It is critical for every business using social media to have a strategy. This strategy should be actionable and tailored to your specific Buyer Personas. You want to facilitate conversations with your customers and make sure you are providing them with helpful content that they are interested in. In relation to marketing specifically, social media can boost your business incredibly. Let’s dig in and see what it’s all about!
What Is Social Media Marketing?
Without diving into a boring definition, social media marketing is the use of social networks to market a business and/or product. Pretty straight forward, right? If only finding success on social media was as easy. Originally created for personal use, social media use grew so quickly businesses had to react. The early days were extremely fruitful for businesses. With very little competition, businesses amassed massive followings and made a lot of money in the process.
Unfortunately, like most new technologies, over time the landscape changed greatly. In an effort to keep social media a personal use-first platform, social networks had to start filtering what we saw. For businesses, that meant the reach of their posts started to decrease on a nearly daily basis.
Flash forward to now and most businesses are left scratching their heads trying to figure out how to succeed on social. After all, if less than 5% of your followers see a post, how do you achieve real results? Put simply: you must have a plan. A strategy.
We will dive into the strategy that we have implemented for dozens of clients across all different industries. A strategy that is proven. A strategy that results in more sales. Got your attention? Well before we dive into how, let’s first answer why.
Why Is This Important?
Social media marketing is here to stay. It is no longer an option for businesses. Just like having a website became a requirement many years ago, having a social presence is now imperative. This isn’t our opinion. It is a fact. Speaking of facts, below are some facts that illuminate the importance of social media marketing, as well as how widely adopted it has become.
- 39% of Facebook users say that they follow Facebook Business Pages because they want to receive special offers
- 47% of Facebook users only access the site through the mobile app
- Shorter posts get about 23% more interaction than longer Facebook posts
- Video posts get more shares than any other post type
- 97% of social advertisers chose it as their most used and most useful social media platform. (Sprout Social)
- There are 65 million local business pages on Facebook (Geo Marketing)
- Facebook is the second favorite platform for consuming videos after YouTube. 40% of consumers said that they watch the most videos on Facebook. (Sprout Social)
- 83% of social marketers pay for ads on Facebook (Sprout Social)
- Instagram Stories is Now Being Used by 500 Million People Daily (Source)
- Ad spending on Instagram is 23% higher than Facebook (Digiday)
- Thursday is the best day to post on Instagram for brands (Sprout Social
- Videos get 21.2% more interactions compared to images (Sprout Social)
- LinkedIn performs 277% better than Facebook and Twitter when it comes to generating visitor-to-lead conversions. (HubSpot)
- 73% of B2B companies reported that their salespeople use LinkedIn to engage with their clients/prospects. (Content Marketing Institute)
- 91% of executives believe that LinkedIn is the top choice for professionally relevant content.
- 88% of social advertisers use it. This makes it even more popular than Instagram.
- Twitter users send out 500 million tweets per day.
As you can see, social media is widely adopted in both personal and professional spheres. Each network can be used for specific business goals. For example, if you are trying to target executives at Fortune 500 companies, LinkedIn would be the best place. However, if your target demographic is under the age of 18, LinkedIn would be a waste of time.
Much like radio and television grew over time into legitimate marketing and advertising platforms, social is poised to do the same. In fact, newer companies are finding success in industries dominated by larger, more established brands by using social media. This means regardless of the size of your company, social provides a unique medium for growth. Before you can start reaping the benefits of social media marketing you will need to have a strategy. Let’s dive into that now!
7-Steps to Dominate Social Media Marketing
The common question a few years ago, “why should our business use social media?”, is now being replaced with, “how can our business grow with social media marketing?”
As marketers, this makes us very excited. What doesn’t make us excited is how many businesses are still trying to market on social media without a documented strategy. We follow a seven-step process with all of our clients and have seen consistent results. Your strategy doesn’t have to be overly complicated, just make sure you follow all seven steps and you will be ready to dominate social and achieve results you are proud of.
