In today’s digital age surely everyone by now has heard of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In fact, our ‘Social Media in 2016’ infographic in a blog post from the beginning of the year highlighted the growing importance of Social Media Marketing in the UK, with statistics showing that a whopping 59% of the UK population are social media users.
We’ve all seen the impact of the Ice Bucket Challenge back in 2014, that has to be the most viral social media campaign to date, with Facebook flooded with videos of thousands of people across the globe dousing themselves in ice water to raise awareness of Motor Neuron Disease. Many other social media campaigns have also surpassed everyone’s expectations. We’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly. The horror stories that can spread like wildfire and shatter a company’s reputation in a matter of minutes, underlining the power of social media.
We’ve put together some key factors that will help you plan for success:
1. Outline your objectives
Just like any other strategic business plan, it’s important to set clear goals and objectives. Setting clear goals helps you determine the results of your strategy. Make sure you list your end goals in order to give yourself a clear direction, by doing this you will be able to quickly identify what is working and what’s failing – allowing chance to take an alternative approach.
Do you aim for people to view you as a reliable source of industry information – sharing news of the latest developments within your sector? Or do you favour being viewed as a provider of light hearted content with witty or funny opinions? Solidify the image you wish to represent and ensure that this is in line with the culture of your company to create authenticity of the brand.
2. Create engaging content
If you’re interested in developing a social media campaign, it’s important to create content to share with the world. A blog is just the ticket for this. Maintaining a company blog will ensure you have a constant stream of content for you to share – resulting in readers thinking of you as more than just a company that sells a product. If done well, the blog can make you stand out in your industry.
Blogs hold many benefits, but most importantly they show potential customers that you care about your site and are frequently updating it with new posts of fresh content. This encourages customers to return to read your content and in turn allow for greater trust in your company.
3. Socialise your site
In order to utilize social media to it’s fullest potential and compete in today’s Adblock heavy market,, optimization is a must. By optimising your site for social you increase awareness of your business or products and make your content as shareable as possible. The aim is to turn website visits into social media followers, to ensure users receive notifications of new content from you immediately. Not only that but also being able to easily share your content to thousands of potential customers.
To make your content as easy as possible to share you need to ensure that the social buttons are prominent and within easy reach. We’re sure you’ve seen many ways to do this, some visibly better than others, but the proven method for achieving this is to make the share buttons available at the top and the bottom of each post.
4. Learn about your audience
Discovering the interests of your target audience is vital when selecting the best social platform to focus on, as each platform is different. For example, Twitter is effective with short and punchy attention grabbers for users to click through to view your content. With LinkedIn and Google + the focus is more on professionals that network with each other. Pinterest is primarily visual content used for inspiration, while Facebook is evidently much more casual and encourages discussion/opinion sharing with users through tagging and re-posting content.
Useful or insightful posts are more likely to be shared, these can include infographics or statistics or even just general news and updates regarding your industry. Visual content is more effective so adding pictures helps with visibility and posts with them are more likely to be clicked. Overly pushy promotion heavy posts are less likely to be shared so unless you have a newsworthy event or seasonal sale to promote, try to avoid as much as possible. Social experts recommend following the 80/20 rule, which states that 80% of your posts should be focused on keeping your followers engaged and interested in your industry while the remaining 20% should be dedicated to your brand that may result in making money.
5. Utilise your connections
Throughout your campaign, you should be focusing on taking advantage of the exposure and connections your followers provide. The most successful method of achieving this is to frequently engage with your customers and followers. Responding speedily to all social media interaction is key to any social media campaign, as engagement can tell you directly from the target audience, what they think about your business and what they expect from you – being constantly reactive to any interaction is essential.
That may sound exhausting and certainly time consuming, but social media is designed to allow users to communicate back and forth instantly with ease. Web tools are even available for a number of platforms that send notifications of mentions of your brand, even if the user doesn’t specifically address you. Even with tools and tricks, keeping on top of a social media campaign alongside your business can be a daunting experience. This indicates the importance of having a dedicated in house social team, so you are able to delegate the task to someone else who is responsible for monitoring and posting to your accounts. Tools are infact available to schedule posting across social, however a social professional is still strongly recommended to oversee the campaign.
With the rapid increase of ad blocking software, methods of reaching customers in a meaningful way are swiftly heading in the direction of social media. As social media begins to even the playing field for SMBs going up against the big names, competition for the attention of the consumer will only grow tighter.