Effective social media strategies require proper planning and execution. If you’re new to this and expect to see results from a few blog posts and random updates, you might find the whole endeavor very disappointing, not to mention extremely frustrating. Serious marketers know that in order to harness the full potential of social media one has to incorporate at least these three elements:
• Listening to your audience
• Sharing relevant messages
• Enabling the audience to share your message
So what is it that you’re supposed to share? Good content. You can’t have effective social media marketing without good content. The entire marketing plan originates from a solid content creation strategy. The good thing about useful content is that it gets people to appreciate your brand and share; and the sharing is what builds your brand.
This works whether you’re a small business or a large multinational company and it actually costs very little to set up. Ever heard that saying that goes “failing to plan is planning to fail?” It’s very true when it comes to marketing because creating a well detailed social media strategy is just as crucial as having a rock-solid business plan.
But how do you attract, engage and ideally convert fans and followers into customers? Keep reading for strategic answers to the ten most common questions business owners ask when starting a social media marketing plan.
1. What should I aim to achieve from social media?
This depends entirely on what type of business you’re in. You may want to use it to gain exposure for your brand or simply to interact with customers because it’s good for business. Remember, if you’re just winging it your audience will know and that’s not good for you or your business. Try to understand your customers’ needs and goals and find out how to connect with that. One way to do this is to find out how you can use social media to solve your customers problems.
2. Who should set up the company’s social media account?
For smaller companies it would be better to delegate the task to a staff member who has experience implementing effective social media campaigns. If your a solopreneur, you will either need to take this on yourself or hire a Social Media Manager. Larger companies give the job to qualified workers in the marketing department and if the budget allows, some may choose to hire a consultant or a firm.
3. Should I create accounts on all social media platforms when starting out?
As a starting point, it would probably be better to operate with a presence on one or two social networks and a blog. The network you choose will be determined by where your audience hangs out; so survey your customers and find out what their most popular platform is. The more the business
grows the more social networks you can get into.
4. What’s the best social network for a small business?
Whether you’re operating a large or small business, you can never go wrong with a Twitter account. The platform is easy to learn and it gives your business a voice in the micro-blogging world. Another crucial network to be on is Google+- if only to boost your site’s search engine rankings. If however, you have a B2B firm, social networks such as Instagram and LinkedIn would be great places to reach influencers, and you wouldn’t go wrong with Facebook and Pinterest.
5. What’s the right frequency to post updates?
At a minimum you should post on each platform once a day. Two-five posts each day would be even better. Remember your followers visit social media websites at different times, and a single post each day might not be enough simply due to differences in timing. To reach more people, stagger the posts consistently throughout the day.
6. What type of content should I post?
Again, the purpose of your marketing campaign will determine what you post. But also, the platform you’re using matters to a certain extent. For instance, Pinterest and Instagram are inherently visual, so striking, memorable images detailing your products and services would be ideal if you’re operating such accounts.
Company events and a few behind-the-scenes photos are great for connecting with audiences on these networks. But you may also post text updates on Facebook and have them trend well, especially if you’re posing a question or giving out relevant information. When using Twitter, try to keep a balance between tweets and re-tweets. Curate a diverse mix of content (photos, links, tips, short videos, thoughtful questions, etc.) across different platforms in order to keep things fresh and interesting.
7. Is social media a good platform to provide customer service?
Social media has over time become one of the most popular platforms for businesses to interact with potential and existing customers. You can use all the popular platforms to respond to customer questions and complaints, order status enquires, etc.
8. How exactly does one convert followers into customers?
There aren’t any surefire tactics to get fan’s dollars, however some tricks seem to work better than others. For example, Facebook ads are a simple, affordable way to expand your fan base, boost engagement and collect sales leads. It’s entirely up to you to convert those leads. One of the best ways to go about converting leads is to implement a cross-platform contest that integrates all the popular platforms and perhaps offer sweepstakes that resonate well with the audience and draws in potential customers. For instance, in order to drive consumers to your online store, you could send a simple tweet that describes an ongoing contest on your Facebook account, and drop a link to the rules of the contest and the entry form on your online store.
9. How do people go about measuring the success of their marketing efforts?
It’s very important to make sure you always track your marketing metrics so as to establish which tactics are working and which aren’t. Some platforms come with their own metrics; Facebook for instance gives you administrator access where you can check out page insights data and use the data to evaluate what’s working and plan your future posts. LinkedIn offers similar analytics which are essential for business pages. Google analytics can be used to measure the effectiveness of social media campaigns and see how your strategy’s driving your traffic to your online store.
10. Biggest mistake to avoid
You can’t afford not to have a social media plan, so create one and stick to it. Remember social media is constantly evolving and in order to stay ahead you have to be prepared to adapt and redefine your strategy as needed. If you do this every few months you will identify which tactics are redundant and in the process work out the best plan for your business.
Most businesses begin their social marketing efforts by listening and engaging with their customers across different platforms but at some point they have to look at the staffing required to carry out an effective campaign and ask what it is they’re really getting from social interaction. Implementing and managing a social media strategy is a time consuming task and basically a job in itself. Have you considered hiring a Social Media Manager to assist your business?
