Today, social media is an indispensable part of any business’ marketing mix. Gone are the days of tight public relation controls, and in its place are millions of consumers, eager to share their thoughts and experiences about your products or services online. Done correctly, social media is one of the most effective ways to drive awareness of your brand, increase engagement, and improve customer loyalty, all of which will hugely impact lead generation and sales for your business.
Nearly 80% of the population are on social media. Facebook has almost 1.9 billion users, Instagram and LinkedIn boast 700 million and 500 million users consecutively, and snap chat has enjoyed a user increase of 36% since 2016. And these numbers are likely to grow. So, whether you like it or not, social media has become unavoidable- embrace it or get left behind by the competition.
Unsure where to start? Successful social media marketing isn’t as complex as you might think, and there are typically three key steps to getting it right; define your target audience, create a social media content plan with compelling and engaging posts, and find a scheduling tool that works for you. Simple! Let’s review each step in more detail…
Define Your Audience
The first step to successfully using social media as part of your marketing strategy is to understand who you want to target- how are they going to engage with your brand, what will they find interesting, and when are they most likely to be online? Creating buyer personas are a crucial component of any inbound marketing activity so this is a really useful exercise for any business and will enable you to really define the demographics of your target customers. There are hundreds of free buyer persona templates on the internet which are very simple to use.
Create a Social Media Content Plan
Now that you have an idea of what content is going to appeal to your target audience, you can create a social media content plan with compelling and engaging posts. Planning your social media activities in advance has multiple benefits allowing you to:-
Effectively coordinate campaigns
Take the guess work out of creating content
Adapt to new opportunities as they develop
Structure your posting schedule
Prevent post delays
Grow your reach
Ensure a consistent voice across all platforms
Identify any issues in advance
Use your marketing resources more efficiently
Scale your social media marketing
Choose a Scheduling Tool
At their very core, social media scheduling tools offer the same basic functions: to schedule and automatically publish posts, and provide insights into the reach and engagement of each of your social media platforms.
A quick Google search on this topic will unearth hundreds of scheduling tools, so for the sake of time I’ll just review two of the most popular; Hootsuite and Buffer.
Hootsuite offers a one-stop platform to create, schedule, post, and analyse your social media posts. The platform covers Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, Youtube, and Instagram, though Instagram’s platform policy means that Hootsuite will simply send a reminder with the pre-composed content for you to copy, paste, and post manually. Each of your social media platforms are split into separate streams, which gives you the ability to interact with your audience directly from the stream platform. There are free and paid options for Hootsuite, depending on how many platforms you want to measure. Paid plans also offer more in-depth analytics.
Similarly to Hootsuite, Buffer enables users to manage Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram (again sending a reminder to manually post the pre-composed content) all from one place, but it also enables access to other applications, including Hiplay, Upflow, and BulkPublish. As such, Buffer has gained the title as one of the heavy weight players of social media scheduling. Again, there are both free and paid options, though the paid plans offer significantly better team functionalities and analytics.
Whatever scheduling tool you decide to use, it is imperative to use the analytics tools to continually review and improve your social media posts. If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get the same results, so monitor your platforms- in terms of both content and post timings- and make adjustments to your content plan accordingly to drive better engagement and awareness of your business.
Social media is more critical than ever to the success of any marketing campaign. eWavelength are proud to have delivered effective social media strategies and campaigns for companies across the globe. If you need any information about how we can help with your business’ social media marketing plan, please contact Charlotte Hope on firstname.lastname@example.org.