Step 1: Audit Your Current Social Presence
“Know thyself. Know the customer. Innovate.” – Beth Comstock
Before you strategize about where you are headed, take a quick look at where you are. A few areas to consider when auditing your business’s social media presence are:
- Which networks are you currently active on
- Are your networks optimized (photo and cover images, bio, URL, etc.)
- Which networks are currently bringing you the most value
- How do your profiles compare to your competitors’ profiles
We offer a total online presence audit that includes a deep analysis of your social media, content, SEO, and web structure with a presentation of key priorities and recommended plan – Check out our Total Online Presence Audit.
Step 2: Document Who Your Ideal Customer Is
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” – Peter Drucker
You will want to get as specific as possible with this part. For example, if you identified your target market as parents it would be ok. However, if you identify your ideal customer as a parent that lives in the United States, is between 30 and 50 years of age, earns over $70,000, primarily uses Facebook and has an interest in outdoor activities you will have much more success.
Even the best marketers will fail if they are marketing to the wrong audience. Answer the following questions to help you come up with a highly focused buyer persona:
- Job Title
- Pain Points (that your business can solve)
- Most Used Social Network
Step 3: Create A Social Media Mission Statement
“What makes you weird, makes you unique and therefore makes you stand out.” – Dan Schawbel
Your social media mission statement will drive your future actions, so make sure you put some thought into it. This statement will make it clear exactly how you plan to use your social media presence and should reflect your brand identity. Keep in mind your ideal customer when trying to create this statement.
An example mission statement might be “to use social media to educate current and potential customers about digital marketing, with a focus on social media marketing.” Once you have this statement documented, it will make it simple for you to decide what to share and create.
If it doesn’t align with your mission statement, forget about it. Businesses that post randomly without a guiding mission will fail. People follow experts, not generalists.
Step 4: Identify Key Success Metrics
“If you cannot measure it you cannot improve it.” – Lord Kelvin
How will you determine if your social media marketing efforts are successful? I am not just talking about gaining more followers, I am talking about making money. After all, it is hard to rationalize spending time and money on something that isn’t improving the bottom line.
A few metrics to consider measuring are:
- Conversion Rate
- Time Spent on Website
- Brand Mentions
- Total Shares
Step 5: Create and Curate Engaging Content
“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet.” – Bill Gates
Sadly, many businesses jump straight to this step. Hopefully, this post has made it clear that there are several vital steps that you must take before you start creating and curating engaging content to share on your social media channels.
Let’s now discuss the fun part, posting to social media. You know who your ideal customer is and you used that information to create your social media mission statement. Armed with this information it should be easy for you to begin creating and curating content. So, what exactly is considered content? Here are a few examples of content you could create:
- Blog Posts
- Company News
The list of content ideas goes on and on, but make sure you focus only on forms of content that align with your mission statement, as well as your skill set. Content is what fuels social media, so it is crucial that you consider creating high quality, engaging content as a top priority.
I strongly recommend that you create a content calendar that outlines how often you will post to each network, which topics you will share and when you will share them.
Step 6: Invest In a Social Media Management Tool
“We live in times in which ordinary people can do amazing things using the right tools”
Most marketers have a secret, they leverage tools to boost their productivity. Ok, maybe it isn’t a secret, but without tools, marketers would face constant burnout (many do even with tools). When it comes to social media, having a social media management tool allows you to scale your efforts with ease.
One of the main benefits of a social media management tool is the ability to schedule posts ahead of time. Remember that content calendar you created? Make sure your scheduled posts in your social media management tool align with your content calendar.
Step 7: Track, Analyze, Optimize
“If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything.” – Ronald Coase
This may be the most important step when it comes to succeeding on social media. Even the best social media marketers rely on trial and error. It might seem basic, but tracking your results, analyzing the data and then making tweaks to optimize them is crucial.
Each previous step should be re-evaluated after you have had time to analyze the results of your marketing efforts. Let the data drive you. If it is telling you Facebook or Twitter is your most effective channel, consider doubling down.
