Grow Your Social Media with these 5 Key Steps
Social media is huge! So huge in fact it accounts to 27% of all time spent online. Social media has created a new way for consumers to discover brands and for marketers to reach out further to potential customers. Incredibly 93% of marketers today say that they use social media for business growth. Last year (2013) saw a surge in popularity for platforms including Pintrest, Instagram and Vine. This year we're expecting even more sites to pick up traction including Google's own Google+ which is becoming an essential part of people's daily lives.
However, to make the most of this incredible marketing channel, here are five essential steps you should adopt for successful social media marketing.
1) Plan your strategy
A clear digital strategy is essential for successfully driving sales and leads from social media. 25% of small businesses do not have any strategy in place for their social media marketing. Appreciate that each social network has its own audience demographic and that you should make your choice as to which platforms best suit your business based on their target customers.
Here are some demographic differences between some of the leading networks.
Facebook is the leading social media network, with 67% of people online using it.
60% of these Facebook users are female.
A 28 years old female is the average user on Twitter.
18-29 year olds tend to be the primary user of Instagram.
Pintrest is heavily used by the female gender, with 80% of users being female and those which have higher education and higher earnings.
With these in mind, you need to take the time to research your customer. What is their personality type? What is their lifestyle? What value can you add for them online?
Having selected the appropriate channels, monitor what your competition is doing. What is working for them? Start creating a social content calendar, as this will help you to organise, plan ahead and remain consistent with a social content schedule.
2) Quality content is vital
There is no denying that audience engagement is vastly improved with quality content. This can make the difference between your content being shared across multiple platforms and helps to generate more interest in a brand. Quality content also makes a difference when it comes to your organic SEO.
So what exactly do we mean by quality content?
Relevance to your target audience
To write like a master you need to embrace humour but also promote authortive knowledge of the subject, your industry and your audience. With content being so crucial to social success, you, as a social media marketer, should experiment to see what works best for you, even if they are successes or failures.
3) Visuals engage
A study by the University of Harvard shows that 70% of all Facebook activity revolves around the posting of images and that 44% of all users are more likely to interact with brands if they use pictures in their posts. On top of that 121% more shares were generated when using professional quality photos with an average of 90.64 shares per post.
Because of this love for visuals, social networks like Vine, Pintrest, Tumblr and Instagram are becoming increasingly more popular. You need to think ahead and create your strategy incorporating images at every opportunity.
Don't forget, when scrolling down a Facebook newsfeed, it is the images which secure the most feed space, increasing brand visibility and decreasing the chances it is missed. This is especially true on mobile devices, as images greatly increase the visibility of a post. Furthermore, studies have shown that people are more likely to remember the contents of a post when accompanied with a striking image.
4) Don't forget to be active and responsive
When your customers flock to your business' social platforms to post comments, don't forget, they are going to expect you to be social as well. Microsoft and Xbox are two excellent examples (among many businesses) which openly embrace Twitter for customer relations and support.
Boasting an impressive 1.3 million tweets, the Xbox support profile is one of the most active and responsive brand feeds on Twitter. It even goes so far as to call itself "the most responsive brand on Twitter".
With an average of just 42 minutes per response to feed mentions, the Microsoft Support Twitter feed is lightening fast when compared to traditional customer service outlets.
With this in mind you need to remember that simply responding is not enough. If you are too automated with your responses it could get you into trouble through inappropriate responses. Responding with a generic reply could inadvertently promote negative attention and you could be seen to be uncaring. Public perception is a big deal when it comes to social media as customers want to feel that they're interacting with a human instead of an automated response robot.
5) Get your ruler out and measure those metrics
Although there are hundreds of millions of social media interactions every day and the majority of businesses embrace the power of social media marketing, incredibly 25% have no strategy in place to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns.
I can bet that through the time and money you spend on social media marketing, you'll want to see a return on your investment. Measuring metrics is one the best ways to measure activity and to see where it can be improved.
A few metrics which you should definitely keep track of are:
Click through rates from posts onto your business profile
The number of shares you receive across various networks
Website traffic generated from social channels. (You may even find activity coming from platforms you don't even use)
As with traditional marketing, one of the main goals of social media marketing is to increase sales. On the same hand maintaining brand awareness is just as important. By monitoring these key metrics you can adjust your social media tactics to increase efficiency and return on investment. Which let's be honest, is the bottom line for determining whether any marketing strategy is effective.
Social media must be employed if you want to be successful in business. By failing to plan and measure results, you're setting yourself up for a fall. Listen to what your audience is saying and engage at every opportunity.
What tactics have you employed through your social media activity? What works and what doesn’t?
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and gained some insights into making the most out of your social presence. Check out my page on social media marketing for info on my services including strategy building, social media management and social media growth.