Social media has been at the very heart of all digital marketing efforts ever since the arrival of big players like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.
According to the latest research by the Global Web Index on social media habits, there are two key factors driving the increased growth of social media platforms. Firstly, the number of people accessing the internet via mobile phones has increased by 60.3% to 818.4m between 2012 and 2014.
Secondly, the 55-64 year age bracket is the fastest-growing demographic on Twitter averaging at about 79% growth rate since 2012. It’s not just Twitter, the fastest growing demographic segment on Facebook also happens to be the 45-54 year age bracket.
Over the years these social media platforms have managed to become an integral part of our lives, drawing in millions of users every day. In India, for example, recent statistics reflect a boom in social media users. What had begun simply as a medium to stay in touch with friends and family kept growing slowly to become a medium for brands and businesses to find and connect with their target audience.
With the rapid growth of this medium, many brands have created a distinct social media presence through well-crafted strategies. During this period, numerous social media trends have emerged, and they have kept evolving over the years. Being up to date with these new and upcoming trends is what keeps businesses stay one step ahead in the fiercely competitive market.
During the early years of social media marketing, the focus of marketing efforts was all about audience building and driving engagement. Today’s social media marketing efforts are more focused on driving up sales and creating personalized content to keep their customers coming back for more. Alongside social media, businesses still use other methods, including email and SMS marketing, podcasts, etc to fully engage their audience.
In response, most of the major social media platforms have heavily invested in and improved upon their advertising solutions to bring in more and more marketers with the promise of improved APIs and improved targeting to enable them to run more and more personalized marketing campaigns.
A social media strategy determines how a brand or organization will be able to use social media to achieve its communications objectives. It also defines the supporting platform and tools which should be used in the pursuit of this objective. On a fundamental level, it seems like a simple statement of purpose, outlining the goals and objectives which can be measured using social media along with the end target outcomes you are hoping to achieve. Therefore social media strategy is a detailed plan of action. You always need a plan to begin with but without a clear strategy, it would be impossible to prioritize the activities you need to carry out to achieve this objective.
The foundation of any social media marketing strategy is social media optimization (SMO). To increase your business or brand sales, it is important to learn and understand the social media habits of your target audience or consumers and tailor your messaging according to their preferences and needs.
A successfully executed social media strategy will not only increase your sales but will also go a long way in building brand presence and trust.
Any social media research activities that you undertake will allow you to understand the market and help you gain deep and close insights on the market condition and what your prospective consumers need. It will also allow you to discover the right opportunities to build your business and gain valuable insights into what your competitors are doing.
There is a unique way of approaching every social media platform and a marketer should be aware of them.
1. Determine Your Business Goals for Your Social Media Efforts
Whether you are aiming on building awareness and raising brand visibility or just increasing sales and retaining existing customers, your business goal must be predefined and strategies should be planned accordingly.
2. Research Your Target Audience
Knowing your target audience and their social media habits and preferences will help you create more targeted and effective messaging. Having a good understanding of your social media target audience is one of the most important aspects of social media marketing. You need to find a niche in order to dominate it. You can compile your potential audience on the basis of age, location, interests, occupation, language, etc. Audience research will help you craft relevant messages for your campaign.
3. Choose the Correct Platform
Once you are aware of where your prospective audience is, you must create a carefully crafted plan on how many resources you are to allocate to each of these platforms.
4. Develop the Right Content
The content that you create must be tailored to meet the preferences of people on different platforms. Create exciting content that will nudge your audience into visiting your page more often and consuming your content more regularly. Not only this, if you hit the right nerve with the content you are putting out, people might also want to share it with their friends thereby bringing in more customers.
5. Effective Campaigns
Once you’ve established your brand on social media and have reached out to your target audience, you can run more sales-driven campaigns to lead your audience to your business page.
6. Measure your Performance
To gauge the effectiveness of your campaigns and marketing plan, you must constantly monitor the major social media metrics. The metrics you’ve established should be in line with your business goals.
7. Revise your Strategy
Based on the results you’ve achieved, you can either revise your social media strategy for better performance or continue with what has worked for you before. Your strategy must always be aligned with your business goals. A little competition research can also go a long way in helping you formulate the right strategy.
To sum it up, since more and more businesses are foraying into the social media domain, it’s critical to ensure that your marketing efforts are aligned with your business’ goals and your content is fresh and engaging for consumers.