I don’t think there is a need to tell you how massively social media is growing. In fact, it is the fastest growing trend in the world’s history which isn’t surprising considering our addiction to it.
This sector is growing faster than the internet itself. It took approximately 10 years for the internet to build a massive network of 1 billion users. As far as the most popular social media site Facebook is concerned, from the year 2015 to 2020 it is estimated that it will have around 1.6 billion active users.
Internet surely took a while to grow to this extent and become easily accessible. But social media, well even a small child knows about social media sites like Facebook, Instagram (trending app), Twitter (popularised by our stars) and others.
Facebook is so popular that every one of the four humans existing on this planet is an active Facebook user.
In a literal sense, Facebook is starting to take over the world which shows how influential social media is becoming. It can also be said that Facebook has a country of its own considering the fact that approx 62% of the total population in North America uses Facebook. Which is more than half of the population of the world’s third largest continent.
Shocking right? Well, it is!
In fact, we are so addicted that not once but we browse through these social media platforms multiple times in a day.
Considering our addiction and obsession psychologists have even given a name to our addiction Nomophobia- The irrational fear of being away from one’s mobile phone.
However, there is not only Facebook but many other social media platforms available, though they may not be as popular. Wikipedia itself lists 200 such platforms.
Considering all these facts, why shouldn’t we use Social Media for our marketing too.
Before we dive into the benefits and other details of Social Media, let me give you an overview of what social media marketing really is!
Social media marketing is a type of internet marketing that employs social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and so on and so forth as marketing tools. The aim of social media marketing is to popularize the brand on these social networking sites.
Most Popular Social Media Terms:
Some popular social media terms one needs to be familiar with:
Hashtags- My favourite of the lot! #up #down #sit #stand. Don’t think I am obsessed with hashtags. Though most of the youngsters are! Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook all allow using hashtags to describe the content or a post.
Content- Content refers to whatever you are posting such as videos, images, text, infographics, etc. However, every social networking site has its own content and format like you can add a status on Facebook, image on Instagram, Twitter allows tweets whereas you can pin a board on Pinterest.
The user has to follow the exact format which the website offers.
What is more important than the Content is the Context!
Context- You might be very good at cracking jokes but if you add that joke to a 2000 words blog post, it won’t make much of a difference. However, if you tweet it on Twitter it might become the most popular tweet.
So always remember even though the content may be the king, context is the God.
Shares- The posts with great content and context will be shared: a term that is often ignored, but is as important as others.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing
Although social media marketing has a lot of benefits that one needs to consider, we are discussing only four of them to make the concept much clearer-
- Helps in increasing the awareness of the brand manifold
Social media has been proven to provide publicity to the brands by driving engagement. Social engagement consists of things like posts, comments, likes, shares, re-posts, etc. Social media can also help your brand at it drives direct traffic towards your site or brand. This can be done by adding posts, quotes, content of any sort to make your site or brand much popular than it really is.
2. Helps in building a better relationship with the customers
Social media is the largest networking and communication platform. You can directly connect with your followers on social media, thus helping build a better relationship with them. Also, the followers appreciate personalized messages or replies on the posts added by you rather than an automated message. You can also ask certain questions about your product or any of the problems they might be facing to show them that you care about their thoughts and wishes.
3. Keep an eye on the competitors
Social media is a great way to keep tabs on what your competitors are doing to promote themselves and you can learn a great deal from their activities. You can highly profit from keeping a close watch on your competitors and can even use their tactics to popularize yourself among the customers.
4. Boosting Sales and Conversions
By promoting your products on social media and getting a lot of direct traffic can help improve lead generation and boost conversions by increasing sales.
Steps to Build an Effective Social Media Strategy
- Set S.M.A.R.T Social Media Goals
The first and the foremost step to creating a successful social media strategy is to set realistic as well as achievable goals for yourself. Only set those that can be achieved. Setting unrealistic goals will only lead to disappointment rather than increasing your popularity.
S.M.A.R.T stands for-
Therefore, select only those goals which fulfil the above 5 criteria to attain maximum benefits of social media.
Read more about SMART goals here-
2. Document the customers you want to target
Document and ascertain which category of the customers you want to target with your products and services. Be as specific as you can in this part to yield positive results.
For e.g, if you are a company that manufactures sporty tights and t-shirts which come in the category of “Athleisure”, you should be targeting millennials on social media. Due to the fact that millennials absolutely love wearing fashionable clothes.
Even a highly skilled and expert marketer will fail if he targets the wrong audiences and all his efforts will go in vain.
3. Determine your social media channels that you think will work
Once you have pinned on to your target customers, the next step is to choose your social media platform. Although there are many social media platforms available some might work for you and some won’t. So defining your social media platforms is a critical step and a lot of research and brainstorming has to be done before deciding which platform you will go for.
