Success With Social Media Marketing
Social media strategist Amy Jo Martin says:
“Social media is the ultimate equalizer. It gives a voice a platform to anyone willing to engage.”
She’s right about that. It’s like connecting a microphone to a booming speaker on a busy street corner. Anyone who takes the mic is going to get heard. People can’t help but stop and pay attention.
Indeed, social media platforms are like springboards for businesses of any size and with any budget. A small business with a good social media strategy can level the playing field with their deep-pocketed competitors.
And that includes you.
So maybe you’re up against some stiff competition in your niche. If you carve out a specialized niche, develop a brand, and then engage on social media, you too can level the playing field.
So here’s what you need to do:
1. Clarify your goals.
2. Define your target market.
3. Determine which social media platforms make it easiest for you to reach your target marketing and achieve your goals.
4. Create a custom social media strategy.
Let’s walk through these steps…
Step 1: Define Your Goals
Before you develop a social media strategy, you need to figure out what your end goal is. That is, how do you intend to use social media to grow your store?
Here are some ideas to get you started:
· Generate new leads/build your mailing list.
· Create more sales.
· Drive traffic.
· Build your brand.
· Build authority status.
· Boost your viral marketing strategy.
· Distribute content.
· Engage your audience for research purposes.
· Create higher conversion rates.
· Develop another communication channel (including for customer service purposes).
· Lower your marketing costs.
· Bolster your other marketing efforts.
While you may enjoy all these benefits of engaging on social media, you need to primarily pick just one goal, and then develop your social media strategy around that one goal.
Step 2: Define Your Target Market
When it comes to social media, there are two very important reasons for knowing as much about your audience as possible:
1. It helps you determine which social media platforms to focus on. You’ve probably heard about the ol’ 80/20 rule. That rule says that 20% of your activities generate 80% of the results. So we’re going to figure out which social media platforms are likely to provide 80% of your results, and then focus on those platforms.
2. You can connect with your audience better when you know something about them. In other words, you’ll be better able to post content on your social media platforms that really appeals to your audience.
Two good benefits, right?
For the purposes of this particular discussion, we’re going to focus on that first benefit: finding out who your audience is, so that you can then figure out the best social media platform(s) to use.
So how do you figure out who your audience is?
If you’re thinking you’ll just take a look at your crystal ball or look at some tea leaves, I’m gonna nix that idea right now. We’re going to be a bit more methodical about this.
It is a two-part process:
Step 1: Do some market research.
Step 2: Profile your market based on this research.
The good news is, you’ve already completed these steps when you did your initial market research while planning your store. So now you just need to go back to that research, do some more if you find any gaps in what you know about your audience, and then create an audience profile based on their demographics and behavior.
Once you’ve created this profile, move to the next step…
Step 3: Determine the Best Platforms
If you really start looking around online, you’ll quickly discover that there are hundreds of social media sites. You could immerse yourself in signing up for those sites starting today, and not come up for air for several weeks from now.
But you know what? Most of them are a waste of your time.
So instead of throwing mud at the wall to see what sticks, what you’re going to do is choose from the list of the top seven social media sites.
Here they are:
And how do you choose?
Simple: you use the profiling information you already have on hand about your audience, and then compare this to what is known about the audience profiles on the above sites. Then you select and focus on just one or two of the top platforms that best fits your audience demographics and overall business goals.
One way to get this information about the platforms is simply by researching the demographics yourself. You can find some of this information right on each of the social media’s sites, typically in the “about” section.
For others, you’ll need to do some research using Google or Bing. Be sure that you draw your numbers and research from reputable sources, especially those that conduct their own research (such as PewInternet.org) or those that link to their references.
Step 4: Develop a Social Media Strategy
Now what you need to do is develop an overall social media strategy. Remember, you’re going to start with just one or two platforms and focus on them until you start seeing good results.
You’ve already defined your overall social media goal – that will drive your social media strategy.
Here are questions to ask yourself to help you develop your social media strategy:
· What sort of content does your audience seem to respond to the best? (Hint: look at your competitors’ social media pages to get ideas.)
· What type of content do you need to create for your chosen platforms? (For example, if you’re on Instagram, then you need to share pics. If you’re on Facebook, you can create and share a wider variety of content.)
· How will you integrate your branding into your social media strategy?
· How often will you post on your social media accounts? (Hint: Posting at least two or three times weekly is the minimum – you’ll likely want to post more often.)
· What sort of tools will you use to schedule content and track responses? (See the resource document included with this guide to learn about your options.)
· Will you outsource content creation or do it yourself?
· How will you engage your audience to produce more likes, comments and shares? (E.G., Asking, “What do you think?” at the end of a post.)
· What sort of viral content will you distribute?
· How will you integrate your social media campaigns within your store? (For example, you can place social media “like” and “share” buttons next to products as well as below blog posts.)
· How much time will you set aside each day to interact with your audience, respond to their questions, etc.?
What you’ll want to do is develop a strategy using the answers to the questions above as a guideline, and then test your strategy. Test content length. Test text versus multimedia. Test out the time of day you post, the day, and how many times you post per week to see which strategy gives you the best reach.
Remember, social media isn’t an advertising platform – it’s an engagement platform, a place to share content. So, while you may post promos from time to time, remember that social media should be a dialogue (rather than a one-way monologue) – so engage and interact accordingly. If you build a relationship with your audience, they’ll be much more open to buy from you.
Some store owners sign up to every social media platform available and then use a shotgun approach. That’s a mistake. Instead, you need to profile your audience first, pick one or two platforms where your audience is most likely to congregate, and then develop a social media strategy that’s designed to meet your goals.