If you’re thinking of taking your first steps into social media marketing, there’s one simple piece of advice we would give you, and it’s this: don’t do anything unless you’ve thought it through properly and come up with a formal structured plan.
Social media marketing relies of engaging with your audience, but if you go into this without a plan and a clear idea where you want to head, all you’ll do is alienate the very audience you’re trying to court. So, all your time and efforts will be wasted.
So what issues should you be addressing before taking the plunge into social media marketing?
Well, you firstly need to ensure that your website – if it’s up and running – is mobile-friendly as many users access social media platforms through mobile devices. Then you need to make sure you’re targeting the right platform; that is, a social media platform that suits your business. You’ll also need to commit to the project one hundred percent, as anything less than this will soon be noticed by your audience. Finally you have to be prepared to put in the effort and keep abreast of all the changes that happen regularly in the digital landscape. Because if you aren’t up to speed; you’ll be out of the game.
Why you need a mobile-friendly website.
You can thank Google for this. The search giant updated its algorithm in April this year so that its search pages better reflected the way users searched for information. Many users search for information via mobile phones and tablet devices, and as a consequence they want to see information delivered fast and delivered clearly. Cut-down desk top websites simply can’t deliver this. All you get is a frozen screen or just a fraction of the information you’re searching for.
Users want fast responses, so business need to have a separate dedicated version of their website for mobile users. What happens if a business doesn’t? Well, the chances are that you will no longer be found in a Google mobile search. Don’t think you can get away by relying on other search engines either: Bing has followed suit and is toeing the mobile-friendly line too.
Choose your social media platform carefully.
Social media and demographics are inextricably linked. If you’re targeting a young audience, go down the Snapchat or Instagram route: if you’re dealing with a crafty or DIY market stick with Pinterest. If you’re looking for a social platform that will reach the widest audience, then you’re better sticking to the big 3 platforms – Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
When you’ve identified the right platform for your business, then make sure you commit to it. Users’ expectations have grown and grown in recent years: they are no longer satisfied with sales information and special offers. They want more – much more. They want company, industry and product information, customer reviews, referrals, questions, and they want the platform to act as a real-time customer service venue. Above all else, users want businesses to be ‘social’ and to interact with them in all sorts of different ways. If you’re not prepared to commit to this, then forget it.
Commit to the cause, and stay committed.
What turns users off most quickest? The answer’s simple: it’s an abandoned or neglected social media site. To succeed you’ll need to keep your social site regularly updated, and you’ll have to monitor it, responding to and dealing with complaints and questions promptly and efficiently. Social media competition is tough and cutthroat as it is: there’s absolutely no point in making it tougher still.
Keep abreast of changes.
What’s the one constant in the digital world? It’s change. New sites come online every day, and older more-established sites change their rules and algorithms to ensure they’re targeting the right audience most effectively. Just because your old strategy may have worked 6 months ago is no guarantee that it will still cut the mustard today. If you fail to keep up with the changes at best you’ll be ignored or overlooked: at worst you could have your site closed down.
So if you want to stay relevant socially, keep your ear to the ground and press your nose to the wheel.