Social media has come a long way since the early prototype of Facebook was developed in a Stanford dorm. Over the years, several social media channels came, conquered, and died a silent death. Social networking platforms paved the way for social media marketing and social business, giving businesses an opportunity to build stronger relationships with their customer base.
Social media marketing has become a crucial advertising operation for most businesses. If done right, it can boost social engagement and drive brand awareness, thus increasing conversions and resulting in a higher return on investment.
Here is a list of ten effective tips for better social media marketing:
1. Have a Strategy
Just like an advertising strategy is at the core of offline marketing, it must form the basis for social media marketing campaigns. When creating a social media strategy, think about the following:
- Demographic segment of user base – demographic statistics will help you create updates that resonate well with your target market and build relationships.
- Competitor analysis – understand how your competitors are marketing their services but don’t copy their social media strategy. Take tips on how they’re keeping users engaged and what type of content they are sharing.
- Industry – social media is great for e-commerce, B2C, financial, and automotive markets. B2B’s may have to create an alternative marketing strategy. A great example is the Dell Social Media for Business page.
- Social engagement strategies – depending on your business model, social engagement strategies may range from hosting contests, giveaways, providing freebies, or allowing users to share content.
2. Create an Actionable Social Media Plan
Social media is not limited to using Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. An actionable social media marketing plan needs to include information on creating action worthy updates and shareable content. It should also take into account how your target audience uses social media and the pages they visit.
Use data from Google Analytics to ascertain important statistics or get demographic data from QuantCast.
3. Understand What Your Customers Want
An effective social strategy is one that takes into account what your customers are looking for and how they interact with social channels like Facebook and Twitter. They are visiting your page for a reason – to find information about your brand, products, or services, to participate in any ongoing events, to share testimonials, or to ask questions.
When you provide them with information they are seeking, you build trust. This trust then builds lasting relationships. Let’s say a Facebook fan asked you a question about a certain product and you helped them with their query and also provided them with store information where they could buy your product. When they walk into a store, they remember the conversation with your brand, thus increasing sales and also recommend your brand to their friends and family.
4. Don’t Share Everything Under the Sun
As mentioned above, people are on your page for a reason. They are not interested in knowing what you had for lunch or what you’re cooking for dinner. They want to be engaged with information that relates to your brand.
For example: You’re an e-commerce website that sells fun, quirky accessories for home and personal use. An interactive social update could be – “What are you guys doing on the weekend? We’re gonna chill out with beer in these awesome mugs (insert link)”. This makes your fans take notice of the product and even order it for their weekend party.
5. Build Referral Traffic
Referral traffic is the traffic received through a website where your site’s hyperlinks have been posted. These hyperlinks could be links to products, services, or blog posts. Facebook and more recently, Pinterest are a great way of driving referral traffic to your website.
Share links to blog posts, new product launches, and interesting bits of information on your Facebook page. You can ascertain the amount of referral traffic by tracking the number of times a post has been shared.
Google Analytics helps businesses track referral traffic.
6. Work Hard and Work Smart
The old adage “Smart work is more important than hard work” may not be relevant in social business. Your target audience can be online any time of the day. To build a socially active community, you must post frequently and provide shareable content.
Use social media management dashboards like HootSuite to manage social media marketing effectively.
7. Build Meaningful Social Relationships
Many startups may find the social media cloud daunting. Competing with global brands is a challenge for many small and medium local businesses.
This has resulted in an increase in spammy applications that promise to get you 10,000 fans for a fixed fee. Businesses don’t realize that these most of these fans are bots and these bots do more harm than good.
Strong social relationships are formed when real people interact with your page. If you’re just starting out, Facebook’s sponsored stories feature can help you find people who’re interested in what you offer.
8. Integrated Marketing
Social media is a channel that helps you advertise blogs, products, services, and more through one page. Integrate your RSS feed so your fans or followers never miss an update from you.
Use a service like NetworkedBlogs to syndicate feeds.
9. Don’t be Blind
It’s okay if your competitors have a thriving Facebook page with hundred thousand fans. Don’t copy what they’re doing – it will not be original and it may not give you the same results.
By adopting different social strategies, you will eventually be able to do better than competing brands.
10. Keep Experimenting
Social media offers a huge virtual playground. Keep experimenting and fine tuning your social media strategy till you reach a point where you start seeing value in what you’re doing.
These tips will help you hone your social media strategy and have a better understanding of the importance of social advertising. Irrespective of what your business is, you should be able to imbibe these in some form to build a socially engaged community of fans.