In this the age of connectivity, consumer expectations are high. They expect their fitness devices to speak to their phones, which talk to their laptops, which link to their e-readers, which have full web access. Each of these products in turn should connect with social media. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have quickly become hubs of communication – it’s often the first place people look when something momentous hits the news cycle.
As any prosperous online business entrepreneur will tell you, harnessing the power of social connections is crucial to a successful social media campaign. If your engagement hasn’t led to harnessing, however, you may need to rethink your game. Even the savviest social media campaign can fail for a variety of reasons. If yours is struggling, consider these tips to help you redesign a great social media presence.
Focus on Your Strategy
If your company is still afloat in this uncertain economic time, you are doing something right. You have probably hammered out a mission statement, created a clear identity, targeted your primary audience, and have engaged marketing techniques to match – so most of the hard work is already there. Use these bones to design your social media campaign.
Social media campaigns should help you reach more people, but don’t reach them at the expense of your company identity; be true to your company persona. You’ll have more success with specificity than by trying to cover every demographic – and you won’t be spinning your wheels trying to market to an audience who won’t be listening.
When you enter the conference room to develop your online marketing strategy, remember what your company is and who the people you are trying to reach are. The first question is simply, “Why does this marketing initiative make sense for our company?” A complete answer to this contains vital information that you can use to create an effective and comprehensive strategy. Knowing what you hope to achieve – and why – will often produce the “how” you are seeking.
Recommended Reading: Social Media Campaigns: Strategies for Public Relations and Marketing
Consider Your Audience
As you move forward, keep your audience at the forefront of your mind. Your social media campaign should be a tool for customer acquisition and retention, with potential for increased sales. You know what it can do for you, but you need to know how your consumer will benefit. Switch roles with the consumer and look at your campaign through their eyes. If there’s nothing in it for them when they follow you on Twitter or like your page on Facebook, they are unlikely to do it.
This doesn’t have to be a “go big or go home” situation. Creating funny tweets may be enough for your base to follow. If that’s not who you are, though, don’t force it. Be useful by linking to useful – not salesy – articles, or make “following” your business matter by providing discounts or customer-specific specials. For instance, some theaters engage in Throwback Thursdays, showing older movies. The only way to know if it’s going to be a customer’s favorite 1980s’ teen flick is by following the cinema on Facebook. Give your content value – but make it specific to your audience.
Give Them What They Want
What does your audience want to see? Think about that first – and what you want them to see second – then marry those two concepts. If you represent a bakery, perhaps Snapchat is the way to go. Post enticing pictures of your daily cupcake selection – users would love to share an artfully made cupcake. If you are a mobile application startup, perhaps Facebook would be better. You can link to articles on your company’s blog and offer more-detailed promotions. It is important to decide where your money will have the most impact with your specific client base.
When you know where to put your resources, your marketing investment should represent a return. Once you’ve decided social media marketing is right for your company, execute it properly. It is worth noting that social media is only one aspect of a marketing strategy. Once you decide which outlet is best for your goals, do not eliminate all other forms of marketing. You should incorporate social media into your program, not replace something else with it.
Once you have developed a plan of action, implement it thoughtfully. A common mistake is creating a strategy and then walking away. If you plan to outsource your social media marketing, it would be smart to stay involved in some way. It is a great avenue by which to stay connected to your customers. Make certain that someone intimately acquainted with the mission statement and goals is keeping tabs on the social media sector. It can be easy to spiral away from your company’s identity when left in the hands of outsiders.
Balance is key in this endeavor. Just as it is unwise to turn a blind eye, it is not advisable to remain glued to your company accounts at all times. Especially in a young company, over-analysis of social media is an easy pitfall. If you are the CTO, even if you only have 20 employees, you should not be spending eight-hour days on Facebook. Be mindful of your human resources and find a combination of outsourcing, in-house staff, and directorial overseeing to make it work.
Make it a Tortoise Win
In an age focused on the immediate, it is sometimes difficult to be patient. For social media campaigns, however, being the tortoise over the hare will likely win you profits. The day you launch your social media campaign, there may not be a huge spike in sales. However, with good content and smart practices, you will build a following over time. Recognize that this is a long-term investment and that slow and steady wins the race.
In embracing the potentially slow and steady process, consistency is key. A presence you don’t maintain is useless. Keep in mind which time zone(s) your audience is in, what kinds of content they look at, and how often. Design a posting schedule and stick to it. The more consistent you are, the more likely you are to gain follower-ship.
Embrace a New Mindset – A Marketing Campaign that Doesn’t Market
Image Source: Linkedin
A huge mistake some companies run in to is a basic lack of understanding. Educate your team about how to engage on social media and what the differences are among the different platforms. This is deeper than simply knowing how many characters you can post in each. It’s vital to research what kind of user you reach through each platform, what sort of tone is most popular on each, and how shareable different forms of content are.
Your company’s social media account is not a great place for in-your-face advertising. People do not want to see posts that read “30% off, today only!” Consumers are more interested in reading informational blogs or articles about a product than seeing ads. This gives businesses a great opportunity to educate clients. Keep your content fresh, relatable, relevant to your target audience, and pertinent to your business.
After gaining some insight into how these tools are used, monitor the trends. Most of these platforms make analysis straightforward. It can be extremely helpful to jump in and use popular terms and images – and recognize they are always changing. Never use any method that you are not completely sure you understand.
Many trendy terms and hashtags are references. If you do not know what it refers to or where it came from, do not use it. Burger King learned this the hard way with their #WTFF campaign. Apparently, WTFF is an acronym for more than just “What the French Fry.”
With this in mind, educate your team about how each of these mediums should be used, and keep in mind that a personal account works differently than a business one, though you should aim to make you social media as personal as possible. Budget your human and financial resources to implement your strategy. Once launched, proceed with care, always putting the customer first. With these steps in mind, and tools in your back pocket, your social media campaign will soar.