Ten years ago, creating a social media strategy was easy - you simply needed to figure out how to engage with people on Facebook and you would be ready to rock. Today, you need to coordinate your social media marketing strategy across multiple platforms.
Last year, people posted a third less content on Facebook than 2015, yet the amount of overall social media posts didn't necessarily decline. The drop in Facebook posting is more a result of people focusing their attention on Instagram, Snapchat and other platforms, and as such, if you aren't actively reaching customers across multiple networks, you're already losing brand exposure, and will likely continue to do so in the coming years.
But the reality is that many businesses have a hard time coordinating their marketing efforts across different sites. Since I became a social media strategist, I've found that most clients have a very fragmented strategy. There are a number of reasons this is a mistake:
- It's harder to streamline your social media content strategy if it varies on every platform.
- It's nearly impossible to create a consistent branding strategy.
- It's harder to analyze your strategy to see what works.
Engagement, brand awareness and conversions will increase if you develop a cohesive, multi-channel social media strategy.
Here are some tips.
1. Choose Platforms Around Your Customer Base
One of the biggest mistakes I see businesses make is choosing social networks at random. They either try to establish a presence on every social networking site under the sun or neglect sites where their target users spend the most time.
Before choosing social platforms, you need to ask yourself one question:
Who is your customer base?
You'll find that some networks are better suited for your industry's marketing strategy than others - here are some great takeaways from a post by Evan LePage on the Hootsuite blog:
- Manufacturing companies should be on LinkedIn, because it's the best network for B2B branding. They can also benefit from establishing a brand presence on YouTube, since they can reach customers without having to post regular content. This is a plus, because it's difficult to consistently create engaging content in the manufacturing vertical, because people aren't interested in seeing how products are made every day.
- Retailers should focus on Yelp!, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. Demand for visual content makes these the best networks for them to reach their customers.
- A growing number of media and entertainment companies are moving to Snapchat. One of the main appeals of Snapchat is the growing number of Millennials and Generation Z'ers that use it.
Learn who your demographic is, so you can choose the best networks to reach them, then do your research to find out where they're spending their time.
2. Invest in Quality Visual Content
The processes of Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and most other social media platforms differ in many ways, however one consistent element amongst the users on all of these platforms is that they respond well to visual content.
Take a look at these stats:
- Facebook posts with visual content receive 2.3x more engagement than those lack images
- Tweets with images receive nearly 89% more favorites and 1.5x as many retweets
- Nearly 5x as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it
Visual content is necessary to engage with your audience in 2017. Make sure you invest in it accordingly.
3. Adapt Your Tactics to Each Platform
You want to have a single, over-arching social media marketing strategy - but that doesn't mean you shouldn't adapt your content template to each platform.
Every platform has its own character limits, formatting options and other features. You need to modify your message and content for each.
Don't make the mistake of linking your Facebook and Twitter accounts or cross-posting without thinking. To maximize your performance on each platform, you need to dedicate time to crafting your posts within the limitations and options of each.
4. Use a Multi-Channel Analytics and Curation Solution
There are a lot of great analytics tools out there - here are some that you may want to check out:
- WhataGraph - WhataGraph provides website infographic analytics and social media reports. It's designed for digital agencies who are seeking to automate their marketing reporting and concentrate all their reports under one place.
- Hootsuite - Hootsuite is a content curation, analytics and scheduling platform. It's been used by some of the world's top brands since 2008. You can connect Hootsuite to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, YouTube and several other sites.
- SocialPilot - SocialPilot is a bulk scheduling tool that's compatible with over 200 social networks (which is four times as many as Hootsuite). You can also use SocialPilot to bulk schedule posts with images.
All of these tools have their own special features, so you should review them carefully.
Invest in a Multi-Channel Social Media Strategy
You may be old enough to remember when Facebook was the only major social networking site, but things have changed considerably since then. Today, there are too many to count, and many people are spending less time and Facebook and investing more time on other sites. This means you need to reach them on multiple channels.
Make sure you create a centralized, well-thought-out strategy to reach your target audience across the web.
Featured Image Image Credit: ShutterStock/Stock photo ID: 338604821 & 387105568