Like in the above example, if you are targeting Millennials then you should be aware that Millennials love social media especially Instagram. Millennials cover the largest population of Instagram users and hence you should market your product on Instagram itself to build greater brand awareness.
Similarly, another example could be if you are a B2B company looking for ways to generate more leads then LinkedIn is the right channel to advertise.
Pro Tip- If you are absolutely new to social media and have no prior knowledge of it (well that is kinda unbelievable) it is better to stick with only one social media platform that you find is most promising for your business.
4. Sign-up for social media accounts
Once you have gauged upon your social media channels the next step is to create your accounts on these platforms for which most of them ask for Sign-ups. Signing up and creating an account is probably the least tricky step that you will find in this list. However, it is a very crucial step because until and unless you create an account you won’t be able to advertise or conduct any other activity on these platforms.
Here is a list of some popular social media platforms and their respective formats-
- Facebook (the most widely used and popular social media channel)- To use Facebook, you have to add your personal details and then sign-up. You can then build up a page of a brand or service.
- Instagram (trending app)- To use Instagram, download its app and set up an account. To start promoting it, you can add a “business account” giving people the option to connect with you via call or email.
- LinkedIn- Create an account and then create your Company page.
- Youtube- For this, you need a google account. Sign-up with that and then only you can use it.
- Pinterest- Gives you the flexibility of creating a business and personal account. Choose the one that is apt and then advertise.
Pro Tip- All of these platforms have apps that you can easily download to access your accounts on the go.
5. Measure meaningful metrics
If you can’t measure it, you probably can’t manage it. Things you measure tend to improve- Ed Seykota (commodities trader)
How will you know that you are gaining popularity and that your social media strategy is working? Obviously by looking at the metrics! But what kinds of metrics should we as a marketer keep track of? The answer is meaningful metrics! Retweets and likes are very easy to track but they do not show how good or bad you are performing. So a marketer should keep a track of the following metrics to determine his brand’s position:
- Conversion Rate
- Social media sentiments
- Total number of shares
6. Allure your audience with creative Content
Content is King- “ Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the internet” Bill Gates January 1996
Like it or not, the content has, is and will always remain the king. Will billions and trillions or social media users there is a very rare chance that your followers haven’t come across the posts of your competitors. To be frank the chances are less than 0.00001 %. Therefore, make the content your king and the driving force of your brand. Curate a very creative content that allures the readers towards you rather than your competitors. Give them a solid reason to click on that “Follow” button without any afterthought!
Also, this is the most fun part of building a social media strategy. But what do we refer to as content? Look at the list below to know all about content!
- Company News
So, let your creative juices flowing and create as interesting content as you can!
7. Build a social media calendar
Curating creative content is crucial but how you will post that content is more important. So, build a social media calendar/ tracker that will include aspects like on which days you will post, any special occasions that you need to post on, targeted festivals, and so on and so forth. This will help you systematize your social media handling that ensures the smooth running of your social media campaigns.
8. Test, Evaluate and Optimize
This is the deciding factor for the success of your social media strategy. Even the world’s best marketers rely on the trial and error method for their business. This step might seem very obvious and somewhat basic, but testing the results, evaluating the data and optimizing them by making necessary tweaks is the most critical step and if one goes wrong in this step, well then the whole strategy will fall flat.
All the previous steps should be carefully judged and depend on stats for conducting your social media activities. Let data be the driving force of your social media campaigns.
For e.g, if the data shows Facebook is getting you more leads and traffic, consider doubling your inputs on this channel.
Some examples of successful social media campaigns
“Share-A-Coke” Social Media Magic
How did Coca-Cola create so much buzz in the market even though it is an age-old brand? Well due to its “Share A Coke” campaign!
You might have probably been to a supermarket and found coke bottles with your name written on it and have immediately picked it up. This is what share a coke campaign is all about. Pick up the coke bottle with your name and share it with your friends.
This campaign was first launched in Britain through different marketing channels like TV commercials, billboards, flyers and others. But the main success of this brand was associated with digital platforms, wherein each of the coke bottles mentioned #shareacoke, encouraging viewers to pick up the coke bottles with their name on it and sharing it with their friends.
Huge Shout Out to S’mores Frappuccino
Yes, you guessed it right, we are talking about Starbucks secret menu and nationwide love- S’mores Frappuccino. Starbucks has been known to release secret menu every once in a while. Whether it is valentines, winter or any other season and festival, Starbucks always comes with a new campaign that is very exciting to “taste”. Along with that, they also know how to cater to their customer’s demands and so summer season marked the comeback of the most demanded drink by superheroes like you and me.
If you don’t know what S’mores Frappuccino is, then let me tell you it is all about nostalgia. It takes away and clubs all the elements of your favourite childhood memories of campfire desserts and makes you a lip-smacking coffee treat. It all brings out the summertime feel as soon as you sip it!
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Originally published at https://www.slideteam.net on June 18, 2019.