The key to successful social media marketing is a mix of listening, engaging, sharing, and understanding your customers. Social media marketing isn’t easy, but a little bit of effort and adoption will go a long way in meeting your sales goals and increasing recognition for your brand. Here’s a short list of our favorite strategies and tips for making the most out of your social media marketing efforts.
Establish Purpose and Goals
The first step towards success in social media marketing is to set business goals for your initiative. Social media can serve many purposes – branding, customer service, product awareness, loyalty marketing– so it’s best to define the main purpose in order to maintain a focused effort. After establishing your purpose, you can set measureable goals to judge the success of your efforts.
For example, if your purpose is to create awareness of your brand and products within your target market, your goals can be number of visitors to your website from social media sources, number of brand or product mentions across social media networks, and number of leads generated from social media.
Once you’ve established measurable business goals, you can use those to “back into” social goals. Say you have a goal of generating 10 leads per month via social media: If you currently generate 5 leads per month with a total follower count of 500, then your follower goal would be 1000. If you’re just getting started out and don’t have past data to work with, aim for a certain level of follower growth (i.e. 20% increase per week) and keep track of various ratios such as follower-to-lead ratio or post-count-to-lead ratio.
Something to keep in mind when building followers is to focus on building qualified followers. Gaining generic followers won’t actually result in achieving your business goals whereas attracting possible customers will help.
Linking social goals to business goals helps keep you focused on doing the right kind of activities and attracting the right kind of people.
Be a Resource
One of the best ways to build a social following is to establish yourself as a highly valuable resource to your target market. Here are some points on accomplishing that goal:
- What are the problems facing your target market? How can you solve them or point them towards solutions?
- How can you get community members talking to each other? Create a place where people can feel a sense of belonging. Ask questions that invite community members to share knowledge & resources with each other.
- Share content that aligns with the common interests and values of those who are currently connected to your social profiles and those you would like to be connected to.
- Spend time researching keywords on Facebook and Twitter that relate to your target audience’s interests. This should help you see who is talking and what they are talking about.
- Interview experienced individuals in your industry concerning topics relevant to your target market, and talk about it on your social pages with links to your blog where you host the full interview transcript or a summary transcript.
Connect with Influencers
Another popular tactic for generating follower growth is to identify and connect with influencers. Influencers are individuals who have a large following of people who may potentially buy your product. The idea behind connecting with influencers is to create a relationship wherein you get introduced to the influencer’s network either by direct recommendation or by sharing of content and conversations.
Here are some tips on finding and connecting with influencers:
- Research if influencer ecosystems currently exist for your market. Is anyone else already bringing the market together?
- Search for individuals or companies that interact with large, engaged audiences on different social media platforms.
- Search Facebook pages and groups to see if there are already communities of your target market interacting on the platform.
- Search for active bloggers who focus on topics of interest to your target market.
- Develop co-marketing opportunities with related companies.
- Share quality content from influencer sources (articles, videos, podcasts, infographics, Pinterest boards, pictures, presentations, etc.)
Once you have set your goals, began to build followers, and connected with other active users, you’ll want to make sure you continue to post relevant and engaging content. Here are a few tips on keeping that going on a regular basis:
The 4-1-1 Principle
Try adhering to the 4-1-1 principle in your social posts. For every one piece of original content you promote, promote four pieces of content from other authors and re-share one other person’s social post. This stresses the social aspect of social media to help create connections with other people who are active within your networks. A company that only self-promotes typically does not get much- if any- engagement on social media.
Define Your Audience
Identify your target audience with a full demographic profile. Find out what they discuss and where they engage. The more you know about your target market, the easier it will be to connect with them and offer an experience they naturally prefer. Using the Mosaic profile tool is one of the many ways to go about this process.
If you have a company or community page on Facebook, you can find valuable data using the Facebook Insights section. You’ll see a demographic breakdown of both your page likes and of the people who engage with your page (likes, clicks, and comments).
Entice With Persuasive Statements
When posting links to content, always add an enticing statement. Think of it as writing headlines. Writing effective headlines is 90% of the battle when getting people to read your content. The other 10% is delivering what the headline promises.
A Note About LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a different beast than other social networks. A higher level of proactive engagement is required to get the most out of LinkedIn. Having a complete profile with lots of recommendations and endorsements is the first step.
Like other networks, you can use LinkedIn as a platform to promote your original content, but the real opportunity is in finding groups and individuals to interact with. Spend time searching through groups to find communities where your target market is interacting. Join those groups and contribute to the conversation.
Set yourself up as an expert resource. Give without asking anything in return. You’ll garner a lot of positive recognition by regularly pointing people to helpful resources, answering questions, and inspiring discussions that benefit the whole group.