What is Social Media Marketing?
Wikipedia defines social media marketing as “the use of social media platforms and websites to promote a product or service”. This to me although accurate, widely understates what social media can do. The potential benefits to your business of an effective social media strategy are great and profound, they include:
- Raising brand profile and awareness
- Targeting key audiences with personalised messaging
- Increasing traffic to your website
- Improved communication with customers and other stakeholders
The Digital Marketing Revolution
Typically, with a traditional marketing approach you would place an ad in a newspaper, on the radio or on the television. These are expensive, time consuming and require you to create a general message that can capture the widest possible audience. With Social Media Marketing you can more easily scale your budget as your business grows and you can tailor your messages to specific audiences. Facebook and Twitter for example contain a wealth of information on users which it allows businesses to use to select where and by whom they want their messages to be seen. Even politicians are getting in on the act, tailoring messages for different social groups and for different parts of the country.
Improving brand recognition is one of the most important marketing goals of any growing business. Customers buy from brands that they know and trust. When we think of Apple for example, immediately we make the association with high quality and aesthetically beautiful products. Social Media has such a huge advantage over traditional media in this area because it can put your brand in front of people much more quickly and easily.
And it isn’t just reaching new customers where an effective Social Media strategy can impact your business, but also in retaining and building better relationships with existing customers. Customers now expect companies to handle their requests through social media. A strong investment in Social Media customer service can help build meaningful relationships between your company and your customers. Social Media allows for immediate interaction and customer feedback.
If proof were needed of the potential reach of social media one need only need look at the eye watering number of users. By 2021 the number of active social media users is expected to reach just over 3 billion users, over a third of the planet’s entire population. More people now use social media then watch television. And it is not just user numbers which is growing but user engagement also, on average global internet users are spending now around 135 minutes per day surfing social networks. For businesses that want to thrive in the 21st century making their presence felt on these platforms is now essential.
Getting Started With Social Media Marketing
To get you started here are our tips on what you need to be doing to get your Social Media Marketing game up to scratch:
Plan Your Posting Schedule
The first thing you will want to do is ensure you plan how you are going to post your content. Consistency is key here, sticking to a regular schedule will keep you in your customers minds. And you will also need to plan which platforms you want to focus on. The different platforms have different audiences, for sports gear for instance Instagram would be the place to be as it is full of fitness fanatics and gym junkies.
The second thing you will want to do is make sure that your content strategy is aligned with your social media marketing strategy. If you are posting on a blog regularly, make sure it is shared out at the correct times on your social media platforms. Engage with influencers on your social platforms sharing your content with them. Make sure you mix up your content, include videos, infograms, images and blog posts.
Stay on Brand
Keep your branding consistent. The idea is that you want to build authority in your domain, a consistent brand image is vital. Each platform will have its own unique environment, but you want to make sure that the core of what your business is about shines through. Be friendly, be fun and build trust.
Examine the competition
Observing what others are doing in your domain can give you insights in what works and also help when thinking about how you can stand out. If your competitors are all using one particular platform heavily it is probably a good indicator that this is where your customers are. Examine what they do and do it better.
Track Your Performance
Use the analytical tools that are available to track performance. All of the social media platforms offer analytics tools in some way, shape or form. Facebook for instance gives you information regarding how your page has performed in as a whole (example below) and once you start delving into the back end Ads Platform of Facebook, you can review detailed breakdowns of how people have engaged with each post or advert you publish. This information as a valuable feedback mechanism to consistently review and pivot your Social Media Marketing strategy.
Facebook Page Analytics Overview
The Different Social Media Platforms
There are now a wide range of different social media platforms. Each platform will have its own unique aspects to it, will have slightly different users bases and will require a slightly different approach to be utilised properly.
Facebook is designed as a tool to connect with friends and family. It is a relaxed environment so keep things light and friendly. You will want to create a page for your business which you update regularly with relevant content. Fans of your brand will typically to engage heavily Facebook. Engage back with them and you will find that your Facebook followers will become amongst your best advertisers.
Instagram is all about visual appeal. Top quality attention grabbing photos and videos about your business should live here. Coupled with some insightful, thought-provoking captions to offset your stunning imagery can really make your business shine in the eyes of potential clients or customers and enhance the brand value of your business.
Pinterest is an image sharing platform with a very large female audience. Pinterest is a great place to showcase your products. If you are service business infograms can be highly effective here. To get the best out of Pinterest be creative and remember that you targeting a female audience.
