using a complicated hashtag that your followers keep misspelling or misusing. Include simple words with your company’s name.
Be #YOUnique: Show off your brand’s personality! Use hashtags to help develop your brand’s profile. For example, for our own social media accounts, we showcase what goes on behind the scenes by using #TeamTower. Here are some brands to spark inspiration.
There is a common misconception that social media is simply photography. We like to include different types of content, including infographics, checklists, and more importantly videos! Here are some tools to help you elevate your visual content:
Canva: We preach about Canva! This free service allows you to turn simple announcements into to beautiful images. There are several templates, created by real designers, for you to utilize, or you can create your own custom designs. If you decide to upgrade to Canva At Work, you can even create and utilize animations.
Videorama: At Tower, we’ve created our own video series through Videorama and have found it simple, efficient and stress-free to use (Free Advice Friday — check it out).
Photo Editing Apps: Use Whitagram or A Color Story to help your brand find a signature filter or color.
Boomerang: Don’t forget about Boomerang! This is an Instagram-made app, but it’s so popular and really elevates your content.
Here are a few other visual content tools you can experiment with.
Social Media Engagement
Your followers want to say “Hi!” so say “Hi” back! Your audience wants to be involved with your brand and be recognized. This all comes back to customer service. Here are important factors to keep in mind when monitoring your social media audience:
Social Listening (Listen & Interact): Reach out to your customers first. Pose engaging questions to see how they like or how they interact with your product, then retweet or shout-out to your customers. You can turn a first-time user into a loyal customer with a simple mention on social media!
Don’t Self-promote, Promote Others: Create social media content that doesn’t necessarily put your brand at the forefront. Instead, focus on the commonalities between your audience and your brand.
Customer Service First: Manage customer concerns by responding in a timely manner. Most people are looking for instant gratification and they want their questions answered immediately. The faster you respond with useful information, the more likely the customer will respond favorably. And, don’t forget to thank your customers whether when they provide a positive (or constructive) comment.
Partner with Influencers: Relationship building is extremely valuable when it comes to social media marketing. However, social media not only lets businesses connect with their clients to strengthen their relationships, but it also lets brands connect with industry icons and professionals. By connecting with these industry key players, also known as social media influencers, your marketing message can reach more people and your brand can continue to build more trust and recognition through these brand advocates.
How Successful Were You?
After everything is done, and you feel a sense of accomplishment, what will you deem as a successful social media strategy? Below are a few examples of how you can measure your social media success:
Engagement: Engagement includes likes, shares, comments, and reactions. Increase engagement by posting more questions and opportunities for interactions. We like to ask questions such as, “What are you doing this weekend?” or “Comment below with a picture of your vegetable garden (the best book you’ve read, your favorite flavor, etc.)”
Social Referral Traffic: If you are selling a product or service, you most surely want to bring customers to your site. We suggest adding a link at the bottom of your posts, with simple calls-to-action such as, “Shop now” or “Order yours here.”
Lead Generation: If your business is looking for more leads to keep your sales team moving, you might want to consider creating a specific landing page on your website where you can capture potential leads. This landing page should include information that visitors will respond to and some kind of conversion to track (a form, a downloadable, etc.).
Social Media Mistakes to Avoid
Before you get in too deep with social media strategizing, check out these common mistakes that many people stumble over when getting started on social media.
Neglecting A Social Strategy: You made a strategy for a reason, so use it! The worst thing you can do is start neglecting the guidelines you put in place. Inconsistent posting or losing sight of your audience can quickly ruin your strategy.
Ignoring Your Audience: If your customers have questions or a concern, answer them! Ignoring your customers could turn a loyal shopper into a stranger. Creating good customer service will keep your customers happy and lead them to recommend you to their friends. Not answering their questions or concerns could lead to backlash and/ or a negative image of your brand.
Sending Unrelated Content to Your Audience: You might be tempted to share a funny video on your timeline, but you might want to think twice. Funny and viral videos get many likes and shares, but it could turn your following into the wrong target audience. Make sure to share relevant information and articles to your audience.
Avoid Being to Sales-y: Stay away from too many sales-oriented posts. If your company’s entire social media timeline features “Buy this!” or Buy that!” you can lose followers. We recommend the 80/20 rule: 20% of your posts promoting sales, discounts, etc, and 80% including more conversational posts. Try to mix it up by featuring customer shout-outs, articles related to your products/services/industry, or testimonials. Customers also love day-in-the-life peeks at how your company operates.