Have you ever wondered how so many of the brands you follow or admire on social media manage to have messaging that is on point, images that are visually appealing and videos that are creatively constructed? They seem to just know how to appeal to their audience.
The hype around social media and the importance of social media marketing won’t die down anytime soon. And the need for a social presence is becoming more and more evident.
But, what exactly is social media marketing and why should business owners note its importance?
Social media marketing is the use of social platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok etc) to promote your business and to connect with an audience.
Through social media marketing and establishing a social presence for your brand, you can:
1. Create brand awareness
As internet users, we spend a large portion of our time on social media, and with over 1 million social media users on each social platform in South Africa (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn), you want to be where your audience is.
By creating content relevant to your product or service, providing information about your business and sharing your portfolio; you can increase your social following and engagement on your social media pages.
2. Make money
For the majority, the goal is to make money from the efforts invested into social media marketing. But you need to be tactful in your approach to sell, when you come across as too salesy, you’ll discourage people from taking action.
So, how do you target the people you’re looking to connect with? You can offer incentives for participation in contests or do launch giveaways. Any promotional content you put in front of your audience that aims to convert should be end-game driven, but your audience and their needs and wants still need to be kept in mind.
3. Keep an eye on the competition
No matter the industry you are in, there will always be another company or an individual you’re having to compete with. And with more and more service providers entering the market, this can make it hard for you to compete.
Keeping an eye on your competitors allows you to assess where their strengths and weaknesses lie, how much of a threat they pose and the opportunities you can identify to better your product or service.
4. Connect with your audience
Social media is at its core all about connecting. Keep in mind that people buy from people. Through connection, you can build meaningful relationships and rally a team of loyal supporters. Make responding to their questions or comments a habit. Ask for their input and feedback. And make an effort to understand their interests.
Creating your social media marketing strategy
Your efforts will prove to be fruitless if you don’t have a plan (strategy) that details what you wish to achieve, when you wish to achieve it, how you plan to go about achieving it and why you’re taking certain steps to achieve your goals.
To build your social strategy, you need to:
1. Determine who your audience is
You need to have a well-rounded idea of who you are wanting to target. Who it is you’re ideally looking to sell to. Think about the needs and wants of these individuals and how you can or plan to fulfil it.
Your ideal customer can be characterised based on:
Location - where they are situated. Are you looking to target people based in a particular area or nationwide?
Age - what age group does your ideal customer fall into?
Gender - is your product or service best suited to men or women?
Interests - does your ideal audience have any definitive interests and buying / spending habits?
Example: I am targeting women in South Africa (nationally) aged between 20-50 who have an interest in makeup and spend on average between R800 - R1 000 per month on makeup products.
2. Set goals
It’s important that you give careful thought and consideration to what exactly it is you wish to achieve. For some, the goal might be to increase sales, while others may wish to grow their following. Whatever your goals are, keep the S.M.A.R.T principle, as demonstrated below in mind.
3. Determine which platforms you’ll target your audience on
Social media platforms have as many differences as they do similarities. And although they’re all great in helping brands create awareness, the platform(s) that best suit your business strongly depends on where your audience spends their time and the product or service you offer.
Example: you’ll have a better chance of finding professionals on LinkedIn, while teens and young adults live on Instagram and TikTok.
This is not to say you can’t market your brand on multiple platforms. Your messaging is what will differ based on the platform and the audience each of them are intended for.
4. Creating content that’s interesting
The content you create and distribute across the various social media platforms need to serve a purpose. As a general rule of thumb, your content needs to:
- Educate / inform people about your product or service and industry.
- Be engaging (funny, interactive like Facebook or Instagram lives)
- Motivate people to take action
- Show that you’re knowledgeable and in the know
- Have relevance
- Show that you care
5. Put a schedule together
Content that is planned and scheduled in advance will save you time, make it easier for you to track how your content is performing. You will get a better indication of what’s working and what’s not working for both your brand and your audience.
Facebook’s scheduling feature makes it easy for you to schedule a number of posts in advance.
For scheduling of multiple posts across multiple platforms, third-party apps like ZohoSocial, Buffer, Sprout Social and Hootsuite will help you plan all your content and provide you with feedback reports and insights.
6. Measure the results
Input = output. It’s important that you measure and track the results of your efforts, this will give you a good indication of how to plan your social campaigns and content calendars.
Your goals will determine the metric by which you measure your results.
With so many factors to consider, we understand social media marketing can be overwhelming. But to ensure you get the best return on investment, it’s important that your social efforts are done right.