How to start a social media marketing strategy
In recent years, social media has been changing the way businesses communicate. Networks like Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn offer ways to connect directly with your prospects, build relationships and get attention. Hence, the question “Should I use a social media marketing strategy to promote my business?” is no longer applicable. Rather business owners should rather ask, “How should I use social media to promote my business?”Social media marketing can be a low-cost advertising method for new businesses just getting started.
For small businesses, having a social media marketing strategy is essential. Despite that, more than one-third of them don’t have social media accounts. Even those with an account and profile do not have the time or proper training to use social media as an effective marketing tool. As a result, most small business’ social media marketing strategy tends to fail in terms of reach and profitability.
In contrast, businesses that create an effective social media marketing strategy can easily delight their customers through their responsiveness, while also increasing sales and repeats.
So, how do you get there? Here are the 5 steps to creating a buzz in your market.
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Get a social media marketing strategy in 5 steps
It’s not a strategy if you don’t make a plan. Here’s your guide:
- Know what you want to achieve.
- Understand who your ideal customer is.
- Share items of interest.
- Identify and watch key measures of success.
- Create a community.
Social media marketing doesn’t have to be complex or expensive. Start small and go from there.
#1. Know what you want to achieve
Before you come up with a strategy, it is important to identify where you are and where you want to be. Many small business owners today have a website and some even have a Facebook page. But they are often not sure what to do with them.
Before you begin, it is a good idea to set some goals.
Do you want more visitors to your website? Are you pushing to find more potential customers? Do you simply want people to know about your business? All of these are critical questions. The answers will help you start developing your strategy.
#2. Understand who your ideal customer is
Suppose you are a small business owner in India selling a health drink for children. You would identify your target market as parents. However, the idea is to be more specific — so you won’t just know who will buy your product but also a little something about them.
For example, your key target might be parents:
- Between 25 and 45 years (age)
- Living in north and west India (location where the product is marketed)
- Above monthly income of Rs. 10,000 (job/income)
- Primarily use Facebook (social media habits)
Knowing all this will give you a highly-focused buyer persona and guarantee greater success in your marketing efforts.
#3. Share items of interest
Once you know who your ideal customer is, and what you want to achieve, posting meaningful content to social media can be fun.
So, what are we saying when we talk about ‘content’? Here are a few examples of things you could post on social media:
- Helpful tips
- Funny or entertaining images
- Informative videos
- Useful infographics
You can also add links in your posts that take readers to company press releases, interviews, expert columns and downloadable eBooks and eBrochures.
The list of things to share can be endless. What’s important is aligning content with your company’s philosophy and product or service.
Using the example of the business selling a health drink for children, their posts, videos and infographics would likely be related to children’s health.
#4. Identify and watch key measures of success
To know if your social media marketing efforts are successful, you should make note of who responds.
Lois Freail, a social media evangelist, argues that ‘vanity metrics’ such as Followers, Page views and Likes, are not the right way to measure the impact of your social media efforts. Instead, you should focus on engagement.
In other words, how much people are interacting with your content — sharing, clicking or re-Tweeting your posts and so on.
A few metrics to consider watching are:
This is the percentage of users who take a desired action. An example would be if your Tweet is shared by 12 people and 8 of them buy something after clicking through to your website. Conversation rate refers to the latter category.
Reach measures the spread of a social media conversation. You can track the social media reach of your posts, hashtags and events to see what people like. As you learn which posts are most widely shared, you can create more content like that.
This is the perceived positive or negative mood resulting from a social media post or engagement. Measuring social sentiment is an essential part of any social media monitoring.
The total number of shares indicates how much your readers like your posts.
Using a social media tool to measure effectiveness is most marketers’ secret sauce. Whether it’s a simple plug-in or Google analytics, social media analytics help you do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
# 5. Create a community
A key factor in effective social media marketing is to ensure that your content has reach and engagement.
Let’s say you are the proprietor of an ice cream parlor. You should aim to keep the target audience engaged with not only posts on ice creams and the outlet photos.
For example, hosting ‘A big scoop Wednesday’ where you offer kids below 15 years a second scoop for free or discounted rate.
It is a good idea to engage on profiles using ‘location tag’ to get people aware of your presence in their locality.
It is important that you respond to comments rapidly and create stories that get people excited to participate. You can also work on local events and topics trending within your community.
Profit is the underlying motive of any marketing strategy. And it is no different in the case of a social media marketing strategy. But the key focus should be on the customer’s delight — to wow and woo your customers. To ensure they come back to you again and again!
When you receive enthusiastic or positive feedback from a client, ask them to share their experience publicly on Facebook, Google reviews or even directly on your website as a testimonial.
At the same time, never ignore negative feedback on social media and leave it unattended. Respond Immediately and try to address the issue to the commenter’s satisfaction.
Finally, it is important to remember the three C’s of any social media marketing strategy … Content, Community and Conversation! If you get it, you are already there. All the best!