Not so many years ago, the use of social media was seen as a new and exciting approach to marketing. These days, it has come to be regarded as a key pillar in any business’s digital marketing strategy. Good social media marketing strategies can boost your online presence in various ways; social metrics and shares can positively affect your SEO, direct relevant traffic to your website, help you manage your online reputation and connect you directly with your customers and potential customers.
Below are some essential steps to get any social media marketing campaign off the ground.
Defining Your Goals
Defining your goals is an essential first step to building any social media marketing plan. Although it would be easy to say every company’s goals are ultimately to increase revenue and achieve a good ROI, you have to be more specific when sitting down to define individual goals. It’s rarely as simple as just wanting to sell more and make more money. You need to think how your business will benefit best from social media.
With that in mind, do you want to drive traffic to your homepage, get more likes or followers, get your content shared or retweeted, raise your overall brand awareness, explain your products more efficiently and dispel myths about your industry or your product. Perhaps you just want to use social media as a platform to show your personality and that of your business or establish you as a thought leader in your field through intelligent and insightful commentary.
All of these are legitimate and distinct goals and need to be considered. Try to pick two primary goals and then have a secondary goal that you’d like to achieve as well.
Identifying Your Brand ‘Archetype’
The psychologist Carl Jung describes archetypes as “images and thoughts which have universal meanings and that transcend cultures, showing up as dreams, literature, art or even in religion”. Of course, it’s unlikely Jung new much about brand marketing and social media didn’t exist in his day, but his concept of archetypes has become a powerful one for marketers. Brands, as it turns out, can take on defining characteristics in just the same way as people.
See how much brands are actually spending to create a logo that relates with their audience.
Identifying whether your brand is a hero, magician, explorer or any of the other nine archetypes, allows you to not only understand your brand but also the audience you are trying to connect with on an emotional level. Let’s look at it another way. Ask yourself what emotions your brand is aiming to generate in people? If you haven’t thought about it, then you should. Think about the last time you looked through Facebook. Which shared newspaper articles and videos did you click on? Was it the funny ones or the emotional appeals for stolen pets or missing loved ones? Or perhaps you clicked on the ones that were trending, wanting to make sure you were up to date with what everyone was talking about. There are several other emotional levels as well, like colors! Now think about your brand. Which emotions do you want it to generate when people see your social media marketing?
Defining Your Target Audience
A great way to do this is to think about your ideal customer – not a conceptual ideal customer either, but an actual identifiable individual. If you are already trading, think of someone who lives and breathes your brand (such as Apple). They buy all your new items and tell all their friends about you. Now think about them as a person. Where do they go, and what do they do? Are they an adventurous traveller or a home-lover, family person or a true individual, forging their own way in the world? What are their hobbies? Where do they shop? What smartphone do they have? Where do they access the internet and what is their favourite social network? Understanding what motivates your potential customers is the key to any successful social media marketing campaign and building kudos around your brand.
Picking Your Platforms
Defining your target audience will assist in picking your target platform. Yes, it is great to have a presence on them all but you will, and should, have a favourite. Google plus is a great network for improving your SEO and is an absolute must if you are producing regular blog content, as plugging it on Google Plus can often see it appear high up in the search engine results pages. Twitter is great for reaching an enormous audience, if you are willing to accept that most people are there to promote themselves and not to buy from you. Pinterest is ideal if you have a very visual brand, and Facebook is great for B2C brands and for those with a lot to say.
Whatever the nature of your business though, Facebook and Twitter are just too big to ignore. Try starting with these and picking another two or three to go with them.
Planning Your Content
It will save you a lot of time and effort if you loosely plan what you are going to share and where. It is important to know whether the majority of your fans follow you on all social platforms. If they don’t, you can repeat content across networks. Don’t annoy people, though. If they follow you on several platforms, and you are repeatedly posting the same things on all networks at the same time, you could end up alienating your biggest fans. Mix your content up and share different things on different platforms. If in-depth content goes down better on LinkedIn than it does on Facebook, then make a note of this and only share your meatier content through this platform.
It is also worth bearing in mind that you have a short window of time in which to grab your fans and hold their attention. Successful brands don’t come across as advertisers these days – instead can be seen more as publishers, providing users with material that they want to see and not material that they think they should see. This is an important difference and is what separates inbound advertising from good content marketing and brand building. You need to engage your users on an emotional level in order to touch them on a logical level and get your brand message across.
This goes back to the first point about defining your goals. Think about the old adage of target setting. Your plan must be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. This is a very old approach to target setting, but it still rings true. If you can’t measure the success of each and every post you place on social media, how will you know which should be repeated?
Measuring success can involve metrics like views, retweets, hashtags, blog comments and placements, CTR, bounce rate, duration watched. Google Analytics is a must if you are to measure traffic to your site in any way but social media is a different story. There are now a host of social media monitoring tools available such as Hootsuite, so shop around for the ones that most suit your needs.
About the Author: John Lanyon is Creative Director at Hurricane Media, a video production and content marketing agency based in Bristol. An award winning film maker, John directed the lauded short documentary ‘Who’s Lenny’ which won Best Short Film at the Royal Television Society Awards in 2012. In his years at Hurricane he has helped create video marketing campaigns for leading local and global brands and is an authority on online video marketing and social media. You can follow Hurricane on Google+, Twitter or Facebook.