Whether you are a B2C or a B2B business, Social Media is a powerful tool of your marketing strategy.
If you learn how to use it effectively, it will it provide you a range of business benefits and it will be the main streaming channel of your Inbound marketing strategy.
Since 2010, social media is the lead generation channel by excellence, as 23% of internet users spend their time on internet only on social media and blogs.
Develop A Social Media Strategy
Your written social media strategy doesn’t need to be comprehensive or complex from the beginning. Start with a simple and easy strategy that you can follow. This will be the foundation on which you will build, over time, a more sophisticated one. It will save you time and efforts.
Take a moment and think about the specific needs of your audience over the different social media platforms. Don’t rush to share the same content without identifying your objectives.
In our digitalised world, a mistaken perception is that businesses must be present, both actively as passively, on all the existing social media platforms. That unrealistic need to be everywhere on social media is a non-constructive approach: loss of time, energy and money. All this equals therefore to a loss of ROI.
Identify Your Social Media Objectives
Before jumping on the social media platforms, ask yourself several questions:
- What do I want to achieve through my social media strategy?
- Over what period?
- How do I measure my success?
After having found the answers to these questions, set up your objectives:
- Improving web presence and traffic to your website
- Building brand awareness
- Exchanging with your growing network
- Building partnerships and long-lasting connections
- Gaining new visitors, leads, prospects and clients…
Having clear objectives will help you to focus on your efforts to achieve and measure them effectively. Also, you will be able to analyse how much you will need to invest in terms of material and human resources, mainly budget and team members.
Identify Your Target Audience
Your target audience is a much wider concept that just your buyer persona. It is indeed all the different types of people that your business wants to connect with.
This is a key factor in determining how to reach them most effectively.
Can you break the audiences into categories and potentially subcategories? These could include:
- Current customers
- Business partners
- Sales leads and prospects
- Industry contacts
- Media contacts
The more effectively you can be at defining the people your business wants to reach the better you will become at engaging them.
Identify Your Target Audience Needs
Before starting to shout out there about your products and services, define what it is truly important for your target audience: their questions, their ambitions, their development, and how what you offer and improve their daily life.
This information is useful in developing a content marketing strategy for the types, length and structure of content you will post and share through social media: the best mix is the one that resonates the best with your target audiences. It will likely vary by platform and target audience; as the different platforms have different requirements for the amount of text, size of images and formatting and length of videos.
Determine Your Business Ideal Social Media Platform
Meet your target audience where they spend their time. This will enable you to reach to the right people through the right channel and the right way and to optimise your strategy. Who says optimising your strategy, says optimizing your time and resources
How do you identify your ideal social media platforms?
- Analyse on each platform you are interested in for the keywords, topics, peer-businesses and events in your industry or domain
- Analyse best practices for outstanding peer-businesses and see what works for you
- Analyse your buyer persona to understand if they spend time there
Options will vary depending on your business activity. A marketing agency may have significant success on YouTube and LinkedIn. A wine company could gather most of their users on Instagram and Facebook. B2B businesses, such as entrepreneurship magazines, must be on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Define Your Business Message
Social media presents a huge array of options for what you can post or share. How do you engage with your audience? How do you relate through your social media presence to who you are as a business?
All this has an extreme importance as your message is part of your voice brand. Having a clear vision of the identity you want to present will help in shaping your messaging and the content you will want to post or share.
Don’t share the same type of message every time. Vary its form and approach and see what engages the best with your network and audience. And don’t forget to test and measure continuously because this is the key to success.
Define Your Posting Strategy
You know it already: having useful, interesting and quality content to post is important for your business development and your entire Inbound Marketing strategy. As part of your bigger strategy, social media platforms are one of your channels to spread out your message and increase your success.
Design a content strategy to better planify ahead your postings. It will avoid you chaos, inconsistency and wasted time.
Share quality content relevant to your prospective audience. Providing useful, engaging, informative, timely content significantly increases the likelihood that people will connect with you and engage with your content.
Engage yourself with others: like and comment people’s messages and content. This raises your visibility and will lead to other people engaging with you over time.
Join relevant active communities and groups. This offers the potential to reach a targeted audience, but will require exploration and engagement to determine the value of each group or community.
Check The Level Of Investment Of Time And Resources
Social media marketing requires an investment of time and potentially other resources. The amount of time required will depend on factors such as:
- The number of posts per day per platform
- The number of platforms being used
- Methods/tools used to identify and gather shareable content
- Tools used to automate and manage the posting processes
- Level of interaction with other people on each platform
- The sharing of other social media user’s content
An initial strategy may be to research which platforms contain the greatest concentration of users from your target audience. Then choose one or two platforms to focus on while you refine your strategy, tactics and the best tools to use. Measure results over time and adjust tactics as necessary. Expand to other platforms as your audience indicates and as times and resources allow.
Measuring Your Social Media Success
I couldn’t highlight more how measuring your success is a huge part of its own.
Don’t spend time where there is little ROI for you.
Nevertheless, a common mistake with social media marketing is that businesses fail to measure their level of success and ROI. What gets measured and what determines success can vary significantly depending on the nature of your business, its goals, objectives, level of investment and social media platforms used.
A positive development in the social media world in the last few years has been the growth of tools to measure social media results more effectively. All social media platforms now provide some level of analytics and reporting.
Developing a clear and concise social media strategy from now on will provide you two major benefits: it will save your business time and it will improve your ROI.
Start your planning today and revise and evolve it over time as your business grows.
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