In the fold of digital marketing, companies that do not have or neglect an active social media (SM) presence risk missing out on numerous growth opportunities. With its ever-increasing footprint and business optimization capabilities, Social media has become an imperative part of every Start-up, SME, and Large Enterprise. As of today, the social media stream thrives with its 4.2 billion active users, nearly twice as much that was only 5 years ago. Statistically, these users spend over 2 hours on social media daily, which is just a reflection of how much exposure a business can get by reaching out to them.
A good social media strategy can help your business,
- Get Attention and Build Awareness
- Communicate Authority
- Show Authenticity
- Encourage Engagement
- Grow Affordably
- Provide Support
- Create and exhibit proof
But even though Social Media has quickly established its dominance in the stratosphere of digital marketing, its application and practical usability in helping businesses grow require a certain level of knowledge and reflex.
In its true essence, social media marketing makes a very unique, technical, and highly effective instrument in the digital marketing toolbox. To fully harness its power, you need a delicate combination of knowledge, dedication, planning, and hard work to achieve your business goals.
This often involves a mixture of practices to engage your audience, captivate users, and bring them to the point of conversion, organically or through paid means. These practices include,
- Listening to your audience
- Sharing your relevant message
- Enabling others to share your relevant message
- Stimulating purchase decisions
- Giving informative advice to customers
- Complimenting overall sales
Today, SM is an essential component of your business marketing strategy. Neglecting its importance can stagnate not only the progress of your online business, but also detriment your sales in the long haul.
In this article, we take the opportunity of sharing 8 winning tips on how you can use social platforms to effectively connect with your customers, increase your engagement, build awareness about your brand, and ultimately boost your conversions.
1. Build a Plan
To get started on your social media marketing plan, you will need a road map to begin with. This will involve different elements that cohesively help in building a narrative of your brand. Using them with organization, logic, and timeline will result in faster growth in your business.
The absence of a robust plan can will not only undermine what you are trying to achieve, but will also leave your business at the risk of spiraling into a costly catastrophe.
Therefore, you must invest time and effort to create detailed and well-formed plan upfront. This will align all the SM marketing elements with your business goal and help improve your direction towards growth.
First off you must integrate a logical framework to your plan. We recommend the SMART framework since it has proven value and effectiveness countless times with brands.
- SMART strategy stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely metrics that determine your SM plan’s actionable results.
- By setting these KPIs, you target specific areas within your plan and turn around a greater quality of response rate from your customers.
- The second step into your plan is the research phase. This stage basically helps in the SWOT analysis of your brand, exploring strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for your business. By studying how your competitors are faring in the market helps you reduce your learning curve and develop a more proactive approach to problems.
- Creating a social media calendar will organize your posting frequency and refine your content mix for organic and paid activities. This will also help you determine a healthy information to marketing ratio for your campaigns. The ideal ratio for starter is 80-20, which is 80% information and 20% marketing.
- Once you have thoroughly researched the competitors and set up a calendar, start adding a few posts to engage your audience organically. This will get things into perspective and allow you to conduct a small audit of your efforts. After a couple of weeks of posting, take step back and evaluate the performance.
2. Find Your Audience
Knowing your audience is among the fundamental tasks of your social media marketing. You cannot simply make assumptions about your audience; therefore, having a genuine insight into your target market is essential.
Fortunately, there is an abundance of data sources that you can use to scientifically determine the best platforms for your social media campaigns. These platforms support uniquely different content consumed by different type of audiences. For example, Facebooks has an active 18.8% and 12.8% make and female advertising audience that goes between the ages of 25-34. By identifying your audiences, you can effectively target your profitable segments and achieve a greater response value.
- So, if you are a SAAS or SAAP, or web development company, your ideal niche would be online stores owners or merchants who need digital solutions. Statistically, such audiences actively engage on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, which is why you must use these channels to propagate your content.
- However, if you are a garments store that sells casual jeans, then the suitable target audience would be college students, office goers, and athletes. Within the demographic framework of such groups, the ideal platforms would be Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and even WhatsApp. These platforms support huge room for visual content and offer a great conversion ratio.
Targeting the right audiences from the right channels can save you immensely on time and budget. Therefore, using a rationale for choosing platforms is imperative to gauge your audiences accurately.
3. Adapt & Optimize
Your audience is always expanding. With the growing number of users, improving technology curve, and newer internet media streams, there is no limit to your business growth if you play your cards right.
Moreover, time and circumstances also make ways for unique opportunities that you can leverage from. For example, the recent lockdown measures due to the corona pandemic made a huge marketing vacuum that Facebook Advertising filled almost perfectly. Many businesses that were once fixated on hiring web development companies and digital marketing agencies made huge profits through Instagram and Facebook advertising during the lockdown.
This also created a shift in trends. Instead of following the traditional ‘website-first’ approach, many businesses were encouraged to create their social media pages before any of their other digital footprints. Observing the response from users, many of these social media streams actively improved and update their advertising features, allowing online retailer to target specific audiences and automate their campaigns better than before.
Facebook also introduced many policies on heath safety and controversial content. This prohibited any commercial exploitation based on political, social, or health crises.These policies helped online merchants to optimize and oversee media spends and strategies to target and expand their audiences effectively.
4. Connect with Audiences
Knowing potential audiences does not mean you can start generating sales. This is why you must invest in building relationships with your followers and customers. By nurturing relationships, you can effectively build loyal customers that will not only lead to ongoing sales but also help stimulate brand evangelism over time. While new customer acquisition is a great practice, you must never downplay the importance of retention.
