When thinking about marketing your business on social media, you probably have a few questions when first starting out.
- Are social media strategies necessary?
- What type of content will engage my target audience?
- What should I keep in mind when posting?
- How do I convey a unique brand voice?
These questions are very common when entering the intimidating world of social media. Marketing your business on social media may seem like a walk in the park, however, there’s more to it than simply posting online. Everything you post online should be apart of a broader social media strategy uniquely tailored to your brand. Doing social media right is like hosting a dinner party. It's your job to keep the chatter flowing and fun, while also creating a welcoming atmosphere. Being a party host takes a solid plan, an open mind, and close attention to the wants and needs of your guests. The same goes for running an effective social media account. The 4 things you should pay attention to while doing social media are voice, content, timing, and conversation. Let's explore all of them in more detail.
As if you were a high-end suit tailor, your presence on social media should be customized to fit your target audience. Try getting to know them on a more personal level by learning about their interests, occupation, where they live, sites they visit, etc.
When you post content online, the amount posted greatly impacts your brand on social media. The trick is to avoid drowning your target audience in posts while still being relatively active and maintained. You want your audience to be engaged, not annoyed by your presence. Start by finding out when they are most active online and it should only take 1 - 2 quality posts per platform everyday to spark engagement.
Content should represent your brand, create conversation, and showcase a consistent style. Don't use social media as a place to sell yourself or a product, use it to tell your story.
Imagine your audience as the ultimate focus group... ask them questions, initiate discussions, and respond in a thoughtful manner. Also, don't be hesitant to incorporate a call to action (CTA) into your conversations. For example, you could ask them if they have any relevant photos or stories they would like to submit or by notifying them of a sale you are having to encourage them to visit your website. It's okay to drive sales through social media on occasion, however, make sure you are keeping your customers engaged and entertained.
Social media allows us to connect with anyone around the world directly and you can certainly use this to your advantage. Reach out to various influencers (i.e. bloggers, industry experts, celebrities, politicians, etc) and increase your online presence.
Social Advertising Tactics
Social media display ads are great at effectively connecting with your target audience. This is because it allows businesses to reach audiences based on occupation, interests, locations, gender and general shared information. The best part about social media ads is that they can measure how effective a particular ad is allowing you to tailor it accordingly. In addition, you can also keep track of the amount of leads brought in by an advertisement and/or the amount of people signing up or performing other actions based on your CTA (call to action). These are all useful features, however, social media ads must be set up and ran strategically in order to unleash their full potential.
1. Set Goals & Objectives
Start by deciding what you would like each ad to help you achieve. Do want want more newsletter signups? An increase in profits? More followers on Twitter? Whatever your goal may be, always take the time to make sure your ads' visuals, messaging and calls to action contribute to achieving that goal.
2. Research Target Audience
Don’t simply look over demographics and call it a day… be confident you are targeting the ideal audiences by examining the practices of similar businesses. Ask yourself “Who would I like to follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn?” and then create advertisements custom attuned to those people. Also, keep in mind, not every social media platform is ideal for your specific brand and goals. If you’re wondering where you should be investing, analyze your website data. Determine and make note of the social media channels driving the greatest amount of traffic your way.
Create an advertisement on a social platform without buying or running the ad. This is a great way to gain valuable insights into the targeting capabilities of that particular social platform.
3. Develop & Test Creative Elements
One of the best ways of coming up with the proper message for your ad, I've discovered, is to explore past posts. Open your social media time capsule and pull out your most popular non-paid posts... study how the post is written, the tone of voice being conveyed, the visuals of the content, and what contributed to crafting a successful social ad.
In terms of visuals, your ad should represent brand guidelines and your customer should be familiar with the imagery being presented. To track the performance of your creative elements, utilize third-party analytics tools like Marketo and Saleforce to monitor ads and test variations. Ultimately, this lets you be more hands on with tracking, versus relying solely on the analytics provided by the social platforms.
4. Measure ROI (Return-on-Investment)
If your goal is conversions or sales, a good ROI means you end up making more from your social advertisements than you spent on them. It's a great feeling, I know. If you want to track which site customers came from you can use UTM-coded URLs added onto your site URL. Also, some social media platforms now offer pixel tracking programs so you can embed snippets of code to visualize how people interact with your particular ad.
If your goal is generating leads, you can assess your ROI by figuring out your cost of acquisition (how much each lead is worth to your business). You can obtain this information by calculating your average conversion rate.
