In the past decade or so, the world of marketing has been profoundly changed by the explosive growth of social media. Worldwide, there are an estimated 2.6 billion people active on at least one social media platform – and that’s a lot of potential customers. However, a successful social media strategy isn’t always easy to achieve, and successful social marketing techniques aren’t always obvious. Review these three fundamentals of a good social media marketing strategy and work toward building out your weakest areas.
- Select the right social media platforms– There are a wide variety of different social media platforms out there, and as part of a social media strategy your business will have to make a decision about where to invest its time and efforts. Consider your target customer base and where they are likely to spend their time online. Facebook and Twitter both have large user bases and Twitter, in particular, can be a great platform for actively engaging with potential customers. For companies with a strong visual identity – say, a consumer products brand – an image-based platform such as Instagram or Pinterest can be a great way to showcase products. If your company is primarily business-to-business, then the professional networking site LinkedIn can be a good place to connect with prospects.
- Create compelling content – Content generation is a key activity in social media marketing, but it takes planning and forethought to create content that will engage potential customers and get them thinking and talking about your brand. Depending on which social media platforms you are targeting, content can take many different forms – it might be an image or infographic to be shared on Instagram, a pithy and topical Tweet, an informative blog post or even an industry white paper or report intended to demonstrate thought leadership in your field. Tailor your content to your target audience, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different approaches to see what works best.
- Engagement is key– Social media marketing is different from more traditional forms of interruption marketing such as TV, radio or print ads. If there is a single key to successful social media marketing it is in engaging potential customers, and in many ways, it needs to be more subtle and conversational than, “Here is our product, buy it now!” Seek out and share popular news, images and videos that are likely to engage your target audience. Interaction is also crucial – remember that social media is ultimately a conversation medium, not a broadcast medium. Brands that interact with their customers and potential customers are more likely to build recognition that converts to sales.
Applying these crucial elements of social marketing in your social media strategy takes time and experimentation, but done well, the payoff will be worth the effort.