Know your target audience
Know the people buying your product. Understanding your audience is the first and most crucial step to starting your social media marketing on the right foot.
If you own a retail store, pay attention to who is in the checkout line. If you have an online business, invest in some surveys or metrics that can help you break down your consumer make-up. If you provide professional services, imagine the decision makers you are trying to sell to most often.
The idea is to have a mold of one or a few different types of people that consistently buy your product so that you have at least one personality to target when developing your strategy.
Establish your goals with social
Now that you have a mold for who you’re targeting, how do you want to reach that person through social? What are you trying to accomplish with social?
Based on who your target is, you should be able to research and determine what their social media behaviors are.
No matter what, social should always be used to engage and educate customers, address their concerns, and solve their problems. But is that all you should be doing?
Some demographics like to engage, others just complain and leave reviews, some make purchases. The important thing is to be cognizant of your target audience’s behaviors on social and strategize accordingly.
Have a content strategy that aligns with your goal
Content is essential. The goals you’ve established with social, based on your target audience, will help curate the kind of content you produce.
When posting content, whether it be blogs, case studies, whitepapers, etc., the important thing to remember is quality over quantity. You don’t have to slap together a blog post or a video every time you post on Facebook. A bad video or poorly written blog post can unravel everything you’ve accomplished.
You don’t want your content to become more white noise. Think of your content as a way to solve problems and answer questions your target audience may have about your product or industry.
Your content should also paint you as an expert on your product and industry. Culture and company spotlights are great for educating people about your business, as well as humanizing your company and demystifying your internet anonymity.
When done correctly, a potential customer will move further and further down your sales funnel the more your content educates them on your product and your company.
Have a publishing process and be consistent
Make every post part of a predetermined schedule.
Do some research and find out the ideal times to post during the day, how many per week, per month, etc. for each social platform. Know what kind of content goes where and what kinds of posts go better on which platform. Come up with a weekly formula that accomplishes your goal and then put it to work.
The key is to be consistent. Keep it going. Consistency isn’t another New Year’s resolution that you can let fall to the wayside. If you don’t stay consistent, it’s difficult to measure and tweak things.
There are several softwares or programs out there that allow you to schedule posts ahead of time. Facebook even has their own built into their business manager “Pages” function. Twitter and Instagram have their native ways of doing this too. Using these features would allow you to knock out a week or month’s worth of posts in an afternoon with no distractions.
Know how to measure your performance
Social media analytics are everywhere now.
Based on your established goals, do some research and find some analytics that aligns with your goals and strategy. Know how to measure the impact of your posts and content. You need to know what your target audience is reacting more positively to so that you can continue to build on their reactions.
Many businesses do pay for analytics, and I would recommend doing whatever it takes, within your means, to give your business its best chance to flourish. But you can still gauge some crucial metrics without paying.
Likes, response rate, reach, retweets, shares, etc. All of these are free, straight-forward metrics that can help you hone your message.
After you’ve posted for the first few weeks, assess and set some “SMART goals.” SMART - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely. Don’t just run the same strategy for a year. Set daily/weekly/monthly goals to set yourself up for quick wins you can continue to improve.
Even though you spent all this time developing strategies, and formulas for posting, and content, you may not be seeing the performance you were hoping for. Social media marketing is definitely a “long game,” so give it two or three months, but If you’re consistently not hitting your SMART goals, it may be time to reassess and adjust your strategy.
No one gets their strategy spot-on the first time through. Every target audience is different, so no matter how much research you’ve done and time you’ve spent on your strategy, you are probably going to have to adjust at some point.
Have an open mind going in, hope for the best, expect the worst, and have some idea for a contingency strategy to address every metric you’ve deemed relevant to your goals.
Always be learning
Take time to see what other companies are doing on social. Follow some industry leaders and social media tycoons. Pay attention to what works for them and what kinds of things they’re doing that are successful in gaining your own attention.
Social media is a copycat’s game.
Everyone borrows ideas and knows what’s trending, and they are continuously trying to improve on ideas and evolve trends. New analytics, and ads, and algorithms are released all the time, so do your best stay up to date with your strategies. Social media is evolving at a rapid pace, so it is extremely important to stay engaged and always be learning.