A great social media strategy is never set in stone. It is a constant work in progress that changes when necessary. So get out there, create a strategy and start optimizing it as you continue to grow and learn more about your business and your audience.
14 Ways Social Media Will Kickstart Your Business
1.Tell Your Story
If you do not tell your story, who will? Social media is a perfect way to share yourself or your business with the world. Social media is increasingly becoming a starting place for customers to learn about a business, so it is important to take control of your company’s image and make sure it is helping you grow your business.
2. Make your business personal
By telling your story, current and potential customers are able to create a personal connection with your brand. People buy from brands they trust. Building a personal connection is the first step to building trust.
3. Customer service
32% of people who contact a brand on social media with a customer service complaint expect a response within 30 minutes. Social media is becoming the most popular way for customers to contact brands. Create a great customer service experience for your customers and they will gladly help you grow your business.
4. Search engine optimization benefits
Search engine optimization, SEO, is and will continue to be a deciding factor of your business and its success. Imagine your toddler decided to see if they could flush 2 rolls of toilet paper at once. Now your toilet is overflowing and you quickly turn to Google to find help. Let me guess, you called the first plumber listed and never looked back. This is how most consumers use search engines. Optimizing for search engines will kickstart your business immediately. Social media plays a major role in SEO because a strong social presence is a solid indicator of a successful and more importantly, trustable business. Google has even begun including tweets in search results!
5. Decreased marketing costs
Using social media will decrease your overall marketing spend, guaranteed. Got your attention? Now let me explain. Social media marketing is not free, but it is significantly more affordable than traditional forms of marketing. With this said, social media can help you save money on your traditional marketing efforts by allowing you to A-B test your marketing material, without committing a lot of resources. Testing multiple headlines, formats, etc. on social media gives you an inexpensive way to gauge what works best. Once you know, you can target new leads through traditional marketing more effectively and save money in the process.
6. Connect with customers
Access to consumers that social media provides businesses is unprecedented. Understanding your customers is crucial. It will allow you to create products/services they want, market to them more effectively and much more. It is called SOCIAL media for a reason, so be social!
7. Get feedback
Instead of guessing what your customers want, ask them. This will save you a lot of money in the long run and will create loyal customers. Find your most engaged customers and form relationships with them. Encourage them to recommend improvements to your product/service.
8. Connect with influencers
Who are the most influential people in your industry? Once you have a list of the top 50, begin connecting with them. Keep an eye on what they tweet about, who they engage with, etc. Forming relationships with influencers is a great way to receive valuable feedback and advice, as well as increased exposure.
9. Demonstrates thought leadership
Why should customers trust your brand? By sharing and creating content relevant to your industry, your brand is able to demonstrate expertise and credibility. Create valuable content for your audience to consume and share.
10. Attract funding sources
Investors are beginning to look at social media when evaluating potential businesses to invest in. They are looking to see how many followers businesses have, how they interact with customers and how creative they are when it comes to marketing campaigns. Not convinced your business needs social media? It could be the deciding factor when it comes to getting funded and taking your business to the next level.
11. Increase business leads
In order to kickstart your business, you need to generate highly qualified business leads. Social media is a perfect way to generate leads for free. One way is to conduct keyword searches. Find people in need of what you sell and engage with them.
12. Employee advocacy
Your employees should be your biggest fans. Leveraging your employees’ social networks is a highly effective and affordable way to grow your business. A recent study by Weber Shandwick found that 50% of employees already post on social media about their company, despite not being asked to by their employer. Start encouraging your employees to share your business regularly and make the process easy by creating content for them to post.
13. Promote your blog
Want more website traffic? You aren’t alone, we do too. Blogging is one of the most proven ways to increase your website traffic. With that said, writing a great blog post is only half of the equation. It is written, it is proofread and your links are added. Now what? Now you have to promote it or all your hard work will be wasted. Social media is the perfect platform for promoting blog content. You already have a pre-qualified audience waiting to see your posts and they can share it with just a press of a button.
