Success in social media, and arguably in business, lies in the ability of the business to differentiate itself from the rest of the competition. Even then, there are some unwritten rules that all successful businesses tend to follow when formulating a strategy on social media.
Every successful social media campaign is backed up by a good strategy, as well as being well-researched and properly executed. Social media success requires one to be able to connect with their audience at a deeper level, and this requires a proper understanding of the target audience. The first step should be defining exactly whom the audience is, and distinguishing them by age, profession, interests and social media use habits. With this information, one can then refine their message depending on the problems they can solve for their target audience. With a target audience and message, the final part of the strategy should be finding out which channels they spend their time on the most, and which ones will be most effective when sending the message. Success in any one of these three steps requires proper research.
Coordination of multiple channels
Most social media marketing campaigns happen across multiple channels. It is important, however, for a brand to create and maintain a unique identity, and keep it consistent across the various channels it uses. When brand messages are consistent across many channels, many people automatically associate this with trustworthiness. When potential customers find a brand trustworthy, then almost half of the job is done. The first step when looking to coordinate one’s social media channels is to start from the website. It is the place where everyone hopes their social media presence will eventually lead customers to. Coordinate your site with a good social media presence, even using a blog to provide further information. Different channels can also be interconnected to send the same message to as wide an audience as possible.
Listening and sharing
The thing about social media is that it changed the marketing communication landscape from one where messages were only sent by the company to its customers, to one where the overall image of the company depends not only on what it says about itself, but on customer opinions on its products, services and its marketing messages. It is no longer enough to simply spend on tailoring one’s message to their audience. It is important, especially where social media is concerned, to listen and respond to the opinions of one’s target audience. This calls for businesses to respond to comments, feedback and mentions, even if they are negative; turn them into positives for the business.
Content is king
There is no escaping the power of content even on social media. The quality of the content one gives their audience will determine just how authentic they find the business. For instance, even with social media tools like Instagram and its filters, a properly taken photo will still have greater traction than a poorly taken and edited one. Additionally, it is important to note that social media users crave information and engagement, but too much of it starts to become a turn off. It is important to consider not only quality, but quantity when it comes to content and its effectiveness. Set up a plan for the collection and aggregation of content that is useful to the target audience, and add it to one’s calendar. To manage frequency, create a daily plan for social media activities, which might include sharing content to different pages for instance, or posting 2 or 3 photos per day.
The biggest difference between the use of social media for personal benefit and for marketing one’s business is the ability to leverage the power of paid advertising. Almost all the social media channels now provide their customers with this capability. No business should take for granted the power of paid social media. There are many options even within the paid advertising atmosphere. For instance, Facebook offers different advertising options depending on the general objective of one’s campaign. For those whose audiences favor twitter, one can either go for promoted tweets or promoted accounts. Paid advertising is important as it helps the business cut through the clutter, delivering content specific to the needs, preferences and social media use habits of their target audience.
Perhaps one of the more important rules in social media is the need to measure and analyze results. It is through tracking performance data that one can be able to determine which strategy works and which one does not. Most social media networks have tools which enable users to track and measure the impact and performance of their presence on social media. For the website, search engine tools like Google analytics can help. Regardless of the platform, it is only with the right information that one can be able to make informed decisions.
There are many success factors in social media, but most of them are based on the rules mentioned here. Following these guidelines is often the first step to a successful following on social media.