According to a forecast by Statista, that’s how many active social media users there will be by 2025.
For marketers, those numbers can only mean one thing — an audience to market their products.
If you’re a marketer and you’re not leveraging social media for business, you’re definitely missing out on an excellent opportunity to grow your organization.
5 Great Reasons to Use Social Media for Your Business
Social media opens up a lot of opportunities for businesses. Because of the wide reach it affords, you can use it as a powerful tool to achieve many business goals. Here are some of them:
Boost Brand Awareness
One of the most significant functions of marketing is generating brand awareness. And social media can help you do just that. With almost everyone in the world active on one platform or another, getting your brand in front of the right audience is easier with social media than with any other marketing platform.
Project Brand Personality
Another reason to use social media in your marketing campaigns is to help you express your brand personality. This is important as people would rather connect with brands that have personality than those that are bland. So, develop a brand persona and let it shine through your social media engagements.
Thought leadership plays a crucial role in drumming up business for your brand. That’s because by positioning yourself and your brand as an expert, people will tend to trust you more to solve their problems.
And social media is one of the best ways to help you establish thought leadership.
Sharing valuable content and engaging in conversations in your niche or industry is a great way to show your expertise.
Boost Your Lead Generation
Every business needs a steady stream of leads to ensure that it grows.
Executed well, a solid social media marketing strategy can work wonders for your lead generation.
In fact, research by Ascend2 shows that one of the most effective tactics used by businesses to improve the quality of leads generated is social media.
Especially with more people working remotely, social media has become the easiest way to reach your customers. And that’s true for both B2C and B2B industries.
Social media is an excellent tool for winning leads at the top of your sales funnel. By boosting brand awareness, among other things, social media is a great tool for attracting prospects to your business.
While the internet has been a blessing for many businesses, the caveat is that it has also resulted in some brands being negatively impacted. That’s because anyone can post negative reviews or comments about your brand—true or not—resulting in your brand image being tarnished.
This is where reputation management comes in.
Using social media, you can:
- Monitor what people are saying about you
- Join in conversations mention your brand
- Encourage your customers to share their experiences with your brand
- Provide customer service to new and existing customers on platforms that they actively engage on
These are just some of the few reasons why you must use social media for business. With that being said, let’s dive into how you can create a social media strategy that will help you achieve your business goals.
How to Design an Effective Social Media Marketing Strategy
If you want your social media presence to translate into meaningful business transactions, you must be strategic with your approach.
You must design a robust social media strategy.
Here are a few steps to help you do just that.
Define Your Goals
Unlike most social media users, you’re not on social media just to be social. You’re there to market and grow your business.
That’s why when you design your social media strategy, you must have an endgame in mind.
You must have concrete goals tied to you business goals. These can include:
- Brand awareness
- Lead generation
- Growing your brand’s following
- Increasing engagement
- Driving traffic to your new blog or website
Having clearly defined goals will help you design and execute an effective social media strategy. A strategy that can augment your other marketing and sales strategies. As a result, your business will grow, as will your revenue.
Establish Which Metrics You’ll Track
Sure, it’s social media. But, don’t forget that it plays a role in your business. And just like every other important aspect of your business, you must have a way of gauging progress.
With so many metrics to track, make sure to avoid vanity metrics and focus on metrics that matter to your business. To do this, you must establish which ones align the closest to the goals you set. Examples of metrics you can track include:
- Reach. This is a measure of how many people have seen your post.
- Engagement. Engagement is a measure of how your audience interacts with your content.
- Clicks. As the name suggests, it shows how many people clicked on any element of your post. This allows you to see what elicits more curiosity and interest from you audience.
- Sentiment. Sentiment analysis is a measure of how people feel about your brand. It puts into account comments and emotions associated with your content.
The metrics you’ll use for your campaign are mostly dependent on the type of campaign you’ll be running and what you want to achieve ultimately. Metrics help you compute return on investment (ROI). Do not forget about value on investment or (VOI), as you think about the intangible success of your business, such as the amount of time saved or increase in productivity by implementing a process or 3rd party tool.
Understand Your Audience
I’m sure a 4.41 billion strong audience sounds like a dream come true. Unfortunately, even though there are 4.41 billion social media users, not all of them are a fit for your business.
That’s why you must research and understand your target audience.
Understanding your audience will help you:
- Determine which platforms to use
- What kind of content to create
- Design personalized campaigns
Don’t worry. With advanced social media posts, getting the insights you need about your target audience is easy.
Besides your social media analytics tools, you can also get data from your email marketing service, customer relationship management (CRM) software, and any other digital platform you use to interact with your customers.
Determine Your Social Media Platforms of Choice
New social media channels are emerging rapidly. Changes, upgrades, and new features to those social media channels seem like they surface daily.
Unfortunately, social media platforms are all competing to stay relevant in this digital marketing world. It can all seem overwhelming.
That’s why, as a marketer, you must carefully choose. You don’t have to be active on every single social media platform. Instead, you should focus your time, energy, and resources on those platforms that:
- Are frequented the most by your target audience
- Align with your goals and overall business philosophy
- Makes it easy to distribute the kind of content you produce
While there’s no right or wrong social media platform to use, you’re better off limiting yourself to the top 3-5 platforms your audience favors. While it may seem daunting, managing several social media accounts is easy. That’s especially true if you do it from a single dashboard.
