Social media can be a powerful and effective marketing tool when handled correctly and by ensuring you have a well thought out strategy you will be taking your first steps towards social media success.
Follow these 10 tops tips to create a winning social media strategy.
Know Your Audience
To plan and implement an effective social media strategy you must first understand your audience. Who is engaging with your brand? How old are they? Are they male or female? What are their other interests? By answering these questions you can match your social media marketing efforts with the social platforms where your customers are spending most of their time, delivering content that they want to see. For example Facebook’s primary audience consists of women aged between 18 and 29 while you can expect to find, graduate level professionals on LinkedIn.
Analyse your competition
Competitor analysis is a key component of any marketing strategy. Take the time out to have an in-depth look at what your competitors are doing. Look at what they are doing well and see how you can adapt this for your fans. Also look at what they are doing badly, tap into these topics and seize the opportunity to show your fans how you can offer a better online experience.
Find Your Brand Voice
While the message you deliver through social media is important the way you say it should be of equal concern. Maintaining a clear and consistent brand voice is a key step to gaining the trust of your audience and portraying a professional and well-considered social media strategy. Before you begin publishing content decide what sort of voice you want your brand to have, it could be playful, knowledgeable, friendly, principled or fun. Creating a well-balanced social media personal plays an important part in the overall success of your venture but don’t be disheartened if your fans don’t engage with you right away, trial and error is key to finding the tone that resonates strongest with your fan base.
Implement an editorial calendar to ensure that you never miss key dates or events. Include key calendar events and public holidays but also plan in any other marketing your brand has planned so you can support it through your social channels. This clear framework will form the foundation of your marketing plan and will influence how frequently you post and to which networks.
Here’s the hard truth. People don’t use social networks to engage with brands they use it to engage with friends and family. That doesn’t mean to say your brand can’t find success through these channels, it can, if you do it right.
People don’t want to be sold to. If your brand simply shouts, “Come and buy our stuff!” it is highly unlikely that you will engage with your fans, it may even result in you losing them. Remember, social media is supposed to be ‘social’ – the hint is in the name – so be social. Use what you know about your audience to deliver content that is of interest and value to them. Ask yourself “How can I solve their problem?” This problem can be anything from providing knowledgeable product information to just making them smile.
Social media and customer service go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly. It has become the first point of call for customers to voice they’re frustrations and to deliver praise. The important thing to remember here is that online 2 hours can feel like 2 days so it is crucial to respond quickly. Check out our top tips for using social media for customer service here.
While having a content plan will ensure you never miss a key date, try not to become fixated on it. Stay up to date on current events both in the news and popular culture that may be relevant to your brand and react to them. Everyone remembers Oreo’s infamous Superbowl tweet and rightly so, it is a great example of real time marketing and responding to an event in a way that is both engaging and on brand. Some of the most successful social media content comes from switched on marketers reacting quickly.
Outreach is an important step to both reach potential fans and to maintain relationships with your existing audience. Use hashtag or keyword searches to reach out to people who share an interest in a subject similar to your brand. This is your chance to say “Hey, take a look at what we’re doing!” or “Look at how we can help you!” Remember to maintain a clear and consistent brand voice but don’t be afraid to keep it light-hearted, it is good to show your fans the human side of your brand.
Social media is becoming more and more a pay to play environment. If you want to get the most out of your social media efforts it is wise to invest in an ad budget to prop up your strongest posts and expand your reach.
Analytics should be your best friend when it comes to social media marketing. The insight you can gain by analyzing your content is vital to creating a content plan that not only serves but grows with your fans. By analyzing post engagement you can see what content your fans enjoy and what they don’t relate to so you can adapt your strategy and bring them back on board. In addition to the data provided from your social channels it is also important to analyze your website analytics. If your social media strategy is working then you should see an uplift in website traffic.
If the stats are less than favorable then don’t just keep posting the same content in the hope your fans will come round to your way of thinking, change it up.
Ok so for the more observant mathematicians out there you may have noticed that I said 10 top tips and there are only 9 points above. The last point is simple and doesn’t require a nifty subheading to make it stand out, to put it simple; just have fun. If you stop and look at your content and think “Man, that’s pretty cool” if you are switched on with your brand then chances are your fans will like it too.
Over to you.
What do you think? What are your top tips?