Social media is the fastest growing trend in the history of the world. That may sound like hyperbole but it truly is not. Within the first ten years of its public existence, the internet grew to 1 billion users.
Facebook, being sort-of the grandad of social media platforms, amassed 3.2 billion users from 2008 to 2019. That's only eleven years people. From what started as a way for college students to chat about where the biology group was meeting that week, has become a truly revolutionary creation.
It was only a matter of time before us marketers got our paws on the power of social media. What's surprising to many of us digital marketers is that there is still doubt cast on whether social media is an effective marketing tool. The truth is that the effort you put in is relatively minimal in comparison to traditional marketing and the number of potential customers that you reach is insurmountable, and in reality it was impossible before social media. Try not to complicate it, it's just another incredibly effective tool for getting you leads, visibility, and sales - if you do it right.
54% of consumers use social media to research products before purchasing
Okay, now that we gave social media a big head, we can dive into the basics. Before starting a social media marketing campaign, you need to know the following things.
What Are Your Goals?
Alright people I know you have goals, so what are they? What has driven you to land on this blog? What do you want your social media energy to ultimately develop into? This could be brand recognition, increased leads, ecommerce sales increase, and many many other goals. The answer lies with you. Develop these goals and make them SMART.
Understand that while social media is pretty impressive, it's not magic. There are steps to the buying process and it's not likely that a consumer will go from the very top of the funnel to the bottom without going through the awareness, consideration, and then conversion stages.
Who is Your Audience?
Without knowing who your audience is, you're basically just throwing your precious time and energy in the garbage. The value of knowing your audience cannot be overstated. Before creating a social media strategy, spend time really delineating who you're trying to reach with your efforts. Create personas for your audiences, many times you'll have more than just one. Think about the following when you're building out your audience:
What challenges do they face?
What problem will your product/service solve for them?
How urgent is this problem?
What social media platforms do they spend most of their time on?
What kind of content will they engage with?
These questions will help you get to your ultimate goals. Creating content and being active on the social platforms that are popular with your target audience will give you the best chance at gaining their attention, trust, and ultimately close them as a customer.
What Is Your Strategy?
A well-laid plan comes down to an effective strategy. What is your strategy for reaching your goals and building your audience on social? Don't have one yet? Not to worry. We got you.
The key to building an effective social media marketing strategy is to do your research. If you're unaware of what your potential consumers and competition are doing online, start there. Use your goals to drive this strategy and use KPIs and metrics to measure your progress. These metrics can be reach, clicks, engagement, leads; anything that keeps you accountable and can be tracked. Your strategy should include your content plan as well. This means determining your brand voice, types of content, and how often you will post on your platforms. Sometimes this is easier to do with an awesome partner, like ArcStone.
Who Will Own It?
By "own" it I mean who will Beyonce this thing and make sure it goes off without a hitch? Who on your team has the capacity to create, curate, monitor, and network on social media on a consistent basis? This is a must-have for a social campaign because if you start and stop, your audience will notice. There is nothing worse that inconsistency in social media marketing.
Once you've determined who will own your social media, it's time to dive right in! Get the essentials out of the way first but don't skimp on them. Choose your profile and banner images wisely and if you have the capacity, consider using video for your banner.