Not too long ago, social media was thought of as a passing trend – a new bit of tech that was used only by early adopters. However, nowadays it’s pretty clear that social media is more important than that, and has made a name for itself as one of the most powerful marketing tools ever. Social media can provide you with more exposure and brand awareness than any other traditional marketing tool out there. Modern social media marketing involves utilizing different social media platforms to target and interact with your key audiences with methodology that gives meaning to your brand. It’s a two-way process, which is why it’s typically more memorable than the mass-media campaigns of the 20th century.
Social media has quickly become the most important part of any brand’s marketing efforts. Over 97% of marketers use it. However, it’s worth noting that those 3% aren’t necessarily missing out – social media is great for targeting people, but it has a flaw in that it only allows you to target those who are already on the sites. If your clients aren’t the demographic to use social media, then it can be a waste of time. Having said that, only 50% of small businesses don’t use social media marketing, which can really strip back on their leads and revenue. If you’re not convinced about social media marketing, you should ask yourself if you have customers on those sites that you need to put your brand in front of. You can get potential customers to engage with your brand even if they’re not ready to purchase from your company. This can be invaluable, as it puts your brand in the forefront of people’s minds. Also, if you think that social media is a waste of time, consider that your clientele likely expect you to be there. It can be a very important part of modern customer service.
Sadly, many small businesses decide that they want to get on social media to do some marketing and then barely do any research about how they should create a strategy. This leads to poorly managed campaigns with no direction, which, unsurprisingly, can be very ineffective. If you’re taking the time to read this article you’re already going in the right direction, but there are some key areas you need to consider when creating a social media marketing plan for your SME. Well, first thing’s first: you need to do some research (beyond this article unfortunately). Social Media research becomes a key part of any strategy, and the thing that most people don’t get is that it doesn’t end. It’s an ongoing thing. You need to understand who you’re selling to, and what they need and expect – that’s really important. Lurk a bit online and take note of what the demographic you’re selling to are talking about, how they talk and other measurements of online behaviour. Put together a list and then refine it. You should then consider whether you implement paid or organic social media marketing. It shouldn’t be an either/or, it should be about the ratio you employ. Both are invaluable tools, and if done correctly can help to grow your business without being too heavy on your wallet. Paid marketing is more self-explanatory, but organic social media marketing can help you put your business in front of the right audience in a way that only costs your time. You need to learn the sort of algorithms that social networks employ and keep your eye on them. Cracking their algorithms to get as much of your content in front of your audience as possible (for free) is getting more and more difficult. But organic social media marketing shouldn’t be a last resort. You should be consistent and understand that you need to convey your brand with the same messages, even if the delivery varies due to changes in the algorithm. It’ll take quite a while, but your audience will be much more likely to trust organic content than paid. However, your audience will undoubtedly be larger when you’re using paid marketing; it’ll drive traffic and give you a boost, but should be thought about as such instead of as a consistent way to drive revenue. It should be used to give your campaign a bit more fuel when things are moving slowly. You should also prioritize which social media channels you implement. Try to pick a few key channels, as you will likely not be able to post on every channel unless you have a huge social media department. It is important to post on multiple channels, as targeting the consumer from different angles is much more effective than just targeting them from one angle, but you should prioritize when you strategize. You can outsource your social media marketing, which does tend to be more effective – companies like Angelfish Marketing often offer packages that include integrated channels and content creation, which might be preferred if your time is limited – but make sure you get some information from anybody you outsource to on their average ROI so you can include it into your business model.
There is no way that all social media marketing strategies could be included in this simple guide, but it gives you the absolutely crucial aspects you need to think about if you’re considering a social media campaign. The chances are that it’ll help you greatly, but it does require a lot of thought before you take the plunge.