How Do I Make The Most of Social Media Marketing?
“There are a lot of pros and cons about social media; it’s just how you choose to handle it and how you have to be prepared for the negatives as well.” – Aubrey Peeples
If you’ve done some research and created a plan, chosen your platform, and started posting some quality, engaging and consistent content, then you’re already on the right track. Like anything, it takes time to start seeing some results, however there are things you can do to improve your chance of success. The key is to keep monitoring, researching, learning, tweaking and improving, and avoid the common pitfalls.
The holy grail of social media marketing is user-generated content. This means content that your customers have created about your products and services and this can be anything from a review or a check-in, to an image or video of them using your product. 40% of customers look for this sort of content before buying and will see this as proof that a company is trustworthy.
80% of all social media content is user-generated (i.e. created by ordinary people every day), and 25-54 year olds create the most content. 40% of people would love their favourite companies and brands to use their ideas, and the most successful companies on social media harness this and make it work for them – for example, the action camera company, GoPro, gets customers to post their own extreme sports videos to their social media and they choose the best ones to feature on their website, and use in their marketing.
And as well as working on encouraging user-generated content, here are our top tips for getting the most from your social media activity:
Download our marketing plan template
Go back and double-check that you’ve got all the basics right
Did you do your research and create a plan? [see Social Media Marketing: Getting Started] Did you choose the right platform? [See Which Social Media Platform? The Top Three and Which Social Media Platform? The Best of the Rest] Are you posting the right content? [See Social Media Marketing: What Makes Good Content?]
Make sure you know your chosen platform inside out
Are you making use of all the built-in tools and functionality? Are there some tips and tricks that would help? Do you need some help or training?
Are you making use of the built-in insights and analytics?
These will tell you what’s working and what isn’t and you can use this information to quickly and easily improve your activity. It may be that your posts aren’t reaching the right people, or you’re posting during the day, but your customers are on social media in the evening.
Are you making use of other tools?
There are lots of great apps and tools out there to help you improve what you’re doing and make life easier. For example, Twitcher is an add-on for your internet browser that allows you to switch between multiple Twitter accounts. It may be that you need a better camera or design package to create great images, or that you need a management tool to help you post to different platforms and plan ahead.
Are you part of the conversation?
The whole reason you’re on social media is to build relationships and engage with your target market, and 74% feel more positive about a company or brand after an interaction with them. In which case they’re more likely to support, promote, and keep interacting with you, and buy from you.
Are you building a network?
Similarly, being on social media is about you building your network and making the right contacts – and that includes building relationships with influencers and brand ambassadors who can help spread the word and support what you do. Ideally, these need to be people who have lots of followers in your area, sector or industry, and who people trust.
Are you trying to do too much?
If in doubt, it’s always best to keep things simple. Look at step 1 again, go back to basics and make use of any relevant tools, and training – or bring in the professionals to help you get things right and manage things effectively and efficiently.
Are you making use of tags, hashtags, and links?
Hashtags and tags are an essential part of social media and an effective tool to make sure that your content is relevant, can be found and is shared. Similarly, you need to include links and calls to action to get the interaction and response you require.
Are you telling people that you’re on social media?
And are you making it easy for them to find you? It sounds obvious, but you need to make sure that your social media links are in a prominent place on your website, and that they’re included in your email signature, stationery (including business cards) and marketing materials.
Is your social media working with the rest of your marketing activity?
Ideally you need all your marketing activity, whether on social media, printed or online to be working together towards achieving the same goals, whether it’s brand awareness, generating more leads, or improving sales. And to do this, your branding and messages need to be consistent.
What are the Pitfalls?
At the same time as making sure that you’re doing everything right, there are some common pitfalls that you need to avoid. Here is our top ten things that people tend to get wrong:
Make sure that you know what a hashtag is and how to use it. It’s simply a way of highlighting a keyword or search term in your post. People can search for specific hashtags and find relevant posts. And you can even create a unique hashtag and encourage people to use it for a particular event or campaign. This allows you to find and curate all those tweets/posts (for example, #WW100 is being used to denote the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1). Hashtags started on Twitter, but are now common in most social media platforms
Similarly a tag is a way of mentioning or including another person or organisation in a post. They will see your post and can generally choose to react to it and share it. This means that your post will reach more people.
Mixing business and pleasure
It’s really easy to confuse your business personality with your own, particularly if you use social media personally, but generally, your customers won’t want to know about your political views or see pictures of you on holiday.
Promoting your brand is a key reason for being on social media, so make sure that you use it on your profile and in your content and are consistent.
Are you spreading yourself too thinly?
It’s really tempting to try and be on every platform, but be realistic about what you can manage and what’s going to be of most benefit for your business. It’s better to be focused, targeted and using of one platform really well.
The key difference between social media marketing and other forms of marketing is that it’s about conversations and building relationships – and that only works if it’s a two-way thing. Lots of companies get themselves a scheduling tool like Tweetdeck or HootSuite, create lots of great posts and schedule them regularly, but don’t actually go on the actual platform to see what’s happening, respond to comments and questions and share, like and comment on other relevant content.
Similarly social media isn’t about selling, and that shouldn’t generally be your main aim for being on social media. It can generate leads, can encourage people to visit your website or sign up for your email newsletter and ultimately lead to sales, but people need to feel that they know you, can trust you, are getting some value and have a choice beforehand.
Right post, right platform
The other problem that can arise from using scheduling and management tools is that a great post on one platform doesn’t work at all on another. For example, many people post to Facebook and automatically send the same post to Twitter, but because of the difference in size and format, it doesn’t necessarily work.
And similarly broadcasting, aggressive selling, and automatic posting can lead to accusations of spamming and generally, social media companies look on this as seriously as hosting companies and they will block and close down your account.
Lack of planning
As with any sales of marketing activity, if you don’t know what you’re doing and why, don’t plan the activity and the time to do it, then you’re likely to fail.
Social media provides you the ability to instantly connect with your customer – but do it badly and you’ll burn those opportunities. Seek expert help and advice to make sure your marketing is strategic and coordinated.
Make The Most of Social Media Marketing but keep things simple and clear!
Getting Started with Social Media - As with any marketing or promotional activity, the key place to start is with a plan setting out your intended goal Read >