Social media is one of today’s most critical marketing platforms. Your inbound marketing goals lead you to meet potential customers where they are—and where better than on their favorite social media accounts? Developing the ideal social media marketing strategy for your business, however, can feel like an impossible task. How are you supposed to make your business stand out above all the others? By following a few basic principles, you can bring your business the attention it deserves, attract customers who are genuinely interested in the products and services you’re offering, and create higher levels of inbound traffic.
Creating Your Social Media Goals
In most cases, your marketing goals seem obvious. You want to bring in more people who are interested in the products and services you’re offering, then convert them to satisfied customers who will bring you their business in the future. Inbound marketing, however, may have a number of different goals. For example, you might want to:
- Attract fans who will become more knowledgeable about your business, ultimately becoming brand ambassadors.
- Encourage discussion about new products.
- Connect with customers to learn more about their likes, dislikes, and experience with your company.
- Learn more about customers’ specific needs so that you can develop better products.
- Build customer relationships.
- Improve recognition of your brand.
- Create a platform for customer interaction with one another to further your fan base.
As you can see, social media isn’t just another platform for sharing more about your product. It’s a place to connect with your customers, nurturing your relationships with them and giving them a better experience every time they connect with your company. As you develop your social media goals, it’s important to keep every aspect of the experience in mind.
Your social media goals should be realistic, measurable, and in line with the other goals you have for your business. Take the time to write them down and look back at them when it’s relevant. Whether you’re designing a new social media campaign or wondering if you’re spending too much time at your computer, a look back at those goals will help you guide your social media presence.
Improve Your Understanding of Your Target Audience
Who, exactly, is using your product? Design buyer personas that will help you understand exactly who your target audience is and what they’re looking for. For example, if you sell a baby or children’s product, your ideal buyer persona might be a mom who cares about high-quality products for her child. Imagine her age, her other interests, and other ways that you might attract her attention. Selling products to businesses? Your target might be a highly-placed manager who is short on time and attention, but whose attention will be snagged immediately if you offer ways to save time or money for the business.
Understanding your target audience will help shape every social media post you make for your business. It will help you gain a better understanding of what grabs their focus, what their education level looks like, and what they’re expecting out of their interactions with your company. As you connect with your customers on social media, you may add new buyer personas to the mix. That’s great! It means that your ability to connect with customers on social media is growing.
Choose the Right Platform
If there were only a couple of different social media platforms, it would be easy to stay involved with all of them. Since there are several platforms with a variety of functions, it’s critical that you choose the ones that will create the highest level of success for your social media goals. Not all social media platforms are created equal–and the ones that will be the most effective for your company are as unique as your marketing plan.
Take a good, long look at each social media platform. Learn what they’re about. Pinterest and Instagram, for example, are devoted primarily to images. If you have a strong product or a highly visual campaign with a lot of pictures, these platforms are the perfect choice for you. If you prefer short snippets of information or links to longer posts, Twitter is a great platform for sharing all the latest news about your business. Seeking business connections? LinkedIn is your ideal platform. Facebook, as the largest social media platform, is the ideal starting place for many companies who are hoping to make a name for themselves on social media.
When you understand the social media platforms, you’re able to choose the one that will be most effective for you. One guideline? Consider where your target audience spends the most time. Take a look at the demographics for the social media platform you’re considering. Is it used widely by your target audience? Does it look like the best place for you to start building your presence? If not, move on to another platform that will fit your needs.
Once you have your goals in place and have chosen your platform, it’s time to start creating! When you design your profile, be sure to include a link back to your website to make yourself easy to find. Then, experiment with different types of posts. Depending on your goals, ask yourself these questions:
What types of posts most interest my target audience? Which ones get the largest number of responses? What types of posts lead to conversions? Your method of measuring this interest and engagement may differ based on what your social media goals are. For example, if your goal is simply to increase sales, you might discover that posts highlighting individual products perform the best. If you’re seeking to better understand your target audience, on the other hand, posts that ask questions that interest and engage them will be of more use to you.
What posts fail to get as much attention? Just like some posts will obviously stand out in terms of high engagement, other posts will be virtually ignored. What are those posts for your industry? What posts receive few likes, shares, or comments? Keep a close eye on these posts and try to avoid sharing them any more often than necessary–especially on Facebook, with its complex algorithm for deciding what posts are seen in each individual’s newsfeed.
How frequently should I post in order to get the best response? Keep in mind that the answer may be different depending on your platform. Facebook and Instagram, for example, often work best when you post 1-2 times per day. Pinterest users, on the other hand, don’t mind a flood of pins–five or more per day–as long as they’re appropriate and relevant.
How much connection are my customers looking for? Modern customers expect you to respond to their posts on your social media pages. They want answers to their questions, responses to their comments, and to engage in conversation across this versatile channel. Building your social media presence relies heavily on these connections and conversations. Carefully weigh exactly what your customers are looking for as you build the social media experience they’re looking for.
Building your social media marketing strategy is an ongoing, changeable process that can shift in the blink of an eye. Your goal is to match your social media presence to the needs and desires of your customers. That means understanding them better, working hard to connect, and being open to change! If something about your social media strategy isn’t working, it’s time to change it up, try something new, and see whether or not you’ll be able to reach your audience on this platform.