The rules of social media marketing are changing quickly, but more specifically, for the better. As a result, only businesses with sound foundations will survive and flourish. New-generation digital and social media marketing is focused on engagement rather than search engine optimization, content, or targeting specific audience demographics. Rather than using traditional social media marketing tactics, businesses should use content-based and community-centric methods to ensure that the desired results are achieved from a strategic perspective.
In addition, companies need to have a digital presence on multiple social media platforms for their business to maintain relevance and growth. The following sections provide a brief overview of companies’ various social media marketing strategies as they undergo this cultural shift.
What has changed with social media marketing?
Over the past few years, social media websites have gained prominence and have become a mainstay in online marketing strategies. The main reason social media is such an essential aspect of marketing today is its broad reach and the ability for businesses to target specific demographics with precision. Social media marketing has been called many things over the years. Still, it essentially boils down to using multiple platforms to promote one’s business and build a loyal following individually.
Businesses have used the traditional methods to market their products and services for over a decade. Still, the old-school social media marketing tactics of using email lists, search engine optimization keywords, and posting to targeted websites have become less effective in recent years. According to survey results from Salesforce.com, InMobi, LinkedIn, and Mzinga, 91 percent of customers research businesses on social media platforms before making a purchasing decision.
Video content offers the best opportunity for brand engagement:
Consumers who watch videos learn more than those who read. The days of businesses posting one-way text-based messages on traditional advertising methods are over. Today’s customers are looking for more engaging and compelling content, so companies should invest in producing video content distributed across multiple platforms. According to the latest Nielsen report, viewing times for online videos are overgrowing.
In-app e-commerce continues to grow:
With e-commerce on the rise, businesses are turning to social media to help them reach their target customers. According to a Consumer Intelligence Research Partners report, e-commerce sales were expected to grow by 9.1 percent in 2013 and could increase by as much as 11 percent in 2014.
Social media marketing is a channel that you can use to promote your business while you develop relationships with prospects and customers. Create videos and other content distributed on multiple platforms like Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, and Twitter.
Marketing through influencers must be on-brand and authentic:
Communications through social media must be on-brand and authentic. Marketing via influencers aims to build brand strength so that your business is recognized as an authority in its field. If your company’s platform is genuine, consumers will see that and associate your brand with expertise, leading to a better purchase decision.
Social media marketing is now a 24/7 activity:
Social media marketing has shifted from a technique that businesses use to find new customers to a platform that companies use to retain and gain loyalty from existing customers. According to the latest study from ExactTarget, which Salesforce.com sponsored, 79 percent of organizations said they’re using social media as part of a retention strategy. Social media is used for marketing as well as for brand building. In addition, social media can also offer companies inbound leads.
Brands must be careful to use the right tone when engaging with their audience:
Social media marketing is a two-way communication process that requires both parties to be responsible and mindful of the message they are sending out. Rather than posting bland messages and having an impersonal tone, brands must make sure that their audiences know they are an honest company that cares about its customers.
Traditional advertising is losing ground to user-generated content:
Traditional advertising is losing ground to user-generated content. Social media led businesses to broadcast video when few if any, other companies were doing so. According to a report by MediaRadar, social media marketers can reach 21 times more users than traditional TV and radio ads. This means that businesses should be utilizing social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter as part of their overall marketing strategy.
Customer service is now available through social media:
Businesses are seeking new, innovative ways to connect with their customers. This is true in multiple industries, but it’s especially true in the service industries. Social media allows businesses to easily interact with existing and previous customers to respond quickly to any questions or concerns.
Social media platforms are a growing source of marketing lead generation:
A recent report from research firm DMN identifies social media as an excellent source for online lead generation. DMN says that 43 percent of advertisers report that social media is a good source for generating leads. This is an increase from the 2010 survey, which found that only 30 percent of marketers found social media to be a good source for generating leads
Social media marketing tactics
Social media marketing can be broken down into two approaches: the “old school” methods and the newer, more effective techniques. To effectively use any promotion, brands must tune with their audiences. The following are some of the more popular social media tactics:
Use YouTube, Flickr, and Twitter to post video content
Video content is a great way to engage with your audience. Customers can’t be influenced by a text-based message. People like to connect with their peers on social media, and sharing videos allows for authentic and on-brand interaction. You can also use these platforms as a place to post your company’s videos that would be of interest to consumers.
Share content multiple times a day on Facebook and Twitter.
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter can help build your brand while creating relationships with your customers. You can schedule posts to go out multiple times a day and plan content that you can use in conjunction with other platforms, such as YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Don’t be afraid of the nonprofit approach.
You’ve probably heard that nonprofits have the best social media engagement rates out of any other industry, and now you know why. Nonprofits use social media to bring people together and promote critical issues. When you decide to join in the conversation, use your brand’s voice and be on-brand so that people know you’re a legitimate organization. You also want to make sure you focus on providing value rather than promoting your company’s products or services.
How to build a social media program
The following steps will help you to put together the most effective social media marketing strategy possible:
Establish your goals: Decide on your key objectives and create a specific strategy for reaching those outcomes. Don’t use the same strategy as every other company in your industry. If you’re using video, make sure that you’re using YouTube and not another video-sharing platform such as Vimeo.
Decide on your key objectives and create a specific strategy for reaching those outcomes. Don’t use the same strategy as every other company in your industry. If you’re using video, make sure that you’re using YouTube and not another video-sharing platform such as Vimeo. Start small: Start by creating one social media presence for each forum, such as Facebook and Twitter. Build on this base with more social media activity once it’s established.
Start by creating one social media presence for each platform, such as Facebook and Twitter. Build on this base with more social media activity once it’s established. Prioritize content: Post consistently to your platforms, but don’t standardize your content. Share videos to draw customers to you and engage with them through comments or questions, so you’re not just sharing a corporate message. It would help if you were also thinking about what sorts of posts have the best engagement rates, whether photos or video content.
Post consistently to your platforms, but don’t standardize your content. Share videos to draw customers to you and engage with them through comments or questions, so you’re not just sharing a corporate message. It would help if you were also thinking about what sorts of posts have the best engagement rates, whether photos or video content. Promote your social media: Consider creating a unique Twitter handle for your company and promoting it with other relevant accounts. You can also try tweeting the same content multiple times but use different phrases to increase engagement.
Consider creating a unique Twitter handle for your company and promoting it with other relevant accounts. You can also try tweeting the same content multiple times but use different phrases to increase engagement. Measure your performance: Finally, make sure you’re tracking all of your social media marketing efforts so you can measure how effective they are.
Final Thoughts & Tips
Social media marketing is only going to become more critical over time. If you do it right, it can provide a platform for generating awareness and building relationships with your customers and prospects. We hope that this guide helped you understand just how easy it is to start your social media marketing plan.