10 TIPS FOR SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
Choose the right Social Media platform
Choosing the right social platforms is the most important step in creating an effective Social Media strategy. Carefully research and choose the platforms depending on their subscriber numbers and popularity within your specific target group, industry presence and potential growth in the future.
Facebook continues to be the most popular mainstream network in 2016, however, if you’re targeting youngsters, you might find better results in engaging through Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr and Vine.
Some good sources to find useful data on Social Media demographics and usage in the UK are Ofcom.org.uk, GlobalWebIndex.net, and the latest company statements by individual Social Media networks.
Know your target audience and develop suitable tone of voice
Creating a strong, consistent voice is the key to being heard and trusted by your fans.
To decide on your positioning for Social Media platforms, firstly, re-evaluate your company culture and what it stands for. Have you been working toward building a professional image for your company or does it come out as fun loving chilled out persona? Try to be consistent with your brand image and support building an overall brand reputation.
Another important step is to find out the favourite communication style of your audience (i.e. playful, sarcastic, professional). Check out what tone of voice gets them excited about your posts and tailor your messages accordingly to have higher engagement rate.
Remember that Social Media content is not suitable for a hard-sale, so be more subtle, casual and relevant to the audience. After all, the most effective marketing strategy relies on creating a strong emotional connection.
Create bespoke content
It’s key to know what interests your fans. If you’re a food company and you know that your audience loves sharing their lunch pictures, put more focus on the images. Another useful tip is to analyse the competitors’ platforms and see what works or doesn’t work for them. There is usually enough data out there to figure out the value of your Social Media content before creating them. Don’t wait until you publish the posts to measure the effectiveness.
If you find something that works, stick with it. Do your fans respond better to links, photos or videos? You should always refine your Social Media plans in response to what is well received and what isn’t.
Content with relevant images is 94% more likely to get views compared to the ones without photos. Moreover, visual content is shared 40 times more than other types of content!
It’s always recommended to create authentic images for the brand, rather than purchase them. This adds a personal touch to your platforms and helps to make them more relevant to your brand. Besides, with the photo editors such as Canva and Fotor, it has become very easy to create eye-catchy banners with your existing photostock.
A great video is not only engaging but also shows that you are ready to go that extra mile to provide useful content to your fans. This can include tutorials or informative talks and animations, customer testimonials or just appeal visually. Videos are particularly suitable for platforms such as Instagram and Vine. Be informative and compelling, make sure your videos are consistent with your brand.
Social Media is increasingly becoming a popular customer service channel. 42% of Facebook users expect a response from the brands within and hour, and further 41% within a day. Higher responsiveness leads to a stronger connection between the brand and its consumers, higher purchase rates and better chances for shares, taggings and retweets.
Encourage fan loyalty with special offers
Although only 22% of brands give special offers to their fans, 67% of the Social Media users expect a special treatment after liking a brand page. Rewarding your audience means more loyal fans. Prizes can include product trials, coupons, vouchers, video or other types of special content. Note that fans often prefer tangible ‘added value’, rather than discounts.
Additionally, fans love when they can contribute to the brand they love. This can be a new idea or feedback for a product, or just having an input in word of mouth.
Create a relationship with influencers and bloggers
Social Media success is about having a dialogue with the right people. The Social Media influencers are individuals with a positive reputation and a high number of followers who are constantly engaged with them and are likely to be impacted by the influencer’s recommendation.
First step is to find the influencers in your industry who can help you attract a new audience for your products and services if you build a relationship with them, and reach more people in a short time. You can find relevant influencers via various apps, such as Klout and Riffle Twitter Insight or just by monitoring their profiles and blogs.
Remember, that it is important to make the relationship a mutually beneficial one (i.e. with cross-promotion). Engage with influencers through content they are sharing and participate in conversations they are starting or leading. You can also supply them with your products for reviews or endorsements.
A blogger can retweet your Social Media content, link back to your website on their blog, participate in your events as a speaker, or support you with your web content creation, which will help you to improve your search rankings and gain more followers.
Be prepared for crisis
Everyone is aware that a crisis is more difficult to ‘control’ on Social Media compared to the traditional ways of communication, as the outbreak can be a lot quicker and more widespread. In fact, this is one of the reasons some brand still hesitate to go social.
Crisis can be expected or unexpected, but regardless, anyone should be prepared for them as much as possible. If you are aware of a business aspect that is being questioned occasionally, prepare possible complaints and respective answers for them depending on your previous experience.
However, it’s not always that the issues come out from where you expect them. Thus, it’s important to conceptualise possible scenarios and prepare for them early on. Create a contact list of the teams (i.e. legal) or other stakeholders who you need to work with for each of the scenarios; and ensure everyone is aware of their role and you can expect quick turn-around when a problem occurs. You may also want to work with them to map out some processes and pre-approved messages.
Acknowledge the breakout and ensure your fans that you’re looking into it even if you have no answers at the time. Don’t shy away from apologising when you have to.
Take the complaint private, by asking for an email address or a phone number so you can give a more comprehensive response and provide your contact details.
And finally, document and analyse the events so you can have a better crisis plan for the future.
Collect insight about your target group
Always keep an eye on the trends among your fans to improve your understanding of the target audience. This is especially useful if you represent a small or medium-sized company with a small budget for audience research.
Did you always think that only women are interested in your products and now you start to notice good engagement level from men as well? This might be the insight you need to grow your market, increase sales or develop a new product.
Keep up to date with the industry news
Follow the main industry news outlets for the trends in the Social Media (i.e. Snapchat offering a new advertising service), and pay attention to the changes to the algorithm shifts for the content displays. Believe it or not, a shift in Facebook algorithm might mean a change in your overall Social Media strategy.