Social media continues to grow in leaps and bounds. With every passing year, we learn new things about what works and what fails. One thing that is for sure is that social media is about building relationships. Brands need to learn and interact with their customers intimately. They also need to be responsive and provide their audiences with helpful content as opposed to bombarding them with marketing messages.
After careful analysis, I have come up with the following tips that I believe will define the success of your social media strategy in the coming year.
1. You must have a social media plan
It isn’t just about posts, tweets and mentions. It never was. You must come up with a strategic social media plan that clearly defines your current situation and defines in concise terms where you want to go. When setting your social media goals, you must adhere to the SMART technique of goal setting. Every goal you set must be SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ASSIGNABLE, REALISTIC AND TIME RELATED. Thus, an example of a SMART goal would be, “Gain 5,000 female Facebook followers aged between 18 and 35 within six months.” Having a concise plan keeps you focused. The plan should then be broken down into actionable steps that can be assigned to members of the team who are then accountable for those portions of the plan.
2. Where is your audience?
You must know where your key audience hangs out. Wouldn’t it be ridiculous for you to post a marketing message at the local pub when your main audience doesn’t drink and would normally be found at a coffee shop? This is the same thing when you post on Twitter when your audience hangs out at Instagram. Don’t waste your resources. Invest in business intelligence tools to help you determine audience’s preferred social network and direct your marketing dollars in that direction.
3. Video is the new king
Quality content is king – so said Bill Gates in 1996. However, a more recent update to this is that video is the new king of content. People love watching video. This could be because people have historically loved television and online video does appear to be a natural transition. In fact, all the research indicates that millennials would rather watch a video than read content. So, if you haven’t been using YouTube, you better make it your priority this year. Just look at how Facebook Live exploded onto the scene. To get started with video, you need to invest in video creation. There are a number of great editing tools but to really get great marketing videos, there are no shortcuts. You will need to hire a professional. Luckily, there are many affordable video professionals that can be hired at any of the numerous freelancing websites on the Internet.
4. Invest in social media ads
Organic traffic and SEO are difficult to attain especially for start-ups and small businesses that haven’t been in business for a while. There is way too much competition, so to make headway, you need to invest in social media advertising. But, audiences are becoming accustomed to ads and unless your ad is really creative and compelling, it may not attract attention. So you need to think outside the box before launching any campaign.
5. Customize your content
Never, ever follow a one-size-fits-all strategy. Tailor your content for different social networks and market segments. What works on Facebook will not necessarily work on Twitter. Similarly, a message that appeals to millennials may fall flat with Generation Y. To this end, intelligence is key… and back to my initial point, you must know your audience intimately.
6. Invest in social media monitoring tools
And, the preceding point begs the question, how do you learn your audience intimately? The answer lies in analytics. Most social media monitoring tools come with detailed reports that help understand your audience. Invest in a good tool that’s specific to the social network(s) frequented by your audience. Once you gain insights into your audience, tweak your social media strategy until you get it right.
Follow these tips to the letter and you will enjoy a great deal of social media success this year. Also, as mentioned at the onset, the social media landscape is changing fast. It’s hard staying abreast of all the changes. To keep yourself apprised on recent developments, I recommend reading this great social media marketing guide and follow people like Ian Clearly to get more insights.