The Absolute Guide to Highly Effective Social Media Strategy for Business Visibility in 2020
In the coming months, businesses are going to become more reliant than ever on their digital publicity. Without wanting to sound too alarmist, in many cases it will be the deciding factor in whether they make it through the tough times ahead.
Interaction is the name of the game. Your business needs to be able to address people’s needs or frustrations about your market, what you offer and what they should expect from you.
B2B companies in particular rely on the seasonal trade shows and exhibitions to network and build potential customer relationships. In industries where firms are not in the digital realm, they may also be less sophisticated in their online growth and customer relations strategies. For small businesses used to getting new customers through word-of-mouth referrals or on the strength of a hard-gained reputation, their loss is coming as a shock.
The digital spectrum is likely to be the clear winner here and firms — including ones that may not so much as had a Facebook page before — will need to move into SEO, social media marketing, content marketing and influencer-led campaigns.
Naturally, this means there’s opportunities out there for the taking, if you are a business in an industry that has been slow to adapt to digital marketing. A key factor in resilience is adaptability.
“If business owners see the benefits and opportunities that digital channels can offer, this will become part of their long-term marketing contingency plans.”
It’s certainly true that the coming months, or years — or however long this situation lasts — will be a challenging time for any business that isn’t ready to think about how they will replace the opportunities that have already been lost.
As long as companies approach the shift to digital marketing strategically, there’s no reason why it should just serve as an emergency fill-in, but could carry on providing long-term value when the world eventually gets back to normal.
Did you know that 97% of people learn more about a local business online than any other medium? In fact, 88% of mobile online searches for local companies result in either a call or business visit within one day. If your business caters to a local audience, has several service areas, and/or has a brick and mortar location, local marketing is absolutely mandatory.
What is local marketing exactly?
Local marketing is a strategy that targets prospects and existing customers within a certain radius of the physical location(s) of a business.
If you have at least one brick-and-mortar business location (this applies to both local businesses and chains), local marketing is a strategy you as a business owner should consider adding to your arsenal. Local marketing can work for any brand that has a physical location, but it’s especially important for locally-based businesses whose primary business happens in-person (versus online, where consumers in any location can make purchases), even if they have no physical location.
Customers today want the same things customers wanted a generation ago. They’re looking for products or services to solve their problems and they want it with a more personalized service. These are things many small businesses excel at and that set them apart from their bigger competitors.
The problem is, many small business owners aren’t capitalizing on the potential there is in the local market. This is particularly true when it comes to digital spending.
The key to successful local marketing is accurately defining your buyer personas (target audience). This process helps you better understand your target audience’s demographic and psychographic information, including their geographic location. This location data is how you can pinpoint where you can funnel your local marketing efforts.
There are different local marketing tactics that you can use to attract new customers from your local area and surrounding neighborhoods. On this post, we’ll be covering everything that has to do with Social Media.
Doing the Social Media Thing
Social media is arguably the quickest and most efficient way to connect with local and global shoppers alike. Most social platforms provide plenty of localization options, from setting a location in your profile to tagging the location of each and every post.
Time and time again, social media marketing has proven to be an indispensable tool in a modern-day business’ marketing strategy implementation. Because of this reality, it is vital for you to come up with a solid social media strategy that can help you push your business towards your goals.
Among the significant reasons why you should fully tap social media for your digital marketing needs is that it has proven to be a result-bearing platform because of the many ways that you can execute your marketing campaigns there, as well as the many tools that can aid you in the process.
There are many reasons why you should fully tap social media for your online marketing needs, such as:
- It helps drive specific traffic
- It helps you connect to your audience
- It builds brand loyalty. Studies have shown that as much as 40% of Internet users follow the social media accounts of their favorite brands.
Furthermore, social media marketing has proven itself to be a result-oriented platform because of the many ways that you can execute your marketing campaigns there, as well as the many tools that aid you in the process of doing so.
Setting Your Goals
The first step that you should take in coming up with your social media strategy is to set your goals. As a basic principle, these goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. These attributes make for great goals that can be understood and tracked with ease. It is also essential to have a strong understanding of what you seek to achieve because your goals will define what kind of strategy you need to formulate. These strategies can be defined as follows:
- INCREASED BRAND AWARENESS — Your social media strategy can be used to spread the word of your brand, making sure that you are seen “out there.” While brand awareness can help improve sales, this goal isn’t about sales, but rather about improving how much people recognize your brand and what you are all about.
- IMPROVED TRAFFIC GENERATION — Some social media strategies are focused on driving traffic to your e-commerce sites. While this may consequently improve your leads and your conversion rates, this strategy is more about being able to refine your social media channels’ ability to push your fans and followers to your site regardless of whether or not they become leads.
- FORTIFIED CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS — A great way to make use of social media is to strengthen your relationship with your customers. Relationship marketing is an essential modern-day marketing strategy that can be done in many different ways, and social media is one of the effective avenues to do so.
- EXPANDED LEADS — Some strategies are geared towards improving the leads that you have, and while not all leads become actual customers, this goal can certainly help you achieve that. The idea is to ensure that you have made a first move on potential customers, and when it’s time for you to close the deal, you won’t find it as difficult if you have expertly nurtured your leads.
- BOOSTED SALES — Of course, a lot of social media goals include boosting your sales. In the end, you hope that all of your efforts ultimately improve your sales, as this is what your business is about. With the right strategies, you can definitely achieve greater sales.
Reviewing The Most Important Metrics
Another essential step in your attempt to come up with your social media strategy is to evaluate your performance. It is important that you take a look back to see what you have done, what worked well, and what didn’t work so well so that you will be better able to hone this year’s strategies to bring about better results.
