Consider this: More than half of consumers on social media engage with brands over twice a month and 71% will recommend brands to a friend after a positive experience. These numbers alone make it clear that social media marketing should be a part of any successful marketing plan.
The interactive nature of social media gives it a real edge over traditional outbound marketing. Potential customers can ask questions, make comments and even repost content. When those customers are micro influencers with followings of friends and family that trust their judgment, the return on these repostings is even more valuable.
But enough about “why” you should market on social media. Let’s move on to the most powerful topic: How to do it effectively.
What Exactly is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is any marketing that uses social media platforms to promote a product or service.
Fewer than ten years ago, some marketers were still asking themselves whether they should invest in social media marketing. Today, including social marketing in your marketing plan is a no-brainer.
One study even showed that social media marketing can have an astonishing 100% greater lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing.
Keeping this kind of potential payoff in mind, it’s safe to say that developing a solid social media strategy is a standard marketing campaign must.
How Can You Use Social Media Marketing to Your Advantage?
Now that we’ve established that a social media strategy is a crucial component of any marketing campaign, let’s examine how you can best use your social media presence to accomplish your campaign goals.
First, define your goals
Are the goals of your campaign mostly top of funnel goals like expanding your reach or improving brand awareness? Or maybe your focus is all the way at the bottom of the funnel and your goal is to increase conversions?
Whatever you’d like to accomplish with your social campaign, you first need to get clear about goals.
Each post in your campaign can serve a different purpose—there’s no need to forsake one part of the funnel for another—but you need to have specific aims for each.
Your decisions about what exactly you want to accomplish will determine the strategy for each post.
For example, if you want to increase awareness you’ll use hashtags and make your content shareable.
If your goal is to increase conversions, you’ll focus on re-targeting consumers already familiar with your business or directing your ads toward specific demographic groups.
Advertise on the platforms where your target audience hangs out
If your target audience is married millennials with kids, Snapchat is probably not the platform where you’ll want to focus your marketing efforts. Instagram and Facebook are more appealing to that demographic.
Whatever your target audience is, get to know them—and their likes, dislikes and obsessions—thoroughly. Then focus your marketing efforts on those platforms where they spend the most time.
Post quality content that is well-written and authoritative
Nothing undermines credibility faster than poorly written content. Bad grammar and misspelled words can be a turn-off to potential customers even where there is a strong need for or interest in your product.
Unprofessional writing introduces doubt when you’re trying to establish trust with potential customers and position yourself as an authority in your field. So never skimp on content and consider taking the step of hiring a writer who specializes in social media to write yours.
Build a community and encourage interaction
Social media marketing is not about the hard sell, it’s about building trust with customers. A good social media campaign promotes genuine connections, so it’s a good idea not to be too heavy handed or sales-y with your social media promotions.
Ancestral Supplements is one example of a company that has a passion for customer support and has built a great community on Instagram. They answer questions and address concerns in a way that feels personal. They’ve really put in the effort to build great relationships with their customers.
In fact, the customer service is so exceptional that often comments are made just to offer thanks or praise. All of those happy customers pass on their good experiences to friends and family, increasing the brand’s exposure by word-of-mouth.
Quickly address negative feedback
Speaking further on the topic of customer service, always remember that when your business receives negative feedback on social media, you’re receiving that feedback in full view of your other customers.
This makes it extra important that you take immediate responsibility for any negative customer experiences. Resolve consumer concerns quickly, proactively and with empathy. Your future customers are watching. When they see you handling complaints gracefully it makes them feel confident about doing business with you.
If your business got paid for every positive review inspired by a helpful response to a complaint, you’d be frolicking in a huge pile of doubloons. That’s how valuable great customer service is to the health of your reputation—and your bottom line.
Give your followers something of value
With every piece of content that you post, be sure to give your followers something of value. Do you have tips, tricks or expert advice? Recipes? Whatever subjects are in your brand’s wheelhouse, you can offer your social media tribe useful content about those topics. You will establish yourself as an industry expert and create trust with your audience. Once trust is created, people tend to want to buy what it is that you’re selling.
Check out Williams Sonoma’s IG for a great example of content that delivers value while inspiring people to shop.
Make micro-influencers into brand advocates
Influencers who are part of your target demographic and love your brand make great business partners. Especially micro influencers with anywhere from 10K to 50K followers (depending on who you ask). Micro influencers are regular, influential people whose followings began with friends and family and expanded from there. A micro influencer might have a passion for anything from gardening to tax preparation. And since their followings are smaller, they tend to interact with their followers and form real relationships. They can create new content for your brand or repost your content to their followers. You can return the favor by reposting content of theirs that your customers might enjoy. It’s a promotional win-win for brands and influencers alike.
64% of people make purchases after watching branded videos on social media. Video is also shared 12 times more often than text and images together. Top that off with the fact that people remember 95% of what they see in a video but only 10% of what they read and that makes video a social marketing tool you can’t afford to pass up.
Regular posting technically falls under the heading of community building. Your loyal customers count on seeing your content. They can feel let down and lose interest if they don’t, which might cause the community you’re working so hard to build to dwindle.
For this reason alone it’s worth it to have someone on your team whose time is exclusively dedicated to managing your social media—regularly engaging with customers and answering their questions in a timely manner.
Your Potential Customers Are Already On Social Media
With over 3.4 billion users on social media, your audience is definitely out there waiting for you to knock their socks off.
Consumers spend more time than ever on social media. As of 2018 people spent an average of 144 minutes a day on social networks—that’s an entire hour per day more than in 2012.
For marketers, the implications are clear. If you want to win people over to your brand, you need to meet them where they are. And more and more, they’re somewhere on social media.