Social media can be considered the Wild West of marketing. It offers plenty of opportunities for small businesses, yet there’s still little information about how it really works.
Big companies spend billions of dollars every year on social media advertising campaigns and branding. A number of agencies were created in order to study this phenomenon and help companies to get the most of their money. Giants like Starbucks or Mercedes Benz regained their international market position thanks to proper social media branding.
Nevertheless, there’s still no comprehensive guide on how to get the best of social media. There are a lot of numbers and statistics on the web, and every CMO and business owner gives them a different use. That being said, we’ve spotted four fundamental rules and strategies any business owner should keep in mind. By knowing those basics, one can use them according to their business audience, brand and needs.
Identifying the Target Market
Your company needs to make sure that its business objectives are clear and up-to-date. Different objectives require different means. For instance, the products that need to be revived might need a campaign that would target its zealous users and spotlight them. On the other hand, the newest products often require a trendy awareness campaign. Crowd-sourcing feedback and using social community as an idea generator might be important as well. It’s all about the goals.
Targeting the Right Audience
Social media requires a two-way communication. Social media posts aren’t ads. In order to keep following your company, the community needs to feel engaged with its posts. Obviously, every person is different, so it’s difficult to create engaging posts for an enormously wide audience. Therefore, it’s important to define a narrow audience and tailor the social media posts, updates and polls accordingly.
It’s also important to know how the audience perceives your company. There are several available audit templates that would allow you to find out how the community perceives your brand. Some agencies, like Nielsen or Edison Research might do this job for you. You can also look up for your company reviews using Google and other search engines.
Engaging with the Community
Now that the target audience is defined, it’s time to find out their interests. In other words, it’s important to find out the appropriate tone and style of your company social media publications. The target audience needs to be studied and constantly monitored. New trends emerge every day, and your company needs to be the first to know about them. There are some long term monitoring services, such as HubSpot, Hootsuite and Radiant 6. They help your company to keep track of the trendy hashtags, brand mentions and so on. Other services, like Klout, help you to find the most influential people in your niche.
Marketing Goals as Social Media KPIs
Social media performance can be easily monitored. Every social platform has their own follower/subscription algorithms, like/dislike systems (or similar), view counts, comment sections and so on. Those allow you to easily monitor your community engagement level and set specific KPI. Other tools, like Social Reports by Google Analytics, help to further systematize the information provided by those reports. While your marketing team is directly linked to social media marketing, it might be a good idea to delegate part of the task to other departments too.
While the information here describes merely the basics of social media marketing, this info is fundamental to sort any further information about the topic. Every company has their own know-how’s, and some of them share those in their blogs. There are also many independent researchers who study the impact of social media on companies and post useful reports on their blogs. It’s good to gather the data they’ve found and use it accordingly to the strategy described here.