There's no denying the role social media marketing now plays when it comes to driving website traffic, brand awareness and business leads. But if you're not keeping up with current trends, it can go south really fast and cut into your resources while yielding unfavorable results.
Around 90% adults aged between 18-29 are on social media, including 35% adults aged 65+. A third of Millennials use social media as their preferred source of communication with businesses. Global social media usage, meanwhile, is projected to hit the 2.5 billion mark by 2018.
The potential is huge and you need to be on social media to be able to cater to this growing audience. Take the following into consideration before kickstarting your social media marketing campaigns:
1. Define Goals
Why are you running this campaign? What do you hope to accomplish? Do you need more traffic to your purchase page? Are you looking for increased e-commerce sales?
Define goals around specific actions: "I want people to fill out lead forms on my website". Get this right early in the process and the rest follows.
2. Success through Numbers
Pick a number which defines your outcome. For example, "I want to add at least 500 subscribers before the end of this month". Or something like "we need a 20% boost in new leads".
This gives you something to drive toward and measure success. Are the resources worth the outcome? You can shift your campaign goals accordingly.
3. One Platform at a Time
If you're a seasoned marketer, by all means focus on as many social media platforms as you wish. However, it's generally a good practice to focus on one platform and devote most of your time to understanding its features, and, devising strategies to leveraging those features.
Understand one platform well enough to be able to take advantage of its advanced features, and then execute your objectives on the others.
4. Put it Down in Writing
What tactics are you going to employ? Who's been tasked with what? When should the sub-tasks be executed? It's all about your timing and execution - put it all down in writing, and create your social media mission statement.
5. Bring it to Life with Visuals
Ever seen a successful social media campaign without visuals involved one way or another? Visuals catch attention better than anything else, whether it's an image, an infographic or a video. Visuals have a higher likelihood of going viral and are more shareable.
Good to know:
●87% of Facebook page engagement occurs on photos
●34% tweets with images get more frequently retweeted
●88% organizations today rely on social channels for marketing
6. Monitor and Tune
You need to be using analytics throughout to assess how effective your campaign is from start to finish. Use analytics tools to get the job done and do it as often as you can. Some of the best ones to use are Keyhole, Buffer and Google Analytics.
If something works well, do it more; i.e. in your Facebook ad campaigns, if one ad message is leading to more conversions, allocate more resources towards that. Monitor it all closely and you can shift tactics accordingly.
7. Invest in a Social Media Management Tool
The top marketers today are using tools to bolster productivity. Use a social media management tool for your social media campaigns to scale your efforts easily.
8. Profile Your Ideal Customer
Be as specific as you can - if your target audience are couples between ages 25 and 50 who are earning at least $50,000 a year, are highly active on popular social media channels and love keeping fit, you'll generally have a higher success ratio.
You'll fall flat on your face if you're not marketing to the right audience. Finding a highly focused niche can be as simple as understanding demographics like age, location, job title, income level, concerns your business can address, and most commonly used social network.
9. Audit Your Social Presence
It's important to understand who you are to the average user before chalking out future business objectives. Therefore, audit your social media presence by assessing which networks you are active on and if these networks are optimized with your cover images, URL, bio etc.
In addition, determine which networks are bringing in the highest value and how your profiles generally compare to competitor profiles.
For example, if your LinkedIn page generates the most sales and engagement, audit your social presence there and find ways to spruce up your LinkedIn Company Page.
10. Identify Key Success Indicators
How can you know if your social media marketing is achieving the desired effect? Are you hitting the projected revenue mark? Is it wise to continue investing in something that's having a negative impact on the bottom line?
Consider identifying key metrics such as conversion rate, reach, customer sentiment and time spent on website, brand mentions, total shares and conversion rate to get answers to the above.
11. Twitter is Great for Testing Out Content Ideas
Through Twitter you can tap into potentially hot and trending topics when you're sitting down to produce quality content. You can use it to see how well content may be received or understand consumer interests that are well-aligned with your editorial focus.
12. Continue to Create and Curate Highly Engaging Content
One you have a clear understanding of who your ideal customer is, you need put that info to good use by both creating and curating content around that focus. You could be creating anything from images, videos and blog posts to eBooks, infographics and interviews.
The list is expansive, but the most important thing is to make sure you're creating content only that falls in line with your social media mission statement. Content fuels social media, and it has to be 100% relevant and engaging.