14. Monitor competitors
Did you know 80% of small and medium-sized businesses are active on social media? This means 4 out of your 5 competitors have social media accounts, which presents a unique advantage. By monitoring their social activity, you can learn a lot about them and their customers. Are their customers asking for something you currently offer? Let them know and you could gain new customers for free!
With all of these benefits in mind, there is one more reason you can’t afford to ignore social media: your customers use it and expect you to have a presence. Do your research to decide which networks are best for your business and get started!
One of the most common questions businesses have in regards to social media is how often they should post. On each social network there is an approximate frequency of posting that optimizes a business's ability to connect with followers, but exceeding this amount results in driving away followers all together. Figuring out what level of frequency is optimal for each network is partly science and partly art. Social media success requires a lot of experimentation and attention to analytics, so make sure to experiment with the frequency for your business’s posts and refer to analytics to better understand the results.
Before we dive into the specific rules of thumb for each social network, let's start with a broad answer: if you have quality content to share that will bring value to your audience, then share it. Every social network has different posting rules, but if whatever you are sharing is not going to bring value to your audience, then under no circumstance is it worth sharing. With this said, let’s now look at the general posting frequency rules for the following social networks:
The Sweet Spot: 1-2 posts per day (during the week), 1 post per day (on the weekend)
SocialBakers looked at several major brands’ posting habits on Facebook and found that on average they posted 1 time per day. It was also found that posting 3 or more posts per day negatively affected engagement and led to a loss of page likes.
Due to the mass popularity of Facebook worldwide, algorithms have been put in place to filter out posts and display what Facebook feels each user would want to see. Simply put, if users are not engaging with posts from a business then they will stop seeing the posts all together. The good news is the frequency of posting required on Facebook is significantly lower than networks such as Twitter, so businesses can really focus on posting high-quality content.
Tip: Experiment with different types of posts. Some users prefer seeing primarily videos or photos on their feed, so sharing content in these forms increases the chances of it being featured on their timeline.
The Sweet Spot: 4-15 tweets per day
Unlike Facebook, Twitter does not filter out posts. This causes the lifespan of posts to be significantly shorter, 2 hours to be exact (though this number can be reduced to just minutes depending on the number of people a user is following). Track social analyzed the success of tweets and found the sweet spot for most businesses to be between 4-15 tweets per day. Due to this large range of frequencies, it is crucial to experiment and find the right amount for your business. If your business is global, you will probably post closer to 10-15 tweets per day in order to cater to different time zones. If you are a local business, tweeting 4 times a day may be plenty.
Tip: Schedule tweets to post multiple times. Tweets have a very short lifespan, so sharing the same content multiple times is a great way to ensure more of your followers see it. If you plan to share the same content more than once per day, try changing the tweets text so users do not recognize the same text. Using a tool such as eClincher to schedule recurring posts will make this process very easy.
The Sweet Spot: 1 post per day (during the week only)
The ideal frequency of posting on LinkedIn, as described by LinkedIn themselves, is 20 times per month. A simpler way to look at this is 1 post per day during the week. Weekends are not a great time to post on LinkedIn due to the professional nature of the site. Most users take a break on the weekend from LinkedIn, just like they do from work. Avoid too many promotional posts on LinkedIn, because it goes against the nature of the site. Share industry insight and news about your company for the best results.
Tip: Keep the content you share on LinkedIn professional. Unlike many other social networks, LinkedIn is almost exclusively used by business professionals. Catering more professional content for this audience will increase engagement, especially the likelihood of shares.
The Sweet Spot: 1 post per day
Try not to post more than 7 posts per week on Instagram. There is an unspoken rule that you should not post multiple times per day on Instagram. Posting twice in a day is not forbidden, but one post a day seems to be the network norm.
Tip: Post behind the scene pictures of your company/employees. Customers love seeing what goes on a daily basis at your business. Instagram is a great place to make your business more human.
There’s a lot of information in here. Don’t worry, we can help you out! Drop us a line or hit us with a project inquiry and we can talk about what social media marketing looks like for your business. We have a lot of experience with this stuff. As we like to say…
If it ain’t broke, make it better.