There is a common misconception among businesses that only the global brands can benefit from strategic social media marketing, the rationale being that only the big enterprise organizations have the resources and people to pursue new ideas and afford success.
So the big businesses have:
1. Millions of followers and fans,
2. They generate more likes and comments and
3. They have the resources to invest in quality and engaging content including infographics and videos.
What do the small businesses have?
None of the above?
But small businesses have an incredible advantage over the big brands. That’s the ability to adapt more quickly to changing social media trends and with far less investment.
So ultimately, what is it that determines social media success?
The answer is: A business’s ability to answer the question ‘why’.
– Why are you on the social media networks?
– Why will people connect with you?
– Why do you hope to benefit from a social media presence?
– Why will an active online engagement impact your business?
The truth is, social media programs today are way too focused on technology and barely any thought is given to actually providing value to match the expectations of the target audience on the social networks.
That right there is basically the problem. What about the solution?
To help you expand the impact of your brand and overtake even the most seasoned players of the social media platforms, we’ve outlined a multiple-step approach to strategic social media marketing. Walking through it taking things one at a time will help you develop a relevant and successful social media presence.
4 steps to Developing a Successful Social Media Presence
Before you get started with the social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube, take the time to research and understand the current market trends, narrow down on the most relevant segments and identify the key players of your niche that matter most to you.
– Sort in order of priority the social networks. It can get difficult to be omnipresent.
– Dissect the subtle patterns on the different networks.
– Observe and study the current themes used by your competitors.
Note: You don’t always have to be the copycat. Also pay attention to what other people are neglecting to say or share on social media and use this ace up your sleeve to stand out from the crowd.
2. Define the Persona You Want to Project on the Social Media Networks
– Clearly define the persona you want people to see on the social networks
– Portray what you stand for and what your brand is all about.
– Define what it is that you are offering: a unique service, the solution to a common problem, a product superior to others in the market. Define what value you are adding to the market.
– Establish why you are different from your competitors.
Note: Refrain from overly selling yourself. It is not a pretty sight.
The leading social media networks today are Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Of course there are other sites that fall under the category of prominent social networks including YouTube, Pinterest and LinkedIn. In a few select niches, these sites may even be preferred but when it comes to the current Internet era and the near obsession of people with social media, it is a no-brainer which social networking platforms top the list.
With that said, as a user of social media for marketing, you probably have an account with either one of the 3 sites. There is even more chance that you have an account with 2 of them or all 3. You would certainly not be the only one.
Perhaps the popularity of these 3 sites can be explained by the fact that unlike the long gone social sites Friendster and MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ managed to tick all the boxes becoming the standard against which all other social sites are compared.
When it comes to social networking, the tricky thing is to keep up with all of the social networks and avoid rookie mistakes. In theory, this might not seem so challenging. Many people think of social networking as a fun part of the job but with so many social profiles and a different audience on each one, maintaining a relevant and successful presence on the social networks can become a chore.
So how to do social media marketing like the pros?
1. You Need an Overarching End Goal
On the social media platforms, your activities should be coordinated to suit your larger marketing strategy. Each individual status, infographic, video or picture should build off each other to give you a better return on your investment.
When you have an overarching goal, it also simplifies the day-to-day process of small decision-making. Suppose you have two infographics and you are unsure about which one to share with your followers or fans. If you have an end goal, this will act as a useful anchor and help you bring order from disorder.
So for successful social media marketing, design your marketing campaigns so they build on each other. This succession of small decisions put together will help you gain momentum on the social sites. This will be a much better use of your time than simply updating your status or curating content from other sources because you only want to maintain a presence of the social sites, whether or not this leads to something useful.
Do you remember the big, pioneering social media network Friendster? Probably not! It was launched in 2002 ahead of MySpace and Facebook. Back in the days, this social network attracted millions of users but before it could grow to its full potential, it was gone, just like that.
Similarly, MySpace, the once extremely popular social media giant is today mostly silent.
In 2011, Google launched Google+. This was yet another one of Google’s effort to take on Facebook. So far Facebook remains the most popular social network with over one billion users all over the world although the Facebook stock is currently at an all-time low. Psychologists postulate that like Friendster and MySpace, Facebook will end up as yet another roadkill in a few years time.
The point here is: social networks come and go and while it might be fascinating to follow the changes and trends of the different social media networks, businesses need a way to survive these changes.
When one social network fades, others are born. What do not change are some basic principles to generate more fans and promote engagement.
The key to successful social media marketing
The social networks are not good tools to accurately get an idea of how your business is doing in terms of sales but from the demographics, you can get an idea of what buttons to push to better engage your audience and get them to make a purchase. These triggers are invaluable to identify patterns that could potentially increase your sales and improve your social media marketing strategy.
Did you know that on Facebook…
– People love personal questions: The most popular posts on Facebook are those that begin with “What do you think..” or “ Do you feel that..”
– People love discussing their holiday plans: Whether they are going to be home for the holidays or they are taking a trip to Shanghai, people on Facebook always seem to have very strong emotions about their holidays.
– People love saving money: This has significance for businesses which cater the high-end market.
– People love discussing about kids. In general, people love discussing about topics they are emotionally attached to.
– People are most active Monday through Thursday around 7 p.m. and 12 p.m.
But they hate
– Self-promotion: People on Facebook hate self-promotion. This might come as a surprise but psychologically; people seem to only care about themselves.
– The recurrent use of strong phrases like “ DON’T MISS THIS…” or “SHARE THIS IF..” and yes, people get quite annoyed by unnecessary capitalization as well.
– Vague questions: People on Facebook don’t respond well to vague questions. If you are going to ask a question, be specific.
3 Skills To Succeed On Any Social Network
To push the right buttons with your customers, you need to establish what motivates them the most. Demographics are a good place to start but for a better response rate, you will need to dig a little deeper.
This basically means that instead of focusing solely on data such as age, gender, race, location and employment status to shape your social media marketing strategy, you should also hit the following: personality, values, attitudes and interests. This will help you propose your service or product as “THE” solution to a specific consumer problem.