Social media for your business isn’t optional anymore.
In today’s hyperconnected world, social networks have become an integral part of every successful digital marketing campaign. Having reached more than 2.8 billion active users, they have become a key to raising brand awareness, distributing interactive content, generating leads and boosting customer conversion rates. This is especially important for startups that are operating with small budgets, in an overcrowded entrepreneurial market.
Put simply, to set yourself apart from your competitors you need to integrate social media marketing into your overall digital marketing campaign. This guide will help you learn how to maximize your online presence by implementing social media strategies.
Have a Plan that Works
Resorting to social networking as a means of business promotion doesn’t merely mean being present online. On the contrary, this is a complicated process and, as such, it requires doing a thorough research and building a plan that will keep you on track the whole time. Here are some vital steps you need to take when developing a social media marketing plan.
Conduct Target Audience Segmentation
To develop a plan that caters to your customers’ needs, you first need to know who they are. This is why you should do detailed target audience segmentation and create buyer personas. By assessing your customers’ background info such as their occupations, hobbies, interests, education, as well as some essential demographic factors their age range, gender, and income, you will be able to easily target your audience, deliver authentic customer experience and boost sales.
Research your Competition
Before you start your social media marketing campaign, you need to research your competition. Start with identifying your competitors. Choose businesses operating in the same niche, but don’t limit yourself to startups and small businesses only. To get better insight into the industry, you should also monitor social media campaigns of mid-sized companies or even large corporations.
You need to pay special attention to their content marketing strategy. Find out whether they’re creating their own content or sharing the posts from other industry-relevant blogs and websites. What type of content they most commonly share? Do they focus on the good old articles or they resort to more engaging types of content?
Know what your Goals are
Once you have all this in mind, you need to set some long-term goals. In order to generate higher social media marketing ROI, you need to make data-driven decisions and align these objectives with your broader digital marketing strategy.
Remember, your goals need to be S.M.A.R.T– specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. So, instead of vanity metrics such as the number of Facebook likes or Twitter followers, you should focus on the metrics that matter that drive more traffic, web referrals and higher conversion rates.
Choose Platforms that Meet your Needs
Once you establish your social media marketing plan, you should move on to choosing the social networking platforms. Always keep in mind that not all social media channels have the same purpose or target the same audience. Because each social channel is unique, you need to go with the ones that will reach the right people, in the right place, at the right time.
For example, with over 1.94 billion global monthly active users, Facebook is considered an inevitable part of every social media marketing strategy that focuses on reaching massive audiences. The same goes for Twitter, which serves as a powerful tool for customer engagement and effective content distribution. On the other hand, if you’ve launched a B2B startup and now are looking for business partners, you should consider using LinkedIn as the basis of your digital marketing campaign.
Boost Brand Awareness
Social networks have become a crucial factor when it comes to increasing brand awareness. They give you the opportunity to create an extensive online community of brand ambassadors. Surround yourself with the people who believe in your brand and want to participate actively in spreading the word about it. They will give your startup additional exposure, boost brand awareness and, most importantly, promote brand loyalty.
Of course, this is not something that is handed to you once you create a Facebook page. On the contrary, you need to inspire people to promote your brand, and this might take months or even years. This relationship should be built on trust, and you can only achieve this if you create a recognizable brand first.
The first step in accomplishing this is to invest in your brand design. Put simply, you should go with a simple and meaningful company logo, pleasant colors, a recognizable slogan, quality print collateral, and the overall website design that reflects the purpose of your brand on the market. Logically, the next move is raising your brand’s reputation by delivering top quality content. More on that below.
Build a Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing is the nerve center of every successful digital marketing campaign. Only by delivering data-driven, relevant and shareable content will you be recognized as an expert in your niche and set yourself apart from your competitors. However, you need to know that content marketing requires much more than writing an article and sharing it on your website or some industry-related blogs. It requires investing a great deal of time and effort in tracking trends, understanding the readers’ expectations, conducting analysis and, above all, strategizing. In other words, you need to have a reliable content marketing strategy.
Create Engaging Content
To get your readers share your content on their multiple profiles, you need to keep pace with the innovations. Namely, many startups and small businesses focus on lengthy articles, not taking into consideration numerous more effective and engaging types of content, such as infographics, videos and micro-content (quotes, quizzes, gifs, and memes). Furthermore, some recent studies point out that infographics are liked and shared three times more than other any other type of content.
Have a Distribution Calendar
Without a distribution calendar, many inexperienced marketers would run out of ideas for fresh content or, even worse, miss out the opportunity to cover some trending topics in their niche. Precisely because of this, sticking to a regular content publishing scheme is the holy grail of every content marketing strategy.
For instance, you could introduce “Pro Tip Wednesday,” a day when you share your weekly tips and provide your customers with invaluable, industry-specific content. This way, people will have the opportunity to leave comments and questions and, most importantly, get your feedback right away. On the other hand, on Fridays, you could share fun photos and videos of your staff and, in this way, let your target audience meet the people behind your brand.
Use Social Media Productivity Tools
In addition to the distribution calendar, there are numerous social media productivity tools like Buffer, Tagboard, IFTTT and Meshfire that help you sync your social networking channels and facilitate the process of cross-channel content sharing.
Collect Instant Feedback
The best way to make the most of your social media presence is to collect instant feedback by monitoring your customers’ discussions. This way, you will be able to find out how your target audience feels about your brand and use these opinions constructively to improve your approach. Most importantly, social media help you provide your customers with the real-time customer service and immediate feedback. Alternatively, you can also monitor users’ opinions on your recently released product, detect any potential customer experience issues and solve them on time.
Unsurprisingly, integrating social media marketing with the digital marketing campaign allows startups to reach broader audiences, promote their brand effectively and deliver personalized and real-time customer experience. As a result, they will generate higher revenue and better conversion rates. Hopefully, with these strategies, you will set yourself apart from the hectic startup landscape and nudge your business in the right direction.