Not long ago, a social media strategy seemed like a nice-to-have addition to a brand’s overall marketing campaign.
Then, so much attention was paid to social media that it became overused by almost every person who had access to it.
But as is usually the case, once the hype dies down, the true potential can be seen. Most online marketing agency experts continue to advocate social media as a vital tool in promoting a company’s brand.
It just needs to be handled correctly.
Why Social Media?
About 43 percent of shoppers now say they both shop and buy online. Another 14 percent say they shop online and buy in-store. That’s well over half of all consumers shopping online.
And then there’s the influence of social media. According to one study, 74 percent of consumers say their purchasing decisions have been influenced by something they saw on social media. That’s why an online marketing agency will still consider it a valuable tool to reach potential customers.
You should, too. Social media has gone from exciting to overexposed to now more relevant than ever for businesses who know how to leverage its influence.
Here are some quick don’t and do’s for social media that can apply to any business
Social Media Don’ts
An effective way to approach social media and its seemingly endless ways of communicating your brand’s message is to go over a few don’ts. As in, don’t do any of the following.
Have a jumbled message. If one person on your team is marketing a product one way on Instagram and another is marketing it a different way on Facebook, that’s going to cause confusion. How a post is executed can differ per platform (and is encouraged based on each platform’s unique best practices), but the overall message and tone about the product and your brand needs to remain consistent.
Post and walk away. Unlike the marketing campaigns of the past, social media is not about posting a message and then leaving it out there for interpretation by the public. Social media offers the chance to directly interact with consumers to build relationships that will turn prospects into buyers. For success in social, this interaction is a requirement not a choice.
Get off message. Social media is no place for someone in the company to showcase their quirky sense of humor, unless that is part of an overarching pre-approved strategy. Have a dedicated and responsible person or team of people (or an outside online marketing agency) create a plan for social media that outlines your voice, tone and what can/can’t be posted to your channels. Then, it’s a matter of sticking to it.
Ignore reputation management. One aspect of social media is the ability for people to post comments about your business. Nice ones need to be acknowledged. Negative ones need to be addressed.
Social Media Do’s
Smart social media marketing requires careful planning. Here are some of the steps to learn along the way.
Know Your Audience. You simply cannot reach your audience if you don’t know who they are. Understand why they like a product, what drives them to make purchasing decisions and how they want to interact with your business. A good start would be to create buyer personas for your different kinds of customers. You can then tailor “buyer journey” paths for each kind of persona.
Drive to useful content. You want social media posts to offer an opportunity to interact with consumers but also point them to relevant content on your website. Instead of linking your home page on a post, link a specific blog article or services/product(s) page on your website that relates to the content of the post.
Maximize landing pages. This is the same idea as pointing consumers to useful content. Drive traffic to a landing page, as opposed to your general home page, with a strong call-to-action that is not too jarring and “sales-y.” A landing page could be one that already exists on your site or it can be a dedicated one that you quickly build specifically for that post.
Consistency. This means consistency both in frequency and tone of your social media messaging across all channels. This goes back to avoiding jumbled messaging. For frequency, creating a simple editorial calendar in excel can help you keep track of when and what will be posted.
Test. Then test some more. Constant vigilance is required in social media marketing. You will want to collect and analyze data on what drives traffic, what creates comments and what gets shares. All social platforms have analytics engines that highlight many useful stats related to individual posts and audience demographics. Use it to build on what’s working and optimize what’s not.
Social media is challenging for businesses and marketing departments. It offers a wealth of opportunities. It also can create difficulties. But it cannot be ignored. It’s a critical component of the online marketing world.