Social Media 101: Marketing Tips
Social media marketing covers a vast field that remains an enigma for many. As the digital world continues to grow and evolve, so do social media platforms. Using them effectively to generate leads, establish a brand, or to grow a business is an enormous task. Social media may seem like an easy task, but it can actually be quite time-consuming. There’s no doubt that implementing a solid social media strategy requires full-time focus and effort. Simply sending out tweets out into cyberspace will do nothing in return. There are many resources and strategies for building a solid social media presence, but no matter which platforms you use and how you use them, there remains four solid rules that ensure a successful social media campaign.
1) Be Consistent with Posts
Users interact differently on each platform. For instance, tweeting just one time per day is not enough because the feed moves constant and fast. Other platforms like Snapchat or Instagram don’t move as fast so you won’t need to publish quite as often. The goal is to develop a routine for posting and stick with it. As you are planning a social media campaign these four questions can help shape your posting routine.
– Which social media platform should you use to best reach your target audience?
– What type of content will you publish?
– How frequently will you post?
– When is the most productive time to reach your target audience and influencers via each platform?
I found this great chart by Matthew Barby that puts a visual perspective on how frequently you should crank out your content and on which platform, using a 2-month campaign length.
It can be complicated trying to nail down a precise time for social media posts. It can vary based on your audience, the network, your goal and the type of content being shared. However, research and data analysis has offered some insight as to the best general time to post on the major platforms.
– Optimal time to post on Twitter is around 3 PM on weekdays.
– Facebook is slightly more complicated with ideal times being from noon to 3PM Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday as well as from noon to 1 PM on Weekends.
– Prime time to post on Instagram is from noon to 1 PM on weekdays.
2) Add Value to the User
Posting just for the sake of posting is not an effective way to reach any audience. Of course, you want to post consistently, but it needs to offer the user value. Shared content should be relevant to the audience, offer helpful advice or information, or it can simply be entertaining. No matter what type of content media you choose to share, it should offer your audience enough value to which users are encouraged to share it with others in their online communities.
The question would then be, how do you offer your audience real value? There are several ways to ensure you offer readers or viewers value with your posts. Here are a few samples to get you started:
– Spotlight your clientele
– Demonstrate how your processes are done
– Send an update from the CEO
– Post inspirational or funny images matching the lifestyle of your customers
– Ask open-ended questions that elicit a response
– Post lists such as “Top 5” or “Top 3 Ways to”
3) Interact, Contribute, and Participate
Social media marketing is far more than just sharing links. Ultimately, you want to use the platform to build an online community with which is engaged. This will require interaction on your part. Interaction can take many forms and occur on a variety of levels. Social media was not designed to be one-way, remember you want to create and encourage online conversation and interaction. Here are a few ways to interact with the community you are building:
– Always reply when you are mentioned, even if it’s just with a “thank you” for the mention or share.
– Reply in a timely fashion to comments on your posts, tweets or any other content.
– Ask for questions, opinions or feedback – and respond when you get it.
Engagement can’t be created, it must be earned and this means you’ll have to be the first participant. This may involve taking the time to visit other’s blogs or forums, commenting on what they are contributing to your industry, following and responding to their tweets and getting “out there” online frequently. Get involved in what they are doing, check out their sites or send them a “thank you” via Twitter or email. Make it personal. When it’s appropriate, mention your audience or influencers. This will make your content “shareable” and create advocates of your content.
4) Measure, Analyze, and Proceed
It is imperative to know if a social media campaign is successful or not. Each platform has unique trackable metrics to help determine its level of effectiveness. Metrics should be tracked weekly, monthly and quarterly so you’ll know what is working, what is not and what changes may need to be made to a social media marketing campaign.
There are four key metrics that should be measured for every social media campaign. Thoughtful consideration of these factors can help you better shape your campaign or develop strategies for your next campaign.
– Volume: This metric may seem over simplified, but don’t underestimate its value. You need to know how many people are discussing your brand and how many messages you are sending. By monitoring these numbers, you will be able to isolate the times people talk about your brand and can focus your posts strategically to get more engagement.
– Reach: Reach measures more than just how big your audience is, but also tells you the size of your potential Reach, when compared with your other engagement metrics is a powerful tool.
– Engagement: When you’re looking at social media, engagement is perhaps the most important metric. It tells you how your audience is engaging with your brand and how they contribute to spreading your content.
– Influence: There are many tools for measuring influence and this makes it a controversial metric when it comes to social media. No matter which tools you put confidence in it’s important to note the size of the audience does not equate to influence, especially if followers are not engaging. However, determining your brand’s influencers allows you to shift your focus from just followers to those who will spread your content, message and brand.