Nearly all large corporations and small businesses are on social media. Even your kids’ lemonade stand probably has a Facebook page. There’s single explanation for this trend: everyone is on social media. According to recent data, there are more than 2.3 billion active social media users on the planet. This is about a third of the current global population. With the right content and perfect timing, you can tap millions of potential customers at no cost.
Social media marketing is not as simple as posting photos about your shop or hashtagging as many people as you can. You are competing for attention against countless brands. How will you stand out?
Here are 9 ingenious ways to boost your social media engagement and performance towards an end goal: your business profitability.
Reassess your purpose
Before going over social media marketing tactics, you should be asking yourself one question: what is my purpose in joining the fray? Not because everybody’s doing it, you should too. There are companies that remain out of the limelight for certain reasons. Either they don’t know how to effectively use online platforms or they’ve recognized that they don’t need it.
Tim Grimes, social media manager at Defected Records, says: “We need to take a step back from the relentless quest for followers, clicks, and mentions, and instead think about why brands got involved in social media in the first place.”
Establishing your purpose will allow you to identify the right social media platforms to use and the tactics to enforce.
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According to Propelrr, it is essential to conduct an in-depth research on your target market. Know the social media users “who need your product, want your product, will potentially consume your product, and those with the purchasing power to buy your product.” It is also a rule of thumb in marketing to identify your competitors. “Get inspiration from what your competitors are doing right and learn from their mistakes,” says Propelrr.
However, mapping out your battlefield—knowing your target market and rivals—is not enough to lead the race in social media strategy. The biggest challenge in operating digitally is by detecting upcoming trends. Be mindful of ripples that can potentially turn into waves. As a social media strategy, follow trendsetters in the most popular platforms. Take note of hashtags—where and how they originated and the type of audience that uses them.
Dive in. Set trends.
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One important social media marketing strategy for small businesses and large conglomerates (and even individual users) is to create a material that will go viral. After following trendsetters, the next goal is to become one of them. Be a trendsetter yourself.
However, there is still no formula to create something that will catch the Internet’s attention. Jan Rezab, CEO of social media analytics company Socialbakers, advises that you get ideas from Internet users. “The reality is that social media is about hard effort, about having a deep dialogue with your community, and building those relationships. Social media isn’t Facebook, Twitter and YouTube—social media is people,” Rezab says.
Give, give, give. Then ask.
The New York Times bestselling author and social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk highlighted one glaring business mistake that leads marketing initiatives to zero results. In the book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World, Vaynerchuk says that businesses keep on asking something from users (the right hook) without giving anything of value. The problem is, everybody’s giving the right hook—asking social media users to buy their products, without offering anything first.
Stand out by giving a material of value. This is where content marketing plays a crucial role. People have never been interested in plain vanilla marketing, which explains why we switch channels during TV commercial breaks. Create a content that appeals to your target market. Know what they find valuable, then strike.
Put a human face to your brand. Interact!
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Do you remember the social media site that started these all? Friendster was insanely popular globally until it disintegrated into oblivion. There are 101 reasons behind its downfall and one of which is the lack of interactive tools. Users were able to maintain and customize their accounts, even solicit testimonials from friends to be posted on their profiles. It’s the perfect self-tribute. However, it failed to address one human need: interaction.
Facebook, the largest online social network, is perfecting areas Friendster sorely neglected. Now, it’s up to you to capitalize on this. Anna Lawlor, co-director at Social iMedia, says: “The more successful brands use social media to actually talk with (i.e. engage) their social connections.” Read comments, acknowledge shares, and answer queries as often as you can. This will also put out any marketing mishap before it turns into a forest fire.
Up the ante on customer experience
Social media has made customer feedback easier. However, it has also provided a platform for customers to vent out their frustrations on companies for all the world to see. Remember that people check out products online before making actual purchases. One bad review can spell disaster. This doesn’t mean that you have to filter every single comment on your page. Acknowledge the concern (most of the time, people just need to know that you’re listening) and ensure that steps will be taken to improve your products or services.
Maximize social media by improving user experience. Uriel Alvarado, chief marketing and public relations officer at Saxo Capital Markets, says: “If users are already sharing information openly, the better brands can understand and improve our experiences and needs based on this information, the more palatable advertising can become.”
No one wants to talk to a robot, thus the calls for a more “personal touch” in dealing with customers. Auto-posting content is similar with cold calling. No one wants it. It doesn’t engage people and stirs no emotion that can potentially lead to a sale. As a matter of fact, studies reveal that auto-posting to Facebook cuts likes and comments by roughly 70%.
Stir up action
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Marketing is a double-edge sword. Doing it too directly can appear overselling, while being subtle can be confusing. How do you get your message across without being an annoying salesman? Include a great call to action at the end of every post. Tell your followers to visit your link, share the content with friends or comment. An appealing content is good, but remind yourself that social media is but a tool towards your business goals.
Let experts analyze your data
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You’ve identified your target audience, creating compelling content and even hitting the “trending jackpot” more than once. What now? Remember that social media marketing techniques are merely your means to an end. Stirring noise in the Internet is fun but you need sales. This is where a digital marketing agency fits in. Let professionals run through your raw data and translate these into your language—the language of how you can turn the likes and shares into money. Through analytics, you can stop shooting in the dark and start developing targeted marketing initiatives.
Technology is continuously changing the way we do business. Ten years ago, “tweets” and “hashtags” were not even words. Today, these can help you reach your annual sales quota. It’s just a matter of choosing the right data-driven social media marketing tips, executing these intelligently, and lots of patience.Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community