With your SM channels, you can directly reach out to the audience, engage, and captivate them towards the point of passive sales. A major part of your SM strategy is discovering what your audience is talking about and why they need your product above other competitors. According to research, 44% of internet users actively search on social media streams to research brands. While you continue these activities, your footprint on social algorithms gradually becomes prominent, and you gain better exposure and greater authority.
Recent statistics show,
- 69% of business owners claimed that social media played a significant part in maintaining customer relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic crises.
- Data from Twitter showed that over 70% of users acknowledged that brands helped boost positivity through their content.
5. Use Organic Engagement
Organic social media strategies is one of the only ways to truly connect with your audiences and drive engagement. Paid advertising can quickly spread brand awareness, but organic efforts is what connects you with your customer and cultivate long-term benefits. Here are some of the most effective engagement techniques,
- Create a Facebook Group
Building community and brand loyalty is one of your key goals. With Facebook Groups, you can bolster an army of organic followers that will listen, respond, and spread your brand message. You can add posts, podcasts and share periodic updates to keep your member posted with information about the industry and recent activities.
- Connect with Influencers
Influencer follower count does not really matter as long as it is organic. Niches are full of micro and nano influencers who have more than once won the stage with less than 2000 followers. Taking them on board will help you build a name in the market and earn the trust of your audience. You can set aside a budget for ad creative for influencers so small doses of high-value content can make its way into the stream. Through analytics-based testing, you can later expand your budget and add more prominent influencers to the team.
- Give Credit to Your Followers
Posting user-generated content is an excellent source of Social Proof. You can mine content through contests and branded campaigns and post it on your weekly stories. Moreover, you can tag user accounts to appreciate their contributions and build relationships with your top followers.
- Use Interactive Tools
There are plenty of tools available on social media platforms to start organic interaction with your followers. Tools such as Twitter Polls, Facebook & Instagram Stories are great channels to generate responses and communicate with your fans.
6. Keep a Lookout on Trends
Trends control a vast portion of your consumers’ everyday lives. Using them to your advantage can help fuel your SM profile and make you stand out in the competition.
But while leaping on every meme or gif that goes viral may give a temporary spike, it eventually detriments your social presence in the long run.
The best practice to go about is to pay proper attention to leading trends in your social channels, study them, and align your agenda through natural injection. Generating appropriate content that resonates with context can give your brand the edge it needs to boost its footprint in shorter intervals.
For example, when the last COVID-19 wave wreaked havoc on international travel, many tourists switched to local traveling. While this gave travel agencies natural leverage to design local trip packages, other niches also used this opportunity to upsell travel gear, clothes, and equipment necessary for road trips. As a result, many companies profited and became known for their products and services in a short while. Similarly, smart home devices, robotics, and artificial intelligence are also examples of up-to-date enhancements in technology.
However, what worked last time may not work today, so always keep a heads up for changing trends, especially advertising policies, as they also evolve with the changing patterns. Use social listening to gather information and understand your audiences’ upcoming needs.
7. Social Shopping Tools
A growing number of business are using social commerce to sell their products. This gives their customers the benefit of buying products directly from their social feed without going through redirects or no purchase journeys. In several regards, it is simpler and faster than purchasing through a website.
Now with social commerce tools, you can allow customers to make transactions without even using a website. These social shopping tools can be easily integrated with your social channels and work just like other payment gateways. Tools such as Facebook Shop Page, Instagram Shoppable Posts, Pinterest Product Pins, Jumper, and ManyChat have drastically streamlined the conversion funnel in Social Media Marketing.
As of 2020, social commerce grew a global market value of $90 billion, paving the way for several faster and more secure payment channels scheduled to launch this year.
8. Use Automation Tools
In the first tip, we talked about organizing your posting schedule through a social media calendar. It dynamically simplifies your weekly entries and allows you to focus on ongoing trends for creative spends. When you have that part done, the next step is to automate them. Using advanced scheduling tools, you can easily automize your posts in a timely manner to get maximum exposure at the right time.
Setting up an efficient system for posting will not only save enormous amounts of time, but also reduce several costs associated with hiring. Aside from built-in ad managers, you can also integrate other automation tools that come along with a bunch of other useful features. These tools can help you discover trends, find audiences, analyze audience behavior, and even monitor conversations. Here are 4 top-rated tools that you can use,
Hootsuite is a market leader in Social Media automation and scheduling. It has all the latest functions to save time, get quality posting, discover analytics, gather insights, and promote engagement.
Protecting your posts against spam and offensive content is imperative for your social media success. Zerofox is the tool that keep your updated by generating alerts each time there is a breach. It is one of the most trusted tools for reputation management against imposter accounts, phishing, and fraudulent activities.
Using automation in chatbots is a critical part of your marketing strategy. Chatfuel helps you build customized chatbots and optimize support KPIs to enhance customer satisfaction levels. It is also a sales tool for segmenting customer personas and bridging payments through Facebook Messenger.
This tool is a great money saver and popularly used by social media marketers. It used advanced algorithms to check the quality and effectiveness of your ads before you take them live. When you have the right metrics, generating ROI is much easier.
Track and Refine your Performance
Now that you have a stellar social media strategy to grow your business, you must keep track of your progress and tune your efforts to improve outcomes further.
Learning to evolve your strategy with the needs of time is a winning quality. To get there, you must implement A/B testing on your approaches to ascertain the most effective points in your plan. This will also help you identify weak spots that you can mend later in your updated strategy.
Whether you are a start-up, and SME, or a Large Enterprise, social media is an equally versatile platform that help reach potential customers, increase awareness, and boost conversion, and grow your business.