The exponential growth of the social media has made it an indispensable tool for online marketing today. A large section of society is using at least one social networking site and more than one billion people stay connected with friends and relatives through the social media. Since it's clear that there's immense potential for marketing growth via this media, it's essential that you get on to it. While you don't have to be on a whole lot of social networking sites, you need to have a presence on at least three - the majors Facebook, Twitter and Google+. You can use the social media to develop your brand by giving it visibility and making people aware about it. The question everyone asks is, "How do you run a successful social media marketing campaign?" I'll try to answer that in this post and also take a sneak peep at what's in store for social media marketing in the rest of this year.
Every undertaking needs a plan and so you have to plan well your social media marketing strategy if you want it to succeed. You have to identify short, medium and long term goals, how you will achieve them and how you will measure their implementation. It's also vital that you decide what networks you need to have a presence on. This will depend on the nature of your business though you have to be on the most popular sites, regardless of the kind of business you are in. Depending on the success - or lack of it - you need to vary your social media presence.
It is absolutely essential to have social media buttons in the content you publish on your site, for it is through these buttons that readers will be able to share the content on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and other networking sites. This will persuade people to speak about your website with their relatives, acquaintances and friends.
All networking sites have different ways of giving publicity to your site. Ensure that you've got it right on the sites you are on. For example, on Facebook you can have your own fan page for free. You can make this page your headquarters to post content, other information and update your status. You can also use Facebook's supplementary advertising service to raise your fan page's popularity.
You can get publicity for your website by holding contests on the social media. When you organize such competitions, word will spread and you will get better known. Contests act as a motivation for people because of the rewards they carry. So contests will help you get extra exposure and even push your brand value up.
In sum, the tips outlined above will teach you how to manage a good campaign on the social media. It may be a bit complicated and you will have to put in some hard work. Therefore you should be willing to put in enough time, money and energy and to have a highly successful social media campaign.
Avoid These Mistakes
Being On One Platform Only
Don't stick to one platform only. Use at least these four to start with - Facebook, LinkedIn, Goggle+ and Twitter. LinkedIn is particularly good for businesses; in fact it's a business-only site. It is vital that you know your audience and find out which media they are on. When you've done that, you'll know exactly how much effort to put in on those sites.
Not Making a Plan
You must have a fixed plan for your social media marketing campaign. Don't go about it randomly; be regular with your tweets and Facebook posts. A haphazard campaign will never work. You should find out your weekly social media schedule and keep to the plan.
Not Interacting With Customers
The core idea behind the social media is interaction. So you'll be wasting your time and money if you don't interact with your followers/friends on a regular basis. Answer their queries, comment on their comments, post surveys and hold contests on your page. In short, keep the engagement with your audience going.
There are many instances of people giving up their social media strategy after they don't get positive results quickly. They work on it for a few weeks and when nothing comes out of it in that period they throw up their hands in despair. Remember, it takes time to build up a solid fan base, and you need to have patience on the social media. The numbers will increase only with time.
Hashtags Without Purpose
If you use hashtags that have no purpose you will only baffle your fans/followers and expose yourself. Your followers will know that you don't really know what you're doing and you will quickly lose credibility. Don't use hashtags in random tweets; create promotions with them.
Poor Grammar, Verbose
Your text and grammar must be impeccable. As a professional businessperson you cannot afford to post poor or wrong English. Good grammar, spell checks and proof reading are all essential elements of a good social media campaign. In addition, don't write too long. Short posts are much more effective and popular than long ones.
Too Few Images
Pictures catch peoples' attention much more than words, so be sure that you have enough images in your social media content. One good picture can tell your readers much more than a couple of paragraphs.
The Road Ahead
As the new year begins it feels as if ideas for social marketing strategies have been exhausted. But it isn't so. Evolution is continually taking place in this and businesses are chalking out new plans to take advantage of the fast growing social media. Their primary goal is to figure out what changes they must make in their content marketing to be more competitive. Let's take a look at some expected changes that will happen in the social media in the next 12 months.
Nowadays most businesses assign their social media duties to the staff they already have, which may be in the advertising/public relations departments or some other section of the office. This is because inconsistencies have been noticed as people in various departments are getting a bit of the social media chores and the co-ordination is not up to the mark. Thus a dedicated staff that will be fully focused on social media is expected this year because businesses have realized that they cannot do without a social media campaign that's handled by a committed team. Businesses won't find it hard to find such staff for many skilled social media people can be found in the job market.
Taking into account the changes Google has made, marketing people feel that localized search and voice will have a major impact on content presentation. This year market persons will have to think about the queries customers may ask of a search engine and answer those questions in their content. Basic information that customers will find easily find will be another factor that will be considered. Suppose you have shifted the restaurant you ran on the corner to some other location and your website still has the old address, then it will have to be quickly rectified on the site and across all social media platforms.
Marketers understand the importance of going viral, but it's really hard to create compelling - or even shocking - content that will be shared by audiences. In addition to being unique and innovative, brands will need to remain faithful to their customers. The importance of the individual customer will be realized. Instead of sending out generic messages they will have deal with individuals and the latter's specific requirements.
Importance of Google+
It is now amply clear that Google+ will come to the fore this year and no marketer cab afford to miss it. It is essential to be on Google+, for the simple reason that it will vastly improve the chances of getting better search engine results. Thus 2014 will be the year when users of Google+ will grow their circles and post content through it.
Text Not Enough
Text only will not suffice. In their networking today, people are using videos, photos, check-ins etc to interact. Photo-sharing social sites like Vine and Instagram will gain in importance, as pictures begin to tell their story to the audience. Freebies in terms of both services and products will be reduced or even disappear for businesses will come to the realization that they don't actually result in conversions. Businesses will attempt to sell services/products on the basis of the information they provide online.
One of the biggest trends to watch out for will be data analytics. Businesses are expected to spend a lot of time tracking conversions, click-throughs and related activities on social sites and use the information to plan their marketing strategies. And, of course, mobile gadgets will be more than ever on marketers' minds.
Social media is a great way to get your business noticed and can even generate sales. Many companies have experienced how great social media can be. Recent studies show that 52% of all markets found clients via Facebook in 2013. If you are one of the businesses that tried social media briefly and failed, it might be due to a few common mistakes that are made in the social media realm.