When talking about social media marketing, we tend to oversimplify things. Thus, don’t be surprised to hear that all you have to do to skyrocket your website traffic is to share a few posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Unfortunately, social media marketing doesn’t work this way.
The whole idea behind using these channels is to build brand awareness, connect with the right people, and engage them through valuable and interactive content.
And, to do so, you need to draft a detailed plan and make strategic data-backed decisions.
Research your Target Audience
There is no uniform technique that would work for basically any business out there. For example, to address Millennials, you won’t use the same channels you use when targeting the elderly.
To be effective, your social media strategy needs to be highly targeted.
And, to tailor your activities to your target audience’s needs, you first need to get to know them.
There are two sorts of data you should use:
Demographics are the statistics, telling you who your target audience is. It includes data like one’s age, gender, location, income, education, or marital status.
Of course, not all these elements are relevant to your business, so stick to the ones that make sense.
Now that you have your basic customer information, you need to move to psychographics. These are some more precise information, helping you adjust your content to your target audience.
Here is what you need to ask yourself:
- Why are these people interested in your niche?
- Is your niche their personal interest or a part of their job?
- What do they already know about your niche?
- What do they want to learn about your niche?
- How do they want to learn that?
To gather this data, you need to observe your target audience.
Use social media monitoring tools to track your brand mentions and see what they already know about you and your niche.
Share polls on your site or social media to collect their feedback. To make sure you get the right answers, you can even set up paid surveys on some of the numerous survey platforms. By knowing that they will get paid to take surveys online, people are motivated to give more precise, objective and honest answers.
Do a subreddit search to see what your target audience’s most common questions, problems, and attitudes are.
Find forums relevant to your niche and track them regularly.
Track people’s comments on popular blogs in your niche, your competitors’ sites, and your site, as well.
Set your Goals
In the world of digital marketing (especially social media), there is something we call vanity metrics. These are KPIs like the number of likes, retweets, or shares. And, the problem with them is clear- they make us happy and yet don’t provide us with valuable insights.
So, to track key KPIs and how to formulate your strategy, you first need to set clear goals.
For example, to raise your brand awareness, you will create content that will position you as a leader in your niche, build familiarity with your brand, and grab your target audience’s attention. Your goal is to constantly measure people’s engagement and interaction with your brand.
If your main priority is boosting your ROI, then you will focus on some more direct approaches and your KPIs are also different. You want to see how many of your website visitors come from your social networks and how much these channels influence your conversion rates.
Choose Networks where your Target Audience Hangs out
One of the most common mistakes marketers make is spreading themselves thin across all popular social networks. No matter how many users these channels have, if it’s not where your target audience is, you shouldn’t waste your time on them.
So, which channels to choose?
Pay attention to your target audience’s age. For example, Vine and Tumblr are great for addressing younger demographic, while Facebook is all about wider and more diverse groups of people.
The choice of the right networks also depends on the content you want to share there. LinkedIn is all about making professional connections and sharing industry-specific content. Twitter keeps your followers updated with the hottest news, while Instagram and Facebook help you build brand image and create firmer connections.
Once you set your goals clearly, you should focus on a few- two or maximum three- social media channels.
Don’t worry about missing out on massive traffic.
Your goal is to connect with the right people.
Prioritize quality over quantity.
Bring Value with Content
Remember that social media marketing is all about bringing value and engaging your followers.
That’s why you need to choose the right type of content. Depending on the network you use, it could be any of this:
- Inspirational quotes
- Jokes (memes, gifs, fun videos)
- Quick tips
Make sure your content is organic, relevant, and not overly promotional. As one of the main uses of social media is to humanize your brand, you should also share some behind-the-scenes videos and photos from your office.
No matter what content you share on social networks, make sure it’s organic, relevant, and not overly promotional. Go with the 80-20 rule. Namely, 80% of your content is supposed to educate and entertain your audience, while only 20% should promote your brand directly.
The next step is creating a posting schedule. In other words, you need to have a content calendar, where you would list the exact dates and times at which you will publish your content on each network. It’s a great place to plan all your content sharing activities and make sure they’re spaced out adequately. Once your content calendar is all set, use social media management tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule your posts and automate your content sharing and curation processes.
Test, Make Changes and then Test Again
Your social media strategy is not something definitive.
Once you draft your plan and start implementing it, you may notice that some steps you’ve taken don’t work. In this case, you need to eliminate them on time. Some strategies, on the other hand, may work better than you expected, meaning that you need to allocate more resources to them.
Also, new social networks constantly emerge and, if your customers are using them, you need to be there, too.
This is why you need to track your data regularly. Keep track of the latest trends in the world of social media, do your target audience segmentation, and update your buyer personas regularly. And, to see the effectiveness of your plan, you need to track the right metrics:
- Share of voice
- Applause rate
- Amplification rate
- Website Leads
- Website traffic is driven by social media, compared to your website bounces
The surveys mentioned above are also a great source of information. Ask your social media followers, website visitors, or email list if you’re meeting their expectations on social networks.
Remember, in the turbulent social media ecosystem, trends change fast. And, the only way to survive there is to have a solid plan and update it regularly.
Author Bio: Emma is a digital marketer and blogger from Sydney. After getting a marketing degree she started working with Australian startups on business and marketing development. Emma writes for many relevant, industry related online publications and does a job of an Executive Editor at Bizzmark blog and a guest lecturer at Melbourne University. Interested in marketing, startups and the latest business trends.