Social Media Marketing Tips: A Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Marketing
So you’ve decided to step up your marketing game and finally master social media? We don’t blame you. Your target audience is already on social media, making social media marketing a great way to get in touch with them, bolster your brand, and swell your sales.
If you're expecting marketing on social media to be a one-and-done game, think again. It's more like an entire season...that never stops. Once you start social media marketing, you’re never really done with it. You have to keep updating your account. You might even realize that your company needs to be on several different social media platforms. Each platform has a distinct personality, so you have to change your social media copy for each one you’re on. You have to find out what works or you end up losing: brand recognition, brand loyalty, customers, and ultimately, money. But like most sports, if you choose not to play the game, you forfeit and lose automatically.
You need to play to win, and we're here to help. Think of us as your copywriter and coach through your first social media marketing season. It takes a lot of work on your end to reach the championship, so let’s work through your game plan to prepare you as much as possible.
Follow these steps to enhance your social media presence, engage with your audience, and ultimately increase your brand visibility! There’s no one size fit all for every business, but we’re here to help guide you into making the best decisions for you.
1. Pre-Season Prep
High performing athletes, business owners, and anyone at the top of their field knows that success relies on a solid foundation. No matter how many fancy tricks, plays, or hacks you use, they won't make much difference if you haven't invested the time, energy, and thought beforehand. It's not that a protein shake and a cocktail of supplements won't yield some benefits on their own. But think of how much greater your gains will be if you've dialed in your sleep, you're crushing it at the gym, and you're monitoring your macros.
If you're looking to use social media marketing as a tool for ecommerce growth and increased sales, this means optimizing your website and product pages to maximize every opportunity. Are you writing product descriptions that will entice prospective buyers? Have you ensured that your Amazon listings are doing everything they should be doing? Do your product images say "buy me"? Is your website copy building trust?
Make sure you're prepared to make the sale when new clients show up at your virtual door step. Not sure whether your website copy writing, product pages, or brand story is ready for the big game? Contact us for a free analysis!
2. Set Goals
Social media is a giant, intimidating, seductive beast that can steal all your money if you’re not careful. That’s why it’s vital to set marketing goals and then formulate a strategy based on those goals.
Consider what you want to achieve. Do you want to create a robust brand identity or be a bigger player in your industry? Maybe you want to get your brand out there and increase people’s awareness of your company and what you do. Whatever it is, always always always keep it in mind and work towards that goal.
The last thing you want to do is funnel time and money into social media marketing and see zero results.
3. Study Your Audience
What does your target audience look like? Find out who they are, what they’re talking about, and where they’re talking. This will help you find out what platform you should focus on, determine what’s important to your audience, and how to construct your social media voice.
There are many different social media platforms that may work for you. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, Pinterest are the star players in the arena of social media platforms. Decide which ones work best for your brand and focus your energy there.
4. Research Your Rivals
“Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer” is the mentality you need to have for SMM! Your competition provides you with a social media blueprint. Looking at their pages is a great way to see what works and what doesn’t on social media. This can help you avoid the mistakes they made while informing you on how to differentiate yourself from them. Don’t just follow the leader. Give your target audience something fresh, different, and exciting. Plus, your opponents can provide you with some insight on keyword usage!
5. Find Your Platform(s)
You know who you’re playing and you know your fans. Now it’s time to talk arenas.
Facebook and YouTube, like NASCAR cars, have prime real estate for ads. While it’s difficult to get organic traffic on Facebook, it has various options for you to send targeted ads to your audience, as long as you’re willing to fork over some money.
If you choose to target people with your ads on Facebook, make sure your demographics aren’t too broad, or you’ll giving away your budget to people who you won’t sway anyway. Just make sure you test out which demographics you reach before spending your money on the ads!
Have something to take a stylish picture of? Then you belong on Instagram! But it’s more than just posting filtered pictures of your product. Like all social media, you should use Instagram to build your brand and audience.
For example, Nike doesn’t just post pictures of the shoes and shirts with promotional captions. Through Instagram and other marketing campaigns, Nike brands itself as an inspiring company for professional and budding athletes by posting about record-breaking athletes, memorable sports moments, and taking a stance on social issues. Their posts encourage engagement and connection while telling the world who Nike is and what it believes.
If you want to focus on customer interaction and connection, Twitter is your stadium. Start by following other Twitter accounts in your industry, and you’ll get some followers in return. Retweet accounts that tweet at you, announce special offers, and always interact! On all social media sites, but especially Twitter, your audience expects you to engage with them and to respond swiftly.
A brand that got its start on Twitter that also gets 1st place in adorableness is WeRateDogs™. This brand does a fantastic job of posting often but not overwhelmingly. Like Nike, WeRateDogs™ doesn’t focus solely on selling products. It builds its brand through posts while interacting with followers and customers through tweets and retweets.
Want to network? Your brand belongs on LinkedIn. Find companies that are similar to yours and share ideas and advice. It’s a great place to have a professional dialogue with brands like yours, unlike Twitter or Insta, which can be less formal. You can also receive recommendations on LinkedIn, promoting your business through your customers.
Are you a retailer? Pinterest is the place for you to show off your game. Provide pictures of your products, and remember take advantage of the product pin options! This can take customers to your personal product page so they can buy directly from you. Curate unique boards that your followers can adore, repin, and promote on their own.
6. Create Engaging Content
I’m sure you don’t want to spend all this time and money on social media marketing just to post unengaging content. Remember to keep your posts exciting! You can do this by appealing to your audience’s emotions rather than reason. You’ll want to post regularly, honestly, and in a tone that’s consistent with your brand voice.
If you don’t want to lose your followers and likes, create more than just promotional posts. Instead, find intriguing content that your audience will appreciate and ultimately engage with. This helps you gain your audience’s trust. And when it’s time to promote yourself, your audience is there and waiting to listen to what you have to say.
For instance, Airbnb’s Instagram page is aesthetically pleasing. Instead of just promoting their services, they post pictures of their host’s homes often with incredible backdrops of cities or nature. With their stunning Instagram posts, Airbnb says this: No matter your travel destination, they have a home for you.
7. Time Your Posts
What time you play your social media game is vital. Post too late, and people might not see it. Post too early and your post might get washed away in the waves of content being produced every minute.
Most of your audience expects you to engage with them within just one hour of their comment, question, or complaint on social media. While that might not be realistic, it shows that the quicker you engage, the better. People will think of your brand and customer service as attentive and amiable.
Oftentimes, people get on their phones when they wake up, checking out social media before work or school. They log back in during their lunch break and then before bed. The time you post changes with which platform you take on. For example, people hop on Twitter throughout the weekend, while Instagrammers often don’t log in on Sundays. Even so, you still want to post often, but not too much. It’s a delicate balance to strike.
If you want more detailed information on when to post on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter, check out this link.
8. Analyze Your Performance
Don’t play the game without reviewing the plays that worked and the ones that fell short. By using social media metrics, you can receive stats and data that let you know how your social media marketing is doing. Knowing things like reach (how many users saw your post), clicks (the amount of clicks on your posts, company name, or logo), and engagement (how your audience interacts with your content) can help you know where you need to focus more energy on or what campaigns need to be abandoned.
You can monitor them yourself with Twitter Analytics, Google Analytics, Facebook’s Insights tab, and other platform-specific built-in analytics. But if you don’t want to be bothered by that, you can always pay a company that tracks them for you, like Keyhole, AgoraPulse, Brandwatch, and these other companies.
9. Get in the Game
Now you’re ready to get out there and play. Remember your training, from setting goals to monitoring the game tapes. Now it’s time to play to win! And if you have any questions or need some additional coaching, contact us!
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