Running Successful Online Giveaways
Want to win big with your audience? Run an online giveaway. Similar to offering free pizza to attract people to an event, online giveaways attract users to your post. More importantly, it encourages engagement by motivating people to share content and interact with your company. There are two main types of giveaways you can run: sweepstakes and contests.
SWEEPSTAKES: Like the lottery, they are purely based on chance.
CONTESTS: Requires people to take action to enter (i.e. posting a photo or entering an email).
It doesn't matter what type of giveaway you choose to run, it is important that you establish your business goals first. Do you want to boost social engagement, generate leads, drive sales, or something else? For example, if your seeking to generate leads, you could make email addresses a requirement when signing up. After your goals are set, you're ready to find a tool that will help you plan and construct a giveaway that's right for your brand and target audience. It's important to make sure you select a tool that's supported on multiple platforms considering so much social media activity occurs on mobile. Campaign building services like ShortStack, Offerpop and Stackla can help you. Once you have decided on a service, you will have to find a home for your giveaway on a microsite, social media platform, or a devoted page on your website.
To create buzz around your giveaway, make sure you have the time and resources to run a promotional campaign that leads up to the launch date. Check if you can promote on social media channels. If you can, publish posts about the giveaway on them and in your email newsletters. Also, consider running paid social ads and search and display ads to gain exposure. You can also track which social media channels are gaining the most entries by creating a UTM link.
Once the giveaway is underway, promote content the contestants have created and the prizes you're offering across marketing channels. When coming up with ideas for prizes, think of ones that are relevant and appropriate for your brand, audience, and the type of giveaway you're running. If you're asking people to submit something that takes a considerable amount of time, make the prize worth while. Very few people will submit a photo of themselves in a llama costume at a stranger's wedding for a free soda. They might, however, if it's for a years worth of soda. After the giveaway has ended, measure how close you are to reaching your business goals. Compare entries to your existing contact list to see whether the giveaway brought new leads and if any existing contacts participated.
Working with Social Media Influencers
Imagine there's a new company called Linx that sells cuff links . Linx has had early success with a small, loyal customer base, but they're hoping to reach a lager audience. Linx knows they will sell the majority of their cuff links to fashion-forward men in their twenties. They are also aware that this audience is very active on social media and men's style blogs. With this in mind, they start brainstorming ways to convince potential customers that Linx is an authentic brand that sells unique, high-quality cuff links.
Now imagine there's a men's fashion blogger named Fritz who has a popular website and a sizable social media following. Linx thinks they could get new customers if Fritz wrote about them, so they reach out and send him several free pairs of cuffs links. They also offer to do a cross promotion where Fritz writes a series of posts on the Linx blog. Fritz has never heard of Linx, but he falls in love with the brand. He posts pictures of himself wearing their cuff links on social media platforms and agrees to write for the Linx website. Fritz's posts get 30,000+ likes and help Linx reach half a million potential customers. Linx gets new customers and Fritz gets new fans. Everyone wins.
Who are social media influencers?
They are bloggers, celebrities, experts, and others who have a big impact on online (and offline) culture. Because of their social clout, social media influencers can be valuable to your brand and marketing. After all, they often do come with tens of thousands of followers who actively follow them and respect their opinions. An endorsement from an influencer can add an extra layer of authenticity to your brand, and help people relate to your products and services on a more personal level. That can ultimately build your brand's awareness, trust, and favorability, and give your social media following a nice, lead-generating boost.
How do you figure out which influencers to engage?
Start by figuring out how your brand fits into the social media landscape. Examine the brand category you're in (lifestyle, technology, auto, etc.) and check which social media platforms your target audience is most active on. Next research which influencers your audience is already following, and make a list of the most prominent ones who are also in your brand category. Larger brands might approach this step differently than smaller ones. If you are a larger brand, you might use a digital agency that specializes in sourcing influencers with a broad, global reach. If you're a smaller brand, you might want to utilize services like Klout to help you assess influencers who have a local following. Evaluate these influencers' social media content and how it would appeal to your target audience.
Once you're ready to engage with influencers, get on their radar before jumping into offers and negotiations. Basically, be social on social media: Share the influencers' posts, photos, Tweets, or other content. Also, don't forget to give them shout outs or tag them.
After you've made yourself known to an influencer by engaging with them, you're ready to get in touch. There are different ways of doing this, including messaging them directly through their social media channels, looking for contact information on their website, or finding a mutual contact who can connect you. Ideally, influencers you contact will be interested in your products. Just make sure to find influencers whose follower count is more in your ballpark. Now you can take this information, compile a list of influencers, and get out the door!
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