Creating a social media marketing strategy for a mobile world
Here’s a little-known fact.
Social marketing was "born" as a discipline in the 1970s when Philip Kotler and Gerald Zaltman realized that the same marketing principles that marketers were using to sell products could be used to "sell" ideas, attitudes, and behaviors.
Note that social marketing has the same underlying principles as social media marketing, but the two aren't exactly the same.
Social media marketing is when an individual, business or brand uses social media platforms and websites to promote their idea or product. In the social media explosion of the past decade, the influence of any given business has grown to reflect unprecedented reach, often crossing geographical boundaries.
As more and more people and businesses start using social platforms to promote themselves, a successful social media marketing strategy will require precise planning, unique storytelling, and effective execution.
Set Clear Goals
Any marketing effort, online or offline, needs a purpose in order to be fruitful. Setting clear, achievable, measurable goals is instrumental to your social media marketing strategy.
Rather than setting vague goals such as “increase engagement” or “get more followers”, put more specific thought into what you want to achieve, why this is important to your brand and most importantly - how will you know you have succeeded.
Here is an example of how you can approach goal-setting for social media:
Get more followers
Specific, Realistic goal
Get 200 more followers by the end of the month
Why is this important
More eyeballs for my upcoming product promotion
How will you measure success
The social profile will reflect the addition of 200 new followers in the past month.
Here’s a second example:
Specific, Realistic goal
Engage with at least 5 people on a daily basis for the next three months.
Why is this important
This will help me build organic relationships for my brand and create an attentive community
How will you measure success
Since engagement is an elusive concept, the only real way you will measure engagement is through your effort: liking, commenting, sharing, following and interacting with 5 people a day. If you do this consistently, it makes logical sense that increased engagement would follow!
If you are able to define a clear purpose for your social media activities, set realistic goals and outline a system for executing and measuring them, you are off to a good start. Consistent implementation of your social media strategy can help you achieve specific parameters. This is especially true with mobile platforms because the user’s attention is fleeting. So, if you want your message to make an impact, you have to be very clear about the message that you want to convey.
Identify Your Target Audience
Experimenting with the social media marketing campaigns is great! However, experimentation doesn't have to mean you stick to generic content until something clicks - which is what most people do!
Creating content for a generic audience will not display the depth of your knowledge. Nor will it enable a deeper connection with a specific target demographic. If you are looking for brand loyalty and engagement, try starting out in a small niche with a strong brand message. Something that your small niche audience feels passionately about. It might help if you incorporate buyer personas into your social media marketing strategy. Buyer personas help you to define a subset of people who will be more receptive to your message. That way, you can target the right people, in the right location, at the right time - and most importantly with the right message. In order to come up with a realistic buyer persona, you may want to look at factors such as:
- Job Title
- Preferred Social Platforms
- Pain Points
- Purchasing Behavior
These are just a few of the facets of your buyer persona you may want to research, explore and define. A thorough buyer analysis is necessary if you want to succeed on social media.
Create a Content Marketing Plan
Creating good content is an art - but distributing it right is marketing!
Let’s talk about content creation first. Sitting down to chart out a content strategy that covers a variety of topics will help you create a rounded out content strategy. Once you have a list of potential topics, you may want to organize your content topics into an editorial calendar. This simple exercise will help you create a logical progression of engaging content for your audience. Following this process will also help avoid any duplication of content and allow for better-researched articles because you have the entire list of content topics at your disposal.
Now, comes the marketing part.
Depending on the time and resources available to you, creating an account on every platform may not be feasible. If you did your research earlier to define your buyer personas, you will have a general idea of which platform would yield you the most interested audience. In addition to knowing about your audience, you may also need knowledge of specific platforms and how they work.
For example, if your content is highly visual, you may choose to go with visual platforms like Pinterest and Instagram to create visual impact. If you offer B2B services and your content is long-form, you may want to use LinkedIn blogs to spread your brand message. If you have video content, you will need to be active on youtube, Facebook or IGTV.
Engage Your Users
Say you completed all of the above steps. By now, you should have some rudimentary content crafted and ready to publish according to your preordained social strategy.
Now, it is time to add in some bells and whistles to facilitate engagement. Remember to go beyond pictures and blog posts to take full advantage of social media functionality. For example, on Instagram, you might want to take advantage of their stories or the new “Ask Me Anything” feature. On LinkedIn, you might post short blogs that leads back to a longer blog on your website.
Another great way to increase content is to organize a low barrier-to-entry contest for the users. Users love taking part in interesting conversations and participating in contests, especially if the effort required to participate is not extraordinary. Make sure your conversations and contests encourage sharing so people other than your followers can enjoy the interaction as well.
Also, keep in mind that posting at different times of the day will yield different results. In the radio advertising world, broadcast stations allot slots for every advertising “spot”. Primetime advertisements that reach maximum listeners are sold at a more premium rate. The time slots with a lower reach are more affordable. Even if you are only promoting your content organically, posting at a time when most of your niche audience is active will drive up engagement as well as the visibility of your content.
Use The Right Social Media Management Tools
So, you have mastered the art of creating and distributing great content. You create a week’s worth of postings. Now comes a big logistical challenge. Posting on multiple platforms every single day can quickly become cumbersome and time-consuming.
The anual posting was a huge issue, say, a decade ago. Today, there are great tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, Sprout Social, CoSchedule and Feedly to help you escape from the burnout that will inevitably come from manually posting each and every post on each and every platform for months on end. Do yourself a favor and sign up for one of these scheduling tools which will help you scale your efforts with ease. Hey, some of them, have free versions as well that you can try before you go for the paid ones! In addition to scheduling posts ahead of time, some of these scheduling tools will also allow you to keep a track of your results, analyze data and make tweaks to optimize your posts.