Why is having a strategy is vital?
Having a well thought out Social Media Strategy is paramount in inbound marketing, because it’s a one-to-one medium, which allows for firms to market in a direct, but very human way. According to the Neilson report “71% of consumers who have had a good Social Media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others”.
Having a social media strategy is essential for helping boost brand awareness, attract new consumers, expand other marketing efforts; and it is one of the most powerful drivers for word of mouth. Although social media is essential as you can be place your service or product exactly where your audience is, it should not replace other inbound promotional methods such as email, events or public relations, but simply augment them.
Initially, to build a successful Social Media strategy it is vital to:
- Be able to explain each social media channel and be aware of how each platform may be used in different ways.
- Develop a well thought out content strategy for your Social Media plan.
- Understand the impact of engagement and identify metrics which are crucial to measure success.
- Integrate social media into other inbound marketing, ensuring they supplement each other.
The Buyer Persona
Understanding your buyer persona is one of the most important parts of a social media strategy, as it enables you to understand the demographics of your target audience such as age, gender, income, occupation and interests. Social Media also allows you to look into your consumers psychographics for example, which websites they visit and which social media platforms they use most frequently. Understanding these demographics and psychographics allows you to be even more personal and really hone in on the right type of persona for each firm’s product or service.
If you can achieve that you are half way there…. the second half of the puzzle is aligning your social strategy to your business objectives. Business objectives should follow the SMART method: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.
The Social Media Channels Explained
It is essential to consider each social media channel and acknowledge which channels best fit your social media strategy. To do this, it is vital you know the basics and benefits of each of them.
Facebook is perhaps the most ‘well-known’ channel. According to the Pew Research Centre “More than 67% of Americans are using Facebook as their primary source of news”. Facebook has over billion users, and this isn’t just personal use. Having a business page on this channel gives you access to analytics. The most important reason for you to have a Facebook business page is to advertise. It allows you to publish a variety of content for your followers to see and engage with. This allows you to target the audiences you care about most, including your own prospect lists so you can directly deliver content of value.
Instagram is a photo and video based social network, users follow individuals and brands to be delighted by interesting visuals. Instagram is a younger network, with 90% of its audience under the age of 35, but even that is shifting as more and more individuals adopt the platform. While the primary functionality is sharing photos and videos, there is another feature rising in popularity. Like the Snapchat platform, Instagram Stories enable the sharing of quick, “instant” photos and videos, often with fun filters and visual features.
YouTube is the second largest social network, with over 1.3 billion users as well as the second largest search engine in the world, this means not only does it help with Search Engine Optimisation, but it also has one of the highest referral rates of the social platforms.
Twitter, the popular micro blogging network is the ultimate by-the-minute news network. There are over 500 million tweets sent every day. Twitter reports that “80% of their advertisers’ inbound social customer service requests happen on twitter”. Therefore, it can be seen this is a channel any business can’t afford to ignore.
LinkedIn is the most B2B channel of them all. This has evolved from a network primarily used for recruiting, into a platform used to find the latest news and stay networked with people all over the world. It is a great place to build thought leadership, to offer value through targeted advertising, and to share content that will drive links back into your website properties, as well as networking in groups.
Pinterest is both B2C and B2B, it is a series of shared bulletin boards where users can ‘pin’ images, videos, and links that resonate with them. Pinterest pins build search engine optimisation with referral traffic, which can turn into leads and sales.
And finally, the Snapchat audience skews young, with its largest demographic between the ages of 12-24. It has stories, which enable the sharing of quick “instant” photos and videos, often with fun filters and visual features, similarly to Instagram stories. These stories will disappear after 24 hours for viewers.