So you want to get involved in the social media?
Well, no problem- all you have to do is set up a Facebook page or start up a Twitter account, and hey presto your business can ride the social media wave too. If only it were that simple. That might have been sufficient at one time, though even that’s debatable, but these days social media marketing is a lot more complicated and nuanced than that. It’s no longer acceptable to simply set up a Facebook page and post updates when time permits: social media users want much more. They want information and engagement and, more importantly, they want creativity. If your business is not prepared to fully engage with the process, then frankly you’re wasting your time.
Social media marketing is a powerful tool.
If it’s used correctly it can create leads and drive sales. But for it to work effectively there has to be a carefully considered and structured plan which addresses issues like strategy, content, creativity and analytics. If you really want your business to ride the social media wave, then you consider the following points:
Why do you need a social media strategy? Well, it’s simple really: you need a game plan. You need to know where you’re going, and, more importantly, you’ll need to have a clear idea how you’re going to get there. The important thing to remember is that, whilst the ultimate aim of your social media marketing efforts might be to increase sales, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are not direct selling platforms. If you use these platforms to simply pitch products and promote special offers, then ultimately even the best laid strategies will come unstuck. To generate leads and increase sales you’ll need to build a loyal and committed audience, and that can only be achieved by providing interesting and well-planned content which involves and engages readers.
At the heart of every great social media campaign is great content. Interesting posts and thoughtful insights engage readers and ultimately help to build a brand’s online reputation. Good content will attract new readers: great content will keep them engaged and loyal. However, whilst this might sound a little counter-intuitive, it’s important to remember that it’s not the ‘brand’ that’s important per se: it’s the way people interact with and respond to the brand that’s crucial. In order to build a sense of brand loyalty, it’s important that businesses not only provide fresh and interesting content, but also content that is pitched so that it fulfils the expectations of its audience.
What do readers share most on social media networks – informative and interesting content, or funny and amusing stuff? Well, a little bit of everything really. There’s a place for everything on Facebook and Twitter, be that original or educational content or contentious and controversial content. Good content sparks engagement and encourages brand loyalty. But what about company information? Is there no place for that? Well, obviously there is, but it has to be tempered. The type of content that is readily shared is the creative stuff. It gets the conversation going and engages the audience. The more creative you can be, the more likely it is to be shared
Social media marketing is no different than any other marketing strategy: its success can only be judged by measuring its effectiveness. But how do you judge ROI on social media? Well, that’s the $64,000 question. Unlike other marketing strategies, ROI on social media is a bit vague and opaque. The easiest way to analyse the effectiveness of a social media marketing strategy is by tracking and measuring the content on social media accounts. If users are sharing their experiences with your brand with friends and family then the social media strategy is working effectively. If they’re not, then it’s time to tweak the content to make it more valuable and sharable.