Social media has become an integral part of the marketing strategies of every organization across industries. From generating leads to boosting conversations, increasing brand awareness, and driving customer engagement, social media is helping brands achieve their goals while pushing them to be creative and innovative. While the top goal of most social media marketing strategies is still to advertise products and services, there is so much more that can be accomplished with the right social media services.
What is social media marketing?
The process of promoting your products and services, interacting with your target audience, generating leads, driving conversations and engagement, etc. using social media platforms is referred to as social media marketing. There is a very wide range of social media platforms on the market today, each offering something slightly different from another, opening up avenues for engaging with your audiences in many creative ways.
However, we can simplify this broad definition and just say that the process of using social media to interact directly with your target audience to drive business growth and build your brand is social media marketing. Social media services are becoming a big part of the customer experience, or CX, that your brand offers.
What are some of the top social media platforms right now?
The most popular social media marketing platforms are:
Apart from these, more niche platforms can help you drive engagement to more specific audiences, but the above-listed platforms would generally work for most brands, they’re where most of the audiences are.
Why do you need to have a social media strategy?
The world has moved from just selling products and services to customer experience management or CXM. To offer the best CX, a social media strategy is critical. A social media strategy is essential to ensure that you have a proper plan in place of how you want your brand to be perceived online, to build a strong, organic presence in the social space and that your efforts don’t go to waste.
Your social media strategy should also have space for social listening, so you can listen to the conversations that are taking place on social media, engage with your customers, and ensure you are delivering the best customer service.
What is social listening?
Countless conversations are happening on social media at all times. Some of these conversations could be about or related to your products and services. Tracking these social media conversations and mentions is very important as it helps to know the perceptions and ideas your brand is evoking and experiencing currently. You can analyze the data you collect from social listening to derive valuable insights into consumer behavior trends around your products and services as well as unravel potential opportunities.
How is social listening on social media helpful?
There are three main ways social listening will help you:
1️⃣ Listen and engage
Social listening will help you listen to what your target audience and your customers are saying about your brand, and tweak your CXM accordingly.
2️⃣ Collect valuable market intelligence
The future belongs to the one who can tap into the potential of data, and social listening enables you to do that.
3️⃣ Let your customers help you:
When you listen to what your customers are saying, what they like, and what they don’t like, you get a better idea of what you can do to offer the best CX to keep them happy.
But to make social listening happen, you first need to be social!
The advantages of social media for a brand
✅ Be available and accessible to your customers.
✅ Building brand awareness for your brand.
✅ Generate leads to drive conversions and sales.
✅ Build stronger relationships with your customers.
✅ Keep an eye on what the competitors are doing.
The limitations of social media for a brand
✅ Threats of negative reviews.
✅ Time-consuming exercise.
✅ Pressure to come up with innovative, refreshing content and post regularly.
✅ Hard to measure the returns on the effort.
✅ Could pose security and privacy risks.
How to build the right social media strategy and execute it?
While each brand could have different ideas and expectations about what they want their social media presence to deliver to them, there are some fundamental steps everybody needs to follow to build the right social media strategy.
Step 1️⃣: Define your audience
The first step, no matter what your social media goals are, is to define your target audience. This is also the starting point for every marketing exercise and strategy. Who are you ideally hoping to interact with on the social media platforms? Who are the people to whom you would like to sell your products and services? Define more details about them like where are they based, what do they do, how old are they, etc.
Step 2️⃣: Decide which social media platforms you would like to be present on
There are lots and lots of social media platforms out there, but you don’t have to be present on them. Analyze what each platform can offer your brand, and where your audience is, and then decide which platforms fit best with the goals you have.
Step 3️⃣: Define the goals you aim to achieve with your social media presence
Do you aim to build brand awareness or do you plan to sell on social media? Are you trying to drive traffic to your website, or would you like to generate leads and boost conversions? Write down what you want to achieve with your social media presence. This is very important as the success or failure of your social media strategy will depend on the goals you define.
Step 4️⃣: List out your metrics and KPIs to measure your success
Goals have to be measurable and to measure them you need the appropriate metrics and KPIs in place. It could be the number of likes and comments, reach, impressions, clicks, or something different based on what your goals are.
Step 5️⃣: Competitive Analysis
This would be more of a constant exercise than a one-time thing. Always keep an eye on what your competitors are doing—what campaigns are they running, what their content is like, what platforms are they on, how are they responding to customers, what trending topics are they engaging with, etc. You can use some of these ideas to shape your strategy too.
Step 6️⃣: Plan out your calendars and schedule things up
Based on all the above steps, plan out monthly calendars for the content you wish to put up on all the social media platforms you have decided to be present on. Once you have a plan in place, get the content ready and use social media scheduling to schedule all the posts at specific times and days, so at least one part of the strategy can keep going on automatically. You will still need to monitor all platforms every day, but the posting can be automated to some extent. Leave enough room to take up topical content that cannot be planned.
Step 7️⃣: Add in “social listening”
Just going social is not enough in the competitive times we live in. You would need to make room for social listening too. Listen to what your customers are saying about your brand, about your products & services, what they are liking, what they are not liking, how they are interacting with your content, etc.
In this way, you can use social media services to engage with your customers and your target audience and improve your customer experience management (CXM) practices.
Social media has been around for quite some time now and is going to be around for many, many more years to come. It is a great way to be available and accessible to your customers, no matter where they are located or where you are located. It can help you build your brand awareness and is one of the best tools in your toolbox to build your brand, generate leads, offer the best customer experience, etc.
With the right social media service plans and strategies in place, you can get started on this amazing path to achieving your marketing goals. The key thing to remember is that social media never sleeps, so you will need to be on your toes, but the effort is worth the returns you could get if you do it right. Pair your strategy with the right social listening tools and strategies, and nothing can stop you.
Social listening would help you understand what people think about what you’re doing and even give you directions on what you should do in the future to keep your customers happy. At the end of the day, that’s what it boils down to – keeping your customers happy. Doesn’t it?Tags: branding, Marketing, ORM Strategies, Social Listening, Social Media, Social media management, Social Media Marketing, Social Media Strategy, social media trends, strategies