If you’re a B2B brand, LinkedIn might be where your customers are.
If you’re a direct to consumer brand, product photos on Instagram may work best.
If you’re a small business looking for more brand awareness among a younger audience, TikTok could help spark interest.
Check out this article on how to use TikTok for business to kickstart your growth in 2021.
Design Your Social Media Editorial Calendar
One thing that your audience needs from you is consistency. And you achieve that by creating a social media editorial calendar.
A social media editorial calendar is a schedule that outlines what kind of content to post and when to post it. This makes it easier for you to manage your social media activity. It also ensures that your content is crafted in such a way that it will elicit engagement.
Create and Curate Unique and Engaging Content
Your success on social media is largely dependent on the content you post. That’s why you must invest time and resources to create and curate unique and engaging content that your audience will love and interact with.
By this time, you know a couple of things to help you here, particularly your audience and the platforms you’ll be reaching them on. To create social media content that achieves its goals:
- Create content for your audience. Sure, it’s your content, but you must create it for your audience. If your audience finds your content relevant and useful, they’ll gladly interact with it.
- Check out your competitors. Follow your competitors and find out what content is working for them. Even better, conduct competitor analysis using tools like eclincher.
- Leverage user-generated content. One thing people look forward to seeing on social media is authenticity. One of the best ways to create authentic posts is by allowing your customers to create content for you. Called user-generated content (UGC) this kind of content tends to help drive engagement.
- Know the latest TikTok trends. Unique videos like hacks, tutorials, hashtag challenges, case studies, and behind-the-scenes looks can help boost brand engagement.
Besides creating your own content, it’s also a good idea to curate or share content from other sources. Of course, as long as you don’t share your competitors’ content.
Track and Analyze Your Performance
Once your social media campaign is running, you must make sure to track and analyze how it’s performing. It’s at this stage that your goals and metrics really come into play. Use them to determine whether your campaign is giving you the desired results or not.
If not, you can always adjust the underperforming areas. This is easy with a good analytics tool as it will show you data for every stage of your campaign.
Speaking of tools, running a campaign on different platforms, and keeping track of its progress can be quite daunting. Thankfully, you don’t have to do it manually. There are several social media marketing tools like eclincher you can use to make your life easier.
eclincher helps you pre-schedule content, automate mundane social media marketing tasks, collaborate with your internal team or clients externally, and even integrates with design tools like Canva and wave.video.
With the social CRM, ec filters all interactions including mentions, reviews, comments, likes, and messages into the inbox, as well as provides analytics to support your KPIs and track social media (ROI) return on investment and (VOI) value on investment.
Social Media Best Practices for Marketers
Now that you’ve sorted out your social media strategy let’s quickly look at some best practices you need to follow. These will ensure that your already brilliant strategy succeeds in achieving the goals you’ve set.
Maintain a Consistent Brand Voice
Your social media presence is an extension of your business. As such, it must align with all your digital platforms and assets.
In short, you must maintain a consistent brand voice across all social media platforms and digital channels.
This includes having consistent design across all of your media, including images, videos, webinars, podcasts, and blog content.
For example, you need to ensure that the tools you pick to run a webinar match your social assets and work well with your brand voice on social media.
It also means that the platform you choose to sell a course needs to include design that meshes well with your social media promotions.
Your customers must “feel they know you” no matter which platform they interact with you on. That must be particularly true of the new platforms like TikTok as well.
Conduct Regular Content Audits
Keeping tabs on your metrics is important. Use your data to conduct regular audits that will help you determine whether you’re:
- Reaching the right audience
- Posting the right content
- Succeeding in reaching your business goals
Regular audits will help you create better iterations of your campaigns, ensuring that your social media presence contributes to your business’s overall success.
Be Present and Be Empathetic
One thing people appreciate is when businesses are quick to respond to their comments or queries. It’s important for you as a business to be present as much as possible on social media.
You must engage with your audience.
More than availability, your audience needs you to be empathetic. To do this, you must understand your audience, put yourself in their shoes, and engage in a way that focuses on them.
As much as you may want to promote your product or brand, let your social media interactions be more about your audience. You can apply the Pareto Principle here by posting 20% promotional material and 80% user-centric material. This way, your customers will engage more with your content and, ultimately, your brand.
Employ a Full-time Social Media Manager
A common mistake many businesses make is to trivialize social media. The truth is that even though you may (at times) not be able to attribute revenue to your social media campaigns directly, it’s still a critical element in your marketing. This is called (VOI) or value on investment.
As such, you must ensure that you employ a social media manager.
This will ensure that you have someone fully responsible for all your social media activities. Whether it’s a freelance social media manager or an in-house employee, make sure not to skimp on this role.
Social Media for Business — Your Business Depends on It
The average person spends about three hours per day on social media. As a marketer, you can’t afford to ignore social media anymore. After all, with customers controlling what kind of media they want to consume, you’re better off serving them what they want, where they want it.
And that’s on social media.
That’s why you must treat your social media presence as an important part of your business — because it is.