Social Media Specialist
PS - I've just added a BRAND NEW FREEBIE to the Community Resource Library. It's all about how to use effectively use your personal Facebook profile to market your business. Click HERE to get your free guide!
As a Social Media Manager, I've helped many businesses improve their online presence. Along the way, I've noticed the same mistakes being made over and over again. These mistakes can be detrimental to your brand/business! Here are five common social media marketing mistakes to avoid so your business can thrive online.
1. Not Having A Strategy
This would have to be the biggest mistake anyone could make when running any type of business. If you’re getting into social media just because everybody else is doing it, then you won’t have a proper plan to succeed. It’s one of the reasons people go and throw out all sorts of profiles on every social platform worth mentioning, trying to sell their product to everyone, and hopelessly failing. Have a clear strategy from the beginning. Understand why you are using social media and what you expect to get from it.
2. Not Engaging
Just because you have good content and can keep your audience engaged indefinitely doesn’t mean you can ignore your fans. The core of what you’re doing should be to make authentic connections. Just like in the real world, people will like you more if you respond to comments and complaints. If you’re constantly talking and not paying attention to feedback then you’ll miss out on a great deal.
3. Negative Posts
This happens more times than you’d imagine. A few CEOs have resulted to using sites like Twitter to air their bad feelings, starting pointless arguments with competitors, workers, etc. Some people go as far as posting derogatory language and that’s about as low as anyone can get. Try to remember ethics and conduct yourself professionally - that way people will respect you and you won’t have to worry about brand image.
4. Too Much Self Promotion
Nobody wants to receive 20 tweets a day hearing about you. People want messages that are relevant and of value to them. So give them something that’s going to be interesting, useful and shareable: but don’t send too many messages because you don’t want the consumer annoyed. Keep the messages short, succinct and of value to the consumer. Remember the Three C's of Social Media?
5. Not Being Patient
Effective social media implementation is a marathon, not a sprint. A lot of people expect the process to be quick and simple but that’s just not the case. You can't post for only a month then step back and hope it all work out in the end: the entire plan will fall by the wayside and you won’t have anyone to blame but yourself. Give it time to grow and adjust the details of your strategy as needed. Remember you are building relationships. Commit a minimum of 3 months to posting and engagement before you can expect to see real traction.
So ask yourself...are you currently making any of these mistakes? If you are, not to worry. They are easy to correct! I hope you found this guide useful. If you have, please comment below and share with your friends!
Social Media Specialist
There are many benefits to employing social media marketing strategies. Social media allows you to instantly communicate with a broad customer base, and interact with them to generate interest in your products, services, and overall business. This article provides valuable guidance and actionable tips on utilizing social media marketing strategies successfully. Use these tips to make your business more successful!
TRY THE 'TUBE - Include YouTube in your arsenal of social media marketing tactics to attract a target audience. Did you know that YouTube has over a billion users?! YouTube users tend to be better leads because they have generally already seen a video you have posted, and won't click on your links unless they like what they see. It boosts sales when people who visit a product site already know what the product is all about. Click HERE for some interesting YouTube stats.
EXCLUSIVE DEALS - Create specials or promotions that are exclusive only to your social media sites to entice your customers to come to them. When they notice promos open only to Facebook followers, they are sure to give you greater attention as they feel they are getting a special deal. Hopefully they will also share your promotion with their friends which will expand your reach and gain more sales.
COVERT TACTICS - To create social media content that really markets you covertly, come up with lists. For example, compose a list of the top ten weird but true facts about your product, widget or niche. Top number lists may seem a little boring to some, but they do tend to get quietly passed around the internet, providing a wonderful opportunity for your brand to get exposure.
POSITION YOURSELF AS AN EXPERT - Try creating an account on Quora. This website allows users to submit questions and get answers from other users. Look up questions about issues related to your products or industry, and write a helpful answer or solution. By sharing your knowledge with potential customers, you will enhance your credibility and create a sense of expertise.
SHARE BLOG UPDATES ON SOCIAL MEDIA - If you have a blog on your business website, you can update it with new content and publish it on your social media sites as well. Your followers will see that you posted new content and rush to read it. Unique and engaging blog content keeps followers interested in what you post, and it keeps them coming back to both your social media sites and your website.
VIDEOS ARE KING - Social media technology is constantly changing so you must remain knowledgeable in order to make sure your strategy succeeds. Statistics show that video is the largest and fastest growing social media marketing tool. In 2014 CEO Mark Zuckerberg was quoted as saying “In five years most of Facebook will be video”. Try incorporating short Facebook Live videos into your social media marketing plan. Videos are great content for your social media marketing!
As you can see, there are many benefits to employing social media marketing strategies, and there are many different ways to use social media. Social media marketing could be the extra push your business needs to obtain the success you've been seeking. Apply these actionable strategies, and see what social media marketing can do for you!
Social Media Specialist
PS - Do you need more help with social media? Click HERE to learn how I can personally teach you everything that I know and take your social media marketing from so-so to so awesome!
The goal of this blog is to help small and growing businesses get the most out of their social media presence.