You should check the performance of each of your social media channels to evaluate the overall effectiveness of your social media campaigns. Because social media marketing is not an activity designed to solely improve your conversion rates, there are other key indicators that you should look into:
- COMMENTS — One of the many social media metrics that you should check is the comments that your fans and followers leave. Comments are seen by a lot of people and can make or break your business. It is great if your users are leaving positive comments, but if you are getting a lot of negative feedback, then you might be in a lot of trouble. When a customer leaves a negative comment, never ignore it. Take the opportunity to respond with an acknowledgement, explanation, and/or apology and retribution. Every business makes mistakes, and owning up to them will counter any negative result that may have come otherwise. People will appreciate your transparency and humanness.
- HASHTAGS — A hashtag is a very important element of social media, and its use can show the relative awareness of your brand and your mission or vision. When your customers use your hashtags, this shows how engaged they are with your brand and your message, so it’s a good idea to look into how well your hashtags are performing to help you track your performance.
- CLICK THROUGH AND BOUNCE RATE — Instead of just looking into the number of clicks that your links get, it is essential that you dig deeper into whether or not these clicks are useful. If your customers do click but then bounce soon after, then these clicks are meaningless. It is important that your clicks are purposeful, and strategies that can earn these types of clicks are essential.
- POST IMPRESSIONS — Of course, there is an abundance of impressions available on social media, so you need to look into your campaigns’ impressions. An impression is “the number of times a post from your page is displayed. For example, if someone sees a page update in their Facebook newsfeed and then sees that same update when a friend shares it, that would count as 2 impressions.”
Redefining Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
With clear goals and a good look at last year’s performance, you are now ready to come up with your new social media strategy. While specific plans won’t be discussed here, as all businesses have different needs and equally different approaches that can fulfill these needs, we can help you revolutionize the way you craft your social media strategies.
Some of the essential things you should do to refine your social media strategy are:
Assign Your Goals to the Right Social Media Channel
You might not be on a lot of social media sites because you want to focus on just one or two, but it is advisable to be on as many as you can. While all social platforms have the potential to help you achieve your social media marketing goals, some of them are more aligned for specific campaigns.
As a basic rule, the following platforms are best used for:
- FACEBOOK: Photos, videos, live events, text posts
- INSTAGRAM: Photos, videos, in-photo texts
- LINKEDIN: Job postings, professional updates, corporate press releases
- PINTEREST: Infographics, instructions, photos
- TWITTER: Short texts, links to blogs, polls
Post Content at the Best Time
Make use of available tools that can help you identify the best time to post your social media campaigns. Doing this can boost your strategies’ ability to achieve your desired results.
Studies suggest the best times and days to post on the following social media sites for optimum engagement.
Having Your Target Audience in Mind
When you are crafting your social media marketing strategy, always keep your target audience in mind.
Avoid forcing your campaigns onto the general public because chances are, your campaigns won’t generate outstanding results. Instead, what you should do is target your campaigns to a specific audience for the same reason that your products are not applicable for all. Would you target men for your makeup line? Would you target millennials for hearing aids?
Creating buyer personas for your different target audiences will help you know exactly who you are marketing to. These can be defined by topics such as background, demographics, personal goals, hobbies & interests, personal challenges, common objections and biggest fears.
Using proper target audience segmentation will avoid failures in your social media campaign. The most common reasons why new products fail could be summarized as:
- Failure to understand consumer needs and wants.
- Fixing a non-existent problem.
- Targeting the wrong market.
- Incorrect pricing.
Learn from Competitors
Keep your eyes on the competition. Many brands don’t bother doing this, but what they do not realize is that this is a constructive activity that can teach you a lot.
It is smart to have intelligence on what your competitors are doing so that you can improve your own social media campaigns. Check out what they’re doing well and try to implement the same logic to your own campaigns.
As you do competitor analysis, make sure to check on the following:
- How they manage their social media channels. How often do they post? What kinds of posts do they make? What kind of engagement are their best and worst posts getting?
- What hashtags they are using and how these are working for them. Are their hashtags being used by people? How do they announce these hashtags?
- Comments left by their audience. Are they getting a lot of positive comments? How are they handling negative comments?
Quality Content Is Always King
For any modern-day digital marketing campaign, excellent and relevant content is critical. You need to come up with winning content that contains your desired message and has the ability to entice your audience to your desired action.
Different types of content include:
- BLOGGING, which can happen on your own site or involve guest blogging for other publications, and can include text, images, infographics, and videos.
- EBOOKS OR WHITE PAPERS, which are often used as lead magnets to capture information like a user’s email address.
- EMAIL NEWSLETTERS, which can build relationships with readers and encourage them to head back to your site.
- WEBINARS AND OTHER VIDEO CONTENT, which can help you convey your brand personality and increase user engagement.
But quality content is quite a vague concept. And for you to ensure that you are within the bounds of what makes winning content, you should take into consideration the following.
Your content should be:
- SEARCHABLE, contain the right keywords, and include enough visual elements (images, graphs, infographics, video, interactive content) to be noticeable.
- READABLE, which means long enough to be informative but not too long to be a dreadful read.
- UNDERSTANDABLE, with the use of simple language that does not confuse your readers but easily conveys your message.
- ACTIONABLE, and geared towards your desired goal.
- SHAREABLE, maximizing the powers of social media marketing.
With these qualities, your content can make your social media marketing campaign easier, helping you achieve the goals you have set.
The Bottom Line
It is undeniable that social media marketing is a tool that businesses today cannot take for granted. And it is not enough that you have a social media presence; you should use it as a full-fledged marketing channel. If you haven’t already, make sure that you start planning your 2020 social media strategy today.