More users are now on social media than ever before.
Ignoring this marketing channel means losing a competitive advantage. According to data from GlobalWebIndex, 28 percent of all online activity is spent on social media. And that number is only expected to continue to climb.
It is no longer a question of whether businesses should be using social media. But rather how it can be effectively used to reach target audiences and drive measurable results. Simply posting haphazardly without a clear plan is likely to fail to gain any traction.
So how can you effectively leverage this channel?
Here is how to develop a winning social media campaign for your business. Putting a plan together with this guide will push your marketing efforts even further.
1. Define Your Objectives
What do you want to achieve with social media?
Answering this question is key to creating a strategy that drives your business goals forward. It also allows you to better track and measure your campaigns.
Common social media objectives include:
- Increase brand awareness: Social media is the perfect channel to spread the word about your business.
- Grow product sales: Targeting the right audience greatly increases product exposure which can lead to more sales.
- Generate newsletter subscribers: Mailing lists are incredibly valuable. Using social media can help increase the number of subscribers to your newsletter.
- Increase traffic: Content that goes viral can drive a significant amount of traffic to your pages.
Different metrics from number of shares to product sales can be used to track objectives. Focus on how each can support your business goals.
2. Choose the Right Platforms
The more you know about your audience the better you can target them. Think about the demographics of your market and consider their:
This information is incredibly value as it helps you choose the right platform to build your social strategy. The Pew Research Center has done extensive research on the demographics of the major platforms.
Here is a basic overview of each:
- Facebook: Facebook is by far the most popular social network boasting over one billion active users. More than 70% of online adults use Facebook and engagement remains higher than other platforms. One study has also shown that more people check Facebook than other networks when they want to learn more about a small business.
- Twitter: With over 300 million active users, Twitter has seen a steady rise in popularity. This is a great platform if you are targeting the younger, tech-savvy crowd.
- Google+: The biggest reason to join Google+ is that it offers great SEO benefits especially for local businesses. Customers can leave reviews which show up in the search results.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn has over 380 million active users. This platform is more business-oriented but is still a great platform to target especially for B2B.
- Pinterest: Pinterest lets users easily share images and videos to their own boards. Consider creating a profile on this platform if your business has a visual aspect to it.
There are numerous other social platforms including Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube. But you only have so much time in a given day. Choose the networks that best fit the demographics of your audience to better focus your efforts.
3. Brand Your Profile Pages
The next step is to create your business profiles.
Follow the instructions for each and verify your business. Take the time to fill out all the fields in details. Remember that each profile is essentially an extension of your company. Make a poor impression and you risk turning visitors away.
Pay attention to these areas:
- Logo and tagline: Maintaining consistent branding is key to building a strong brand. Even when Google recently changed its logo, it did so across all platforms. Use the same logo and tagline on all your profiles.
- Imagery: Adding images is straightforward and helps your profiles stand out. As with your logos, use the same graphics to maintain a consistent look.
- Company description: Write a short description in a manner that succinctly describes your company. Then use a similar description on your profiles. Visitors should know exactly what your business offers.
Tailor your message according to your target market. But remember to maintain brand consistency across all profiles.
4. Create Content For Your Audience
Content is at the foundation of every social media campaign. Without it your profiles would essentially be empty. So a large part of your efforts will be focused here.
But what kind of content should you create?
Your aim is to create relevant and engaging content for your audience. Doing so positions your business as an industry expert and brings you that much closer to your objectives.
- Research ideas: Start by researching your target audience and brainstorm topics to cover. Search online, visiting competing sites, browse forums or even use social media to see what your audience is talking about.
- Create an editorial calendar: Having a social media calendar is a great way to plan and schedule your content in advance. It lets you stay on top of your social media efforts so you don’t wait until the last minute.
- Offer different content formats: Mix up your content to expand your reach. In addition to creating content for your blog, use other media such as videos, images, and guides.
Content creation is the most important aspect of a social media campaign.
But managing this aspect can be exhausting and time-consuming without a dedicated marketing team. One way to maintain an active profile is to look to your audience. Share posts by your customers or find other content to add to your calendar. This is also a great way to interact directly with your target market.
5. Measure Your Results
How well is your campaign performing?
Which platform has higher engagement?
Where are your sales coming from?
The only way to know for sure is to measure and track your results. Otherwise you won’t know how your campaigns are performing. Analyzing key metrics (e.g. shares, traffic, sales, etc.) is invaluable as it provides more insight on what is and what isn’t working. This lets you fine-tune your campaigns for even better performance.
There are a number of social media management tools available such as Hootsuite that make it easy to measure and analyze your campaigns. You see a wealth of actionable action from how popular certain posts are to level of engagement across all platforms. As your business grows, consider investing more into your social media efforts.
Behind every successful social media campaign is a well executed strategy.
The bottom line is that your business can benefit greatly with social media. Start by defining your business objectives. Then evaluate the demographics of your market to choose the right platform. Create content that is relevant to your audience and remember to track all your efforts.
Taking these steps is the key to creating a winning social media strategy for your business that drives measurable results and increases online visibility.