You don’t have to be a king or queen of social, spouting the latest lingo or flexing your trending muscles, to reap the benefits of social media marketing.
You don’t have to use social media at all, mind you, if you don’t need new customers or business.
But depending on your industry and its competitive landscape, there are tons of reasons you might want to use social media marketing to elevate your brand.
Social helps you to delight your followers and turn them into visitors to your content or website.
Organizations use social channels for customer service, public relations, goodwill, and event management, in addition to other business purposes.
Overall, social media marketing (SMM) can impact your bottom line by growing your business.
But that’s not all.
Intangible results, for example, are also part of the equation and one more reason why a strategic approach is the only way to go.
And social media marketing is free—anyone is welcome to use it.
The Social Scene
Your competitors might force you to participate in social media to stay visible and viable, so you might need to up your social game accordingly.
Without a strong presence to rival key competitors, you risk notoriety in your marketplace. Visibility counts.
Brand recognition is everything, especially to larger brands. But a little social can help maintain and build the brand of YOU as well.Social is one more way to get your name out there and consistently in front of people. It's a key cog in the modern marketing wheel.Click To Tweet
I’m finally convinced that a business of one—or thousands—can get positive results from a solid social media marketing strategy.
Look, I was beyond reluctant to do any social media for my freelance writing business. But it didn’t take long for me to realize how important social media is for doing business, particularly digitally.
Social media got me this writing gig, for example!
But what I realized, and what you need to think about too, is that your SMM approach will benefit from a strategy. The traction I’ve gained since putting a social strategy in place is remarkable.
Going Up Anyone?
If you want to level up and turn your social media efforts into a social media marketing strategy, then scream your little social head off!
Why? Because I’ve been collecting research like mad, and I’m going to share it with you in this post.
Let’s make sure your SMM strategy starts off with a bang and not a fizzle.
Use this advice to start, re-start, or up your game, depending on where you are today, socially speaking.
The thing is, whether you’re new or not, you need to think about social media with intention.
But an intention isn’t action. So we’ll look at the why and the how for attacking social to make it matter.
Why Does Social Media Matter?
Instead of pulling out my bag of data and research to prove the importance of SMM in your business marketing mix, how about this?
Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, take a look around you. Are you seeing at least one other person—if indoor or out, in public or home—looking at a device? Thought so!
Smart businesses notice this tendency as well. They understand that social media is about getting to where their customers are hanging out.
To be seen in 2017, you need to go where everybody is looking. And that—like it or not—is at their devices!
You know this is true. The evidence is all around you, everywhere you go.
So, you happen to like data? Okay, here you go:
- According to crowdSPRING’s 2017 surprising small business stats, 40 million small businesses have Facebook pages, 75% of which pay for promoted or boosted posts.
- 94% of small businesses use smartphones as their main phone service. 49% of these businesses use their smartphones to do business 7 days a week.
- Sharon Hurley Hall reveals the number of people using social channels reaches the billions and is, therefore, a good place to promote your top content
- Sharon also points out, “on FaceBook alone, there are 4.2 million pieces of content “liked” per minute.” Yep, per minute.
- David Hartshorne shares that 1.23 billion users log into Facebook for an average of 17 minutes. That’s the equivalent of 39,757 years every day. And you’ll also find over 100 more social media facts in his post and infographic, including this terrifying tidbit: 85% of people rely on Twitter and Facebook for their morning news.
Be a Social Climber
Reluctantly dipping into social is one way to go about attempting to have an impact, but having been there and done that, I suggest you do much better.
These are the top three considerations for you to research and weigh before creating a social media marketing strategy and jumping on in.
1. Review Your Bigger Picture
First, review the big picture to make sure your company’s vision is extended via your SMM plan.
This means gaining pinpoint clarity in knowing what you’re all about. You need to know precisely who you are, what you do, and how you help.
Review, update, or clarify your purpose or company mission as needed, making sure your highest level goals are concise. Having a deep understanding of your unique value proposition (UVP) is the starting point.
Next, you need to know definitively how your UVP intersects with the needs, wants, and desires of your target audience. Remember, you’re going out on social to meet people directly. But first figure out who you are and who they are.
