Remember when content marketing was this new, abstract strategy that some claimed was a foolproof way to generate leads? In opposition was a large group of marketers who could conceptualize content marketing as a plausible theory, but weren’t convinced it would actually deliver results. After a decade (or more) of discussion, content marketing is clearly here to stay , but marketers now acknowledge that the strategy is a long game. So is social media marketing.
Tracking content and social marketing ROI are not as straightforward as, “If I invest $100 in this, I’ll get a $200 return.” The goals are more ambiguous and long-term, such as increase brand awareness, build a loyal customer base and establish an engaged audience that will hopefully become customers in the future. Achieving goals with such latent rewards takes patience and perseverance, which seems contradictory when strategizing for channels that move at the speed of light and cater to our ever-shortening attention span. As humans, we prefer instant gratification making the long game strategy less appealing and almost counter-intuitive when we’re planning for social media.
Like with any business strategy, you just need to start by setting solid goals and understanding your audience’s needs and preferences. Here are a few questions to ask yourself while setting the foundation for your social strategy:
What is your goal for using social media channels?
There’s no sense in using a tool if you don’t know what you’re using it for. So, ask yourself, “what will using these channels help accomplish for the business?”
Some common goals include:
- Build brand awareness
- Increasing product loyalty
- Additional channel for communicating to your current customer base
- Humanizing your brand
- Build a community
- Create a new source for generating leads
- Show off the internal company culture to attract quality applicants
- Establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry
- Generate traffic to your website
Who is your audience?
Whether you’re B2B or B2C, for most companies this question is a pretty straight forward. Who is your target market? Think about verticals to which you’re considering expanding in the near future. Answer the basic demographic questions like geographical location, industry, age, gender, language, interests, company size, and job titles.
Which social media channels do they use?
Once you know who your audience is, you’ll want to think about which social media channels those groups spend time on. Are you selling to professionals? Make sure you’re on LinkedIn. Are you selling exclusively to college students? Check out Twitter and Instagram and other social channels that are popular with that specific demographic.
Another aspect to consider is channel functionality. For example, do you want to live-stream a tour of a home you’re selling as a real estate agent? Maybe a channel like Periscope would be successful for your needs. Do you write a personal blog? Since Instagram doesn’t let you post links, you might reconsider this channel as your go-to.
Where is your audience spending their time and engaging with others?
There’s a difference between which social media use and engagement. For example, I have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google + and Reddit account. These are the channels I ‘use’. Of those, I spend the majority of my social media viewing time on Instagram, Facebook and Reddit. These are the channels you want to hone in on because it’s where your audience posts, likes, makes comments and shares content.
Finding this information can be difficult if you don’t have the right tools. A solution like Rival IQ collects social media data from all your social media accounts and shows you where and how much your audience is engaging with your, and your competitor’s, content.
By monitoring the competition, you can get a sense of where your audience is actually engaging. It will help you prioritize channels that will produce the biggest return.
Which days of the week and time of day is your audience most active on each social media channel?
Most people suggest that you need to do a lot of testing to figure out the optimal time to post for the best engagement. There’s a better way. With a solution like Rival IQ, you can easily see which hours of which days generate the most engagement of all your followers. This lets you optimize which days and times you post on each channel.
Your team will save precious time spent putting posts together because you’ll be able to post less frequently and you’ll know what time of day will elicit the highest engagement. Secondly, you’ll be able to see which type of posts work so you can better shape your content for your audience.
What media type is most engaging?
Content is king. If you don’t have content that delights your audience, you’re never going to get their attention. Typically posts consist of status updates, links, photos or video. Engagement on each social media channel skews toward one media type more than the others. You need to know to capture your audience’s attention.
Again, you could run tests on your own site and track the metrics of each type of post. This is effective, but it will take a lot of time. Rival IQ does all of this for you by channel, at a glance.
Too many social marketers spend time crafting the “perfect” post instead of building the right social media strategy. Building a long-term social media strategy might seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Join us in the webinar, “Finding ‘Ah-ha Moments’ in Data-Driven Social Marketing” to discuss the importance of social media marketing and a high-level view on how to build a successful data-driven social strategy for your organization.
In this webinar, we cover:
- The role of social media marketing in today’s marketing mix
- Steps toward building the foundation of a long-term social strategy
- How to discover insights for a data-driven social strategy
- Communicating the value of your social strategy internally