Creating a social media marketing strategy from scratch: ‘The where’
Social media marketing is one of the most effective and cost-effective ways to engage directly with customers, research the market, drive sales and develop a loyal customer base – but only if you know which channel to use and how to use them. Welcome to a series of blog posts designed to help trepidatious social media marketers create the foundations of a strong social media marketing strategy…
Whatever industry you operate within, there will be companies out there visibly and successfully using social media channels to raise their profiles, reach new audiences, shape perceptions, drive sales and keep ahead of the competition. How can you too use social media to meet your business objectives? The answer isn’t always obvious. It’s not simply a case of seeing who’s doing the best and doing the same: social media audiences will spot frauds and copycats a mile off. You must be yourself. As Oscar Wilde said: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
But how? Where to start?
Whether you’re taking your first steps into social media or re-evaluating an underperforming set of presences and approaches, we recommend you go right back to the basics. This means exploring the who, the what, the where and the why…
Deciding where to focus your social media energy can be a bewildering process. It’s easy to get distracted by the hum of articles telling brands where they ‘must be’, where people are leaving or heralding the ‘next big thing’ in social media. No brand or business can or would want to be everywhere all the time. Choosing the right social media channel for your business depends on several things including:
Use published data relating to social media demographics to help you make your decision. Find out where your customers/prospects ‘hang out’ and where they prefer to consume different types of content. It may be no surprise that user demographics for Instagram are very different to Google+ for example. Generally speaking, channels such as Instagram, Twitter and Vine have a younger demographic than Google+, Facebook and LinkedIn. Similarly, in a recent survey the Pinterest user base is 80% female and the Google+ user base is around 65% male. However there’s no substitute for a combination of cold, hard facts and insight gained as a result of actually speaking to a sample of prospects and customers to find out what they’re using and how.
What content do you want to get out there and to what purpose? Which platforms would this content be well received on? It helps to know how you plan to distribute your content before you create it; this way it can be adapted and optimised for your platforms of choice. It’s also worth considering if there is existing content that can be refreshed and repurposed.
Time and budget
Although most social media channels are free to use, it takes a great deal of time to manage even a single presence to a high standard. In addition to the time required to plan, create and publishing great content, to build a thriving community you also need to spend time actively engaging. In business it’s better to do a little well than a lot poorly – this applies to social media marketing too.
It’s also worth considering of the size of your advertising budget – to have the impact you’d like you are almost certainly going to have to pay. Almost all the major social networks now offer paid services – you can generally either pay to grow your audience via in-feed advertising or to ensure single messages or pieces content reach a highly targeted audience. In some cases, to make these paid services more attractive (and necessary), platforms have reduced the organic reach of posts.
Sounds like a lot to think about and a lot of research right?
Help is at hand – not only are we always at the end of the phone, we have recently created several short, jargon-free guides covering basic platform functionality and the associated lingo, summarising the various opportunities these platforms present to brands.
So far we’ve published guides covering Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, Google+ and YouTube.
Feel free to have a look and download any that are helpful to your business.