Your target audience uses social media on a daily basis.
Everyone does. Sites like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest provide aspiring businesses with an opportunity to convert new leads and retain relationships with existing customers on their own terrain. The only thing you need is a good engagement strategy.
So, how much is social media management? If you do it yourself, it’s free. If you’re hiring a third party service to manage your profiles, the costs will vary based on the company and the marketing strategy you’re implementing. With that said, there are plenty of things you can do without spending a fortune.
Here’s how to use social media as a marketing tool in eight easy steps.
- Establish and Align Strategic Marketing Goals
Social media can increase your traffic with as little as six hours of investment per week, or at least that’s what it did for 81% of marketers in 2015. What it can’t do is replace your email, PPC, or SEO. Don’t forget – social media is only one part of your general marketing strategy.
Which means that you need to examine it in the context of your overall business goals.
The first step for building an effective social media marketing strategy is to define what this approach will aim to accomplish and how will it fit into your holistic marketing efforts. Establish strategic goals and make them S.M.A.R.T. – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.
- Know Your Customers’ Social Media Habits
As with any other business strategy, you then need to determine who your audience is.
Start with your target audience and ideal buyer personas to pinpoint which social media sites they prefer and how they usually use them. Do they like spending their time on social media at all? If yes, then do they use these sites for interacting with their favorite brands? How?
You can leverage on-site quizzes as a tool for generating this kind of insight.
Using a simple online quiz maker, you can create engaging quizzes where your customers will express their thoughts on branded social media content, ads, and stores. Alternatively, you can tap into online resources to determine social media habits for different demographics.
- Follow Your Competitors on Social Media
A competitive analysis will give you additional insight into what social media followers are expecting from brands that belong to your niche. Use social listening to do some snooping around and find out what your competitors are doing right and where are they failing on social media.
This will allow you to finetune your strategy, if not spot new opportunities.
Pay attention to your competitors with the greatest and smallest social media following and try to determine what makes their engagement rates so drastically disproportionate. They have the same strategic goals as you; it’s how they approach them that makes all the difference.
- Determine Which Networks to Use
Your marketing goals, customer research, and competitive analysis will help you narrow down the list of social media channels to focus on. Most businesses use Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for B2C and LinkedIn for B2B marketing. Snapchat and Twitter are also viable options.
Now set up accounts and write mission statements for each of them.
If you decide on using multiple channels, you need to define which social media account will serve which marketing purpose. For instance, Facebook has a great ad tool, Instagram and Pinterest offer excellent opportunities for visual content, while fast-paced Twitter boosts engagement.
- Audit & Optimize Existing Accounts
If you already have branded social media accounts, spend some time auditing their performance. While likes, comments, and reshares can be good indicators of how followers respond to your social media presence, there are other metrics you should take into account.
Start tracking the number of leads generated per account, as well as conversion rates for each social media network you use, for example. This data is incredibly useful – unlike comments or reshares, it shows direct social media marketing ROI, traffic growth, and sales potential.
It tells you which channels should be optimized and how.
- Find a Way to Keep Them Engaged
You’ve outlined your strategy and set up your accounts. Now what?
For your social media marketing efforts to be effective, you need to interact with your followers on a regular basis and keep offering them content and activities they will find engaging. There are a couple of ways for you to find inspiration for your social media campaigns.
You can always copycat your successful competitors, but that won’t really help you stand out from the crowd. Instead, you can draw ideas from online social media marketing resources, such as success stories, used cases, and lists of award-winning business accounts.
Alternatively, you can dig up your quiz creator software once again and ask your followers what they would like to see from you that they are not already getting from other social media influencers. Asking directly is arguably the best and most time-efficient approach.
- Create a Social Media Content Calendar
In social media marketing, consistency is key.
We always recommend having a thought-through content marketing calendar for each of your social media accounts, together with outlined campaigns, timetables, and targets. Creating one in advance will allow you to schedule activities for every day and automate your campaigns.
- Track, Evaluate, Improve, and Repeat
From there on, you’ll need to learn to rely on your marketing automation tool to track your social media campaigns, measure their ROI and other performance metrics, and provide you with insights on how to improve them. Don’t expect incredible results overnight.
It might take weeks for your first social media marketing campaign to hit off.
In case it doesn’t show significant improvements in a month or two, go back to the first step and use this newly acquired wisdom to redefine your social media marketing goals. Stay consistent and keep engaging with your followers – sooner or later, everything will fall into place.