To most effectively create your social media messaging and communications, start by aligning those corporate goals with an overall marketing strategy.
Then incorporate that framework into specific campaign key performance indicators (KPI) that address your defined audience and business objectives.
Some businesses outline core topics or work from a website’s main categories to create an umbrella for content focus.
Again, the fine line is in balancing company agendas with the more important user experience.
Try this for a quick start. Refine details and document action items for your social media marketing strategy by coordinating them within your editorial calendar.
Or you can create an SMM editorial calendar as a separate function—but we’ll get to that.
For now, how about resources to make sure you’re on track with this bigger picture for the first step?
Check out this complete guide from CoSchedule and start your homework for strategizing for your SMM plan.
2. Evaluate Social Channels to Find Your Adoring Peeps
They’re out there, alright. But you need to find out exactly where the people you want to reach are. So while you’re lining up your company ducks, do some research to know what social channels matter most.
Two things rule:
- where your customers hang out
- your business (what kind of content you offer or specialize in)
Let me make it really simple. You don’t want to take your beefsteak to a vegetarian event. You’re talking to the wrong crowd for beef.
You would be a clear mismatch with little chance to sell any beef, no matter how fabulous it might be.
The point is, you need to match social channel demographics with those of your target audience. If you take your beef to vegetarians, it just won’t work.
Match your business with a channel and match the channel with an audience to hone in on the “sweet spot” where you can have maximum impact.
I’m the social butterfly–that’s what I think—who needs to be on every social media platform and publishing everywhere and doing those things. I’m the social media marketer. That’s not the advice that I give most people.~Mike Allton
Even the guy wearing the Social Media Hat and wearing it best emphasizes concentrating on a minimum of social channels, usually three at most.
And he recommends doing them exceptionally well, rather than being half-assed on every single channel.
Mike Allton also recognizes another important factor—time—in a recent interview with Matt Loomis. He says,
To most people, I say have a top tier one or two top priority social networks. And the second tier where you’re somewhat active and then a third tier where you just have a presence and keep those prioritized that way. Most people don’t have time to be active on every platform.~Mike Allton
This brings up the next important consideration for you to think over.
3. Time and Consistency Matter
Like anything, results take time—and work. If you know you can’t put time or work into creating your social media presence, you might as well not start.
At the same time, don’t be intimidated either. I know I felt that way at first.
I wasn’t at all sure I belonged on any social channel in the first place. But delightfully, I find tons of interesting, nice, and smart folks by going out on the limb and testing the social scene.
I do so by interacting with people—You know, the relationship building part Mike holds as most important to your social media success!
In a recent Allbusiness.com post, Gail Gardner points out that consistent equals persistent. This principle is true especially if you are just starting out, but also is a factor in SMM growth and reach.
Persistence is the name of the game when it comes to building a successful online presence. When you first start out, don’t be embarrassed if it feels like you’re just talking to a blank page. If you regularly update your social media pages with quality content, eventually you’ll build a worthwhile audience. It just takes time, patience, dedication, and interacting with your followers.~Gail Gardner
But there’s another step once you know you have the time (or manpower) to take on a social media plan. Even with good time management and determination, there’s more to do.
Checklist Check Kit
I believe doing is moving. Taking action and getting things done is the only way to go, especially if you’re building a business.
However, taking on SMM blindly is not smart, I find. I put together an outline with a way for you to do better from lessons I’ve learned.
Taking time ahead of time for a thoughtful plan of action pays big in the end. Working in a defined direction with intentional activities saves much more than time.
Why just “do” social media to do it, rather than working to create desirable results for your business?
Why not build your authority and brand identity from the beginning with your social media marketing efforts? You can implement a SMM strategy, even if you start by taking the process only a step at a time!
If the first three considerations above have you stumbling, then take your time and think about whether social is a fit for you.
On the other hand, if you’re up for the fun—er, or maybe challenge—then download this handy dandy Social Media Marketing Checklist.
Review it carefully. Start doing your research so that when you kick off (or update) for your biggest SMM success, the path is clearly set.
Look for the follow-up to this post for the nitty gritty details to turn your checklist into your social media marketing strategy and plan of action.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and thanks for sharing…you know, it’s the social thing to do!!