According to a report from Statista.com in March 2020, the UK has 45 million social media users, which equates to over 2/3 of the population. With so many people now using social media, it’s critical for businesses to consider the impact of their social presence when developing strategies.
Many of us already use social media in a personal capacity, so it can be tempting to just dive in and start posting for your business. However, social media is only one element of your overall marketing plan and your strategies need to align to ensure a consistent message across different channels.
Spending a little time upfront to establish your social media goals will help you achieve better results. Once you’ve done that, check the following tips to help you create an effective strategy.
Choose your platform
Not every social media platform will be right for your business so consider your target audience and where they hang out before deciding which to use. For example, if you’re targeting a 50-year old female, they’re more likely to see your content on Facebook rather than Snapchat.
Do your research before setting up an account as each platform has individual strengths/weaknesses and different demographic breakdowns. To help get you started, check this link from Sprout Social which has a great overview of the demographics for each platform.
Develop engaging content
Once you know who your ideal customers are and where to find them, you can begin creating content. Using a social media calendar and content management plan will help you to develop a schedule of useful and valuable posts for your audience.
Posting regularly will help followers to see your posts – remember that people will follow multiple accounts and the less that people engage with you, the less the algorithms show your content to people.
Images and videos are particularly eye catching, especially on platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, and remember to keep salesy posts to around 20% so that your followers don’t feel bombarded by sales and promotions.
Social media gives you a fantastic opportunity to have direct conversations with customers/potential customers, so it’s really worth investing some time to develop relationships. Open a conversation with people who comment or share your posts and make sure that you’re seen as a person, not a corporate entity. This will help develop trust and loyalty (which could later convert into sales) and, as a bonus, help with social media algorithms to get your posts in front of more people.
Building a community around your profile is a great way to get people talking about your business, promoting your brand independently of anything you do. You could also join other groups and add valuable comments and content to help solve problems for people posting there.
To maintain a positive brand image, if somebody complains about your product/service on social media, it’s vitally important that you are seen to respond (and quickly). Once done, you can then move the detail of the complaint off line.
Use keywords and hashtags
Social media platforms are mini search engines and, by using appropriate keywords and hashtags, you can increase the chances of being found by people searching for content related to your business.
Hashtags also help to track, organise and communicate with others using the same hashtag. You could start a ‘meeting’ where everyone asks questions with the same hashtag, for example #ask[yourbusinessname] at the same time every week/month. Bear in mind that if you establish something like this, you have to be available in real time to respond quickly to the questions being asked.
There are many different guidelines on using hashtags, for example, maximum numbers to use, percentage of popular vs less popular hashtags, whether to put them in the comments, etc, so it’s worth checking up to date recommendations on each platform to make the best use of hashtags.
Create a call to action
Many people think that increasing followers and likes is the benchmark of a successful social media strategy.
However, it’s not worth having lots of followers if you can’t get them to take any action. By creating inspiring content, you can help to generate a response which is more than simply reading your post.
Your social media goals will help you to identify exactly what you want to achieve but by carefully considering the content you create, you can help to drive traffic back to your website and increase sales.
Save time and schedule your content
One of the frustrations about social media is the sheer amount of time it takes to post regular and engaging content. However, gone are the days of needing to visit your social media accounts every day to update your followers.
There are now many social media management tools which can help you to schedule content up to a month in advance. Many of them are free of charge to use, with premium options available for additional features.
A quick internet search will bring up lots of options and each has different features/cover different platforms so do a little research to work out which is best for the platforms you use. To give you a head start, check the following:
Measuring and analysing your results regularly (eg. every week/every month) means that you can make ongoing tweaks to your content and strategy to get the best out of your investment in social media. Many platforms have their own inbuilt analytics, making it really easy to access the data.
When looking at the impact of your social media strategy, consider more than just number of followers. Engagement, reach and post likes can help you to determine whether people are finding your content valuable and interesting.
Additionally, your website analytics can tell you which social media platforms are referring the most people to your website and you can track sales conversion rates by offering a specific code for each social media platform, or for a particular marketing campaign.
Hopefully, this guide has given you some inspiration for figuring out your social media marketing strategy. If you’d like more help or want to speak with an advisor at The Business Village, please get in touch with Kevin Steel