Twitter is an interesting one. It is used primarily as quick way to talk to customers directly and for customers to get in touch with you. Done properly twitter can help build your brand up in your domain. When your customers engage with you make sure you retweet positive feedback. The key to getting the most out of twitter is communicating effectively, responding to customers quickly and promoting a fun positive image.
LinkedIn is the professional network. It is used by business people and professionals. This is a great place to be if you are in the business to business market. LinkedIn does however require a lot of effort to build authority and get recognition. You will need to demonstrate you really know what you are talking about, people like brands that are encouraging motivational and are innovating on LinkedIn.
Primarily a video sharing platform, and whilst this platform is used to host videos for a wide range of applications, this is inherently a social platform allowing your subscribers to follow your video messages comment and like. There is no doubt that video is at the forefront of digital marketing and YouTube provides a platform for your business to communicate the maximum about of information in the shortest time. Used well YouTube can take your business to the next level of professionalism and some businesses have been created entire from the ground up using the YouTube Platform.
The creation of original content showcasing your business for the individuality of the service or product you provide is now a key facet of an effective overall digital marketing strategy. Nowadays when we want something we tend to search google. The links that pop up are content which all of us now consume daily. The aim of an effective content creation strategy is to captivate your audience and build authority.
There is a broad and diverse range of things on the internet which constitute content. News articles, opinion pieces, blogs, how to video’s or even simply top-quality images. Top quality content now guides much of our decision making which includes importantly for businesses our purchase decisions. When we buy a new electronic goods for example many of us will go onto YouTube to look at reviews and comparisons.
Online content is now a large part of our lives. Most millennials now live and breathe this stuff. What we want to do as effective marketeers is leverage content that will attract new customers, keep these new customers engaged and then entice them with a fantastic range of services and offerings.
Why is creating top quality content important?
Content creation is now the daddy of digital marketing. It is used by everyone from politicians, to celebrities, to chefs, to fitness fanatics, to self help gurus, to NGO’s, to foreign governments, to businesses of all shapes and sized. Even the United Nations has taken to promoting itself using digital content.
From a business perspective the potential returns on investment from an effective content marketing strategy are huge.
- Content marketing is a low-cost marketing tool compared traditional methods.
- Business that use content marketing obtain 126% more lead as opposed to business which do not.
- As much as 61% of purchases made online now are the result of customers reading relevant content online.
- Companies that blog regularly have 3 times more traffic going to their website then companies that do not.
Creating top quality, engaging content now equates to business growth. If your business doesn’t have an effective content strategy it needs one.
Developing a content creation strategy requires a plan and there are many things to consider in ensuring the plan is right for your business.
Who are you creating content for?
There are many different digital marketing channels to choose from for developing content and getting your brand out there. In choosing which one to you use you need to define who you are targeting your services and at where they are likely to be, if for instance you are selling healthcare supplements, Instagram would be great place to go as there are a lot of fitness fanatics, yogis and sportspeople on that platform.
What problem are you trying to solve?
Every product and service you sell is solving a problem or satisfying a need. Your content should educate your customers on how your service does this. Our business for instance is a digital marketing business aimed at solving the problem of getting your brand out there and bringing in customers. This blog is about how using online digital content creation can help bring in leads and prospects. A clear problem with content created to show how our services solve that problem.
Why are you unique amongst your competitors?
The internet is awash with content, to stand our in a crowded field you must demonstrate why you are unique. As with other forms of marketing this is all about creating a brand. You need to think about what you want your brand to represent and tailor content creation so that it is consistent with this message.
Which Format is right for you?
As alluded to earlier there are many different types of content. Whether videography or blogging is right for you depends on your product and the market you are marketing it to. If you are an education resource creating YouTube videos is a good place to start for as people typically use YouTube for this purpose and if you are selling to business, you probably want more in depth writing with white papers and blogs showing what you can do in the business services market. The format will also dictate which channels are best for your content strategy.
How are you going to manage content creation?
Finally, you will need to come up with a strategy of how you are going to manage your content strategy. If you are going to stick with a blogging strategy for instance you need to set up a regular schedule of how often you are going to publish and what types of articles you are going to include. You will need to be consistent with this for two reasons. Number one search engines reward consistency and number two regularly creating content build authority with your brand and keeps customers coming back.
Content creation is a marketing tool that has the potential to massively increase returns on investment to your business. Once you have an effective strategy and process in place for content creation you will see a steady inflow of prospects. If used effectively it will turn your brand into an authority in your market.
If you need help with your business Content Marketing, please get in touch so that we can assist you further.
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