Social media is a big part of every business marketing strategy, but there is a lot of confusion about how to use it best. To make matters worse, what works for one company may fail for another.
If you become stuck figuring out the basics, it’s difficult to move your strategy forward and create campaigns that make the best use of your resources. These questions are designed to clear up your doubts to ensure you can represent every one of your clients effectively on social media.
1. Which Social Media Platforms Are the Best?
It may seem as if there is an obvious answer to this question. Facebook is by far the most popular social media platform, followed by YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. However, in marketing, you need to go where your specific audience is.
Virtually every business, large to small, has a significant proportion of its audience on Facebook, but deciding on which other platforms to build a presence requires some research. For instance, if your target audience is in the 18 to 24 age range, you may want to utilize Snapchat, whereas if you are marketing for a B2B brand, LinkedIn is likely one of the best platforms.
Furthermore, you need to think about the type of content you are creating and whether it fits. If you’re already producing high-quality videos, YouTube will be a good option. On the other hand, if your posts are more based around text content than visuals, platforms like Instagram and Pinterest will likely be a poor choice, even if they’re popular with your audience. Resources like these online can help you decide what to use and how.
Once you’ve discovered which platforms are best, stick to just these. There is no benefit in expanding into more areas if only a small percentage of your audience is active on other platforms or if it would be difficult to make your content fit.
2. How Can You Extend Your Audience?
To start, you need to ensure everyone who already knows the business is aware of its presence on social media. You can do this by adding buttons to the business website, email newsletters, and anywhere else you are already present online. Once these users follow the social media pages, you can encourage them to spread the word to others through insightful, useful, and entertaining content.
On some platforms (particularly Twitter and Instagram), hashtags are helpful for ensuring content appears in searches. Look at what is trending in your industry and use these to improve visibility. This is also a great way to find users to follow, and they’ll often follow you back. Just don’t go overboard — following everyone indiscriminately will make the account hard to manage.
An organic reach will only get you so far. If you want others to find your page, you need ads. On almost all social media platforms, ads can be inexpensive, as you have complete control over your budget. You will also be able to use targeting features to ensure you reach the right audience.
3. Do You Need to Create All Your Own Content?
Think about the pages you follow on social media. Have you noticed that many post content from other sources? This is a good tactic for any size of business. The problem is knowing where to find great content that resonates with your audience.
One thing you can do is to look at the pages you follow. Focus on pages that are in the same industry as the business but are not direct competitors. Another option is to ask fans of the business to create content, crediting them on the page.
Using others’ content is by no means a substitute for creating your own. By creating the majority of the content you publish, you create backlinks to your blog or website, allowing social media to contribute to your website traffic.
You can even repost some of your own content to help it reach more users. This is especially useful when your audience is split across different time zones. However, be restrained with this practice — you don’t want to annoy users by showing them the same posts multiple times.
4. Beyond Posting Content, How Can You Maintain a Social Media Presence?
If you are only active on social media to post content, you’re missing the point. Social media is all about engagement, which happens when you interact with your audience. To show the personal side of the brand, respond to comments, start a chat when someone messages you, run a poll, or hold a contest.
5. Should Social Media Be Limited to the Marketing Department?
Although social media is part of marketing, there is no reason why other people in the company cannot be involved. Ideas and stories from members of other departments can help develop the brand image. Just be careful to maintain consistency across messages.
6. How Much Time Does a Social Media Strategy Require?
This has no definite answer. You will need to turn to the analytics to determine the best number of times to post to maximize engagement while avoiding the appearance spam. You can reduce the amount of time you spend on platform if you automate posts. This is ideal if you are unable to publish manually when the audience is most active.
7. How Long Does It Take to See Results?
This is another question without a single answer. It depends on factors like the size of the audience, the length of the sales funnel, how well-known the business was before, how well you implement the strategy, and whether you are trying to rely mainly on organic efforts or if you will also be spending a large amount on ads.
8. Can You Use the Same Strategy on Multiple Platforms?
Even though it will save you time and effort, there are a couple problems with copying your strategy across platforms:
Users will have no reason to follow you in more than one place. This means your following on each platform may be greatly diminished.
What works on one platform may not work on another. For instance, Twitter has a character limit, whereas LinkedIn is perfect for publishing long articles.
By all means use some of the same content in more than one place — it would be too much effort to create distinct content for each platform. Just tailor it to fit the platform and be original whenever possible.
9. Is Google+ Still Worthwhile?
When Google+ first came out, Google considered content posted on this social media platform more important than any other. However, as the platform never caught on with users, it has now drifted out of importance. You’ll do better to focus on places where your audience spends time.
10. Are Social Media Management Tools Worthwhile?
A social media tool may seem like an unnecessary addition, especially if you’re handling accounts for small businesses with a presence on just a few platforms. After all, you’ll need to learn how to use the tool and then spend time setting it up. Over the long run, however, a tool will provide you with several benefits.
Post at the right time. You gain the most engagement from your social media posts if you post when your audience is active. This means fitting your schedule around making social updates. At best, this is inconvenient. At worst, it’s impossible — such as when your clients have followers in global timezones.
Publish across platforms. You can to make an update to more than one platform at once with a single click.
Access to more analytics. Although all social media platforms offer some analytics, all are limited and some are close to useless. With a social media management tool, you have access to additional metrics to help you improve your strategy.
Hear about mentions. You can receive notifications through an email alert or on the dashboard of your management tool whenever your brand is mentioned on social media.
11. How Can You Know If Your Efforts Are Paying Off?
The only way you can know if the strategy is working is to measure results. This involves looking at the social ROI. Just like ROI for any other marketing activity, you need to look at how much you are spending on social media and how much you are receiving. The first should be easy to calculate, but the second is more challenging.
A good place to start is defining the goals of your social media strategy. These need to be based around an action — for instance, signups of email newsletters, downloads of premium content, or purchases.
Next, you need to determine how often the completion of the goal is due to your social media efforts. Analytics software can help you with this.
Compare the above information to your social media expenses. Make sure you include time you spend on social media, time you spend creating content, additional costs associated with content creation, any social media tools you use, and the amount you spend on ads.
To calculate social ROI, use the formula: (Earnings – Costs) x 100 / Costs
If you want to bring a business to success with social media, you need to have a consistent strategy. Create a publishing schedule and stick to it. Keep tweaking your strategy as you find better ways of doing things and to reflect changes on platforms. Most importantly, remember that users are looking for creativity and will bolt at overt sales messages.
If this seems like too much to handle, check out how Boostability can help you with your social media strategy!
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