By 2025, 4.41 billion people will be using social media. However, jumping onto the social media bandwagon because you have to doesn't guarantee success. Behind every social media marketing-driven business is a strategy. In this article, we share tips to build a successful social media marketing strategy.
Why does social media marketing work for small businesses?
As a small business owner, you are pulled in many different directions. While for some it can be a badge of honour to wear multiple hats, it comes at a cost. Ostensibly the biggest is not being able to give the time and focus needed to build deep relationships with prospects and customers.
It has been reported businesses with a rock-solid customer engagement strategy will stand to achieve a:
- 22% rise in cross-sell revenue
- 38% rise in up-sell revenue
- 5-85% rise in the size of orders
As a small business, achieving just a fraction of the figures above can make the difference between surviving and thriving.
Using social media platforms, for example, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, small businesses are able to:
- Reach out to a wider audience
- Remain engaged with prospects and customers
Social media marketing levels the playing fields for small businesses. Unlike in the past, when mass advertising was exclusive to big businesses with massive advertising budgets, social media marketing has unlocked the doors for small businesses to do the same.
In addition, with the help of marketing automation, your social media marketing activities can be put on autopilot. For example, you can sequence a series of emails to be sent to prospects and customers simply by setting the date and time.
The key ingredients of a social media marketing strategy
You're not just one of several million businesses competing for attention; you'll be competing with non-business organisations as well as individuals putting out content. As a result of the huge volume of content, people's attention spans have shrunk.
Hence, unless you have a clearly articulated social media marketing strategy, you're just adding to the noise. With that in mind, let's look at the 5 critical ingredients of a successful social media marketing strategy.
1. Align your business and marketing goals
If you are a new business, it's natural to set "achieving a high sales volume" as a goal. Unfortunately, unless you're selling a miracle, it's unlikely to be attained. Alternatively, if you are an established business penetrating a new segment or market, you may state "outdo the incumbent brand or business within 3 months."
From a marketing perspective, your goals above should read "Drive traffic and leads." This should lead to a "7% conversion rate over 6 months". Notice the incremental nature of the marketing goals. While the business goal appears overarching in nature, the marketing goals are like milestones. Hence, ensuring they are aligned is vital lest the business finds itself at a completely different destination.
A struggle small businesses have with social media marketing is not laying the goals out clearly at the onset. It's driving to a destination without a route in mind. Avoid this social media marketing malaise by aligning your business and marketing goals.
What do you need to research?
i. Your target audience
By now, you would have heard of the term Buyer Persona in social media marketing. It refers to a deep understanding of your target audience's demographic and psychographic details. But be forewarned: it's not an imaginary customer; they exist. An acid test of good Buyer Persona research is being able to name someone out there who ticks the boxes.
ii. The social media platforms
Over the last decade, the number of social media platforms has grown tremendously. It used to be just YouTube; now Tik-Tok is the rage. With shoppable posts a reality, Instagram has evolved from a purely content sharing platform to marketing and sales. Hence, if you're in the aesthetic product or service category, you need to be on it.
Although it's important to keep abreast of the latest social media platforms, of greater importance is to determine whether they are relevant to your target audience. For example, if you offer professional services, it makes more sense to have a strong presence on LinkedIn or Twitter. While it shouldn't stop you from being on 'more social' media platforms like Facebook or Pinterest, it's probably to post content to showcase your business' community engagement activities.
Content is king in social media marketing. One of the golden rules of successful social media marketing is not to 'sell', at least overtly. Today, people are more interested in what you've got to say. If your content is delivered authoritatively and credibly, you've just taken a step closer towards sealing the deal. For example, if you're in the sneaker category, your content can include posts that focus on "5 things your podiatrist does not want you to know about foot care." Sounds intriguing, doesn't it? But the fact is you're sharing knowledge and insights that are relevant to your target audience but don't come across as salesy.
3. Focus on building great customer experience
A great customer experience is a precursor to excellent relationships - with prospects and customers. Research by American Express found that nearly 9 in 10 are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. Interestingly, social media marketing isn't hi-and-buy. You will not succeed if you adopt this approach. Social media marketing lends itself to nurturing great customer experience and relationships. So, make use of it well!
There a number of things you can do to leverage on social media marketing's capabilities to this end. For a start, you should personalise the content you put out. When you know your target audience well, this is easy. You can even run promotions targeted at specific segments of your target audience.
Next, designing how you look and feel on social media platforms is important. Do not just slap images on them because you need to. It's important to curate them to ensure they represent your brand's look and feel. This goes a long way towards creating great customer experiences.
4. Choose the right tools
From Buffer, Hootsuite to Active Campaign, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to social media marketing tools. Choose the one that fits your marketing needs and goals. Most offer several levels of products and services. You're bound to find one that matches your needs. On this note, it's better to err on the cautious side. Avoid being overwhelmed by the variety of functions and features.
5. Analyse the results
Social media marketing is highly elastic. You're unlikely to be 'trapped' into a campaign, for example, a multi-million dollar television commercial that has achieved nothing. You can tweak your social media marketing campaigns using the results to date. But to do this effectively, you should constantly monitor and analyse the results. The tools you choose can perform this function effectively.
A well-crafted and articulated social media marketing strategy makes the difference between success and failure. It'll help you create an outstanding social media presence, leading to stronger engagement and sales. To learn more about creating a winning social medial marketing strategy, follow our blog..