Smart Facebook and Instagram campaigning have helped tiny micro businesses draw in six-figure monthly sales within months of opening up shop. For more established brands, social media marketing campaigns have gone viral and turned companies into world-famous names overnight.
But hitting upon that magic social formula is a huge struggle, involving a lot of daily grind and research. This can be a huge frustration for entrepreneurs and marketers who don’t have all day to pore over social media feeds.
For those looking to build a social media marketing strategy that matters, read on for some expert tips to help you maximize your time spent on social media.
Explore different forms of content
New features and partner programs on sites like Snapchat are giving brands more opportunities to test out paid campaign formats. Brands can try out shoppable galleries, custom geofilters and more…
Here are some content formats and ideas you should test out for yourself:
On Facebook, go for: Ads that offer value to audiences for free, such as a free eBook download or trial period. With Facebook’s advanced audience targeting tools, ad managers can identify audiences, teach them something, and draw them in with a set of retargeting campaigns.
On Instagram, go for: Tagged products within posts. Through Instagram’s partnership with Shopify, brands can post gorgeous lifestyle imagery featuring their latest product and make direct sales from the site.
Influencer marketing is another huge trend on Instagram. Brands of all sizes can find niche superstars to advertise their goods. Create deals where influencers announce exclusive promotion codes to their fans.
On Pinterest, go for: Long lists of tags on all posts. Pinterest depends on search, therefore users can be seen as warmer leads. Brands are using Pinterest’s superior search to their advantage by incorporating stunning product photography in their Buyable Pins campaigns.
On Snapchat, go for: Customized geofilters. Brands can create their own filter, provided it’s fun and not overly promotional, and pay to target it to a defined geographical area over a set time period.
On LinkedIn, go for: Sponsored InMail posts. As the leading B2B social network, brands have to captivate their audience quickly. Short, targeted InMail campaigns can be an effective means of grabbing the audience’s attention during their busy working day.
Target your audience effectively
Next, you will need to plot and test your new ideas to targeted social media audience segments.
To discover your audience’s shared interests and characteristics, get to grips with the Facebook advertising platform.
As Facebook remains the most popular social networking site worldwide, their dashboards will tell you the most about your audience’s age range, gender, location, common likes and so on. Use the search to identify lists of common Facebook interests.
Another great bonus is their custom audience tool that allows you to check out your competitors. Look at their audience characteristics and build up a set of targeted customer avatars based on these findings.
Create clear customer journey maps to keep optimizing
There are many customer touch points for your brand on social media. Have these customer journeys mapped out visually. This will ensure you are making the most out of the vast number of number of options these networks can afford.
In plotting your social media journey maps, ask yourself:
- Where do your audiences need to see strong visual branding?
- How can you incentivize different audience segments to opt-in at different stages?
- Where can a personalized message finalize a sale?
Social media management tools like Simply Measured can help you build accurate audience targeting segments, as well as analyze and track the performance of your journey maps.
Testing your results using automated split-testing tools and evaluating past campaigns will help you boost your effectiveness from a macro and micro perspective.
Adjust your audience segments, and tweak the copy and images until you are optimized across every ad and every channel.
Balance long-term and short-term strategy
Brands will likely need to plan both a long-term and short-term strategy to maximize their social media efforts.
For instance, if you are a new business establishing yourself in the market, you will need to make sales fast. You should try out incentivizing offers, refer a friend schemes, tempting product photography, etc.
However, simultaneously, you should also be thinking long-term. You will need to establish a strong brand presence and community on sites like Instagram for instance.
To make sure that you are striking the right balance between short-term and long-term campaigning, track you engagement figures closely. At each touch-point in your advertising funnel, scrutinize your CPA figures and find ways to ‘double-up’ on your short-term and long-term goals.
For instance, if you are targeting customers to make their first purchase with you, find ways to increase their first order spend. You can offer things like free shipping for orders over a certain price. Alternatively, you can find ways to offer a list of products as a bundle. People are more likely to return to you if they remember spending lots of money with you in the past.
Prioritize local social search
With an increasing number of services offered through hyper-localized search results, brands should be looking to do all they can to work with these features.
If you’re trying to push people to find out more about you, optimize your Facebook Local profile. Add videos and images and do all you can to make your profile look trustworthy and superior to your local competitors.
You should also optimize your Google My Business page, if you haven’t done so already. Link all of your social media profiles through your entry and encourage visitors to check in, and post their photos and videos of the venue.
The aim is to build your micro business’s social proof scores through your local, organic online network.
Have a plan and stick to it (mostly)
It’s easy to get sucked into social media and just as easy to become overwhelmed by it. Getting the most from social media comes, in many ways from having a solid plan for what you are going to post, where and when. Armed with your knowledge of your products, customers and channels map out all of the big events in your business’ calendar and your customers’ calendar too, then link what you are doing with them and their lives. If you’re running an online boutique then it stands to reason that you wouldn’t be selling heavy winter coats in August, but a ‘Festival fashion’ package that contains a blend of the latest, seasonal, on-trend items with practical essentials like wellies, when matched with a great price could help you reach lots of new customers.
Having a plan and getting organized means that you will spend less time worrying about what to post on social media and more time thinking about how best to present yourself and converse with your customers. Remember that a quick status update, instant video or boomerang clip can resonate with your audience just as much as a long-copy blog post so by having a good plan you will be able to focus on the times and events that need most attention while finding quick posts that keep your audience engaged the rest of the time. But, keep your eyes open. The best plans are the ones that you ignore because you’ve thought of or seen something better and more interesting. Feel free to react to what’s happening in your world and don’t be afraid to throw the plan away when you feel it’s right.
Creating strategies that marry all networks together will help you create social media marketing campaigns that matter. Getting your segmentation right is all about audience research and tempting your targets to opt-in to the next stage, whatever that may be. Experiment with different messages and pay close attention to your competitors and broader influencers. This will help your brand stay relevant as social media marketing evolves over time.
**Have a plan and stick to it (mostly) was contributed by Jim Woodhead, founder of A for Agency.**