Social Media is still a relatively new marketing strategy. Not all businesses have tapped into the business potential. There are many factors as to why this is so, but the most commonly communicated hesitation towards joining the social media campaign is: what will this do for my brand?
As with any marketing strategy, the most important factor to consider is your target audience. Who is your customer? How do they buy? And, for a social media campaign, where are they? The question of “where” refers to the social networks your target audience is engaged in online.
Here's the Numbers
Still not sure if your customers are online?
Consider these statistics:
- Twitter – 284 million
- Instagram – 300 million
- Facebook – 1.35 billion
What do these numbers mean? These numbers represent the active users on the above listed social media networks. This is the magnitude of the audience engaging online. This is where your customers are.
Where Are My Customers?
Some companies get bogged down by the overwhelming number of social media networks that are available and don’t quite know where to begin. The answer lies within the customer. Finding the answer is simple: just ask.
The best way to receive qualitative information is through the use of surveys. This will allow you to get an idea of which social media sites your target market is using and for what purposes. For example, many social media users will utilize Instagram strictly for personal sharing. They may not wish to see advertisements for businesses. Instead, they utilize Facebook to keep track of their favorite brands. If this is the case for your business, it would be more beneficial to spend the time and energy into creating a Facebook page to interact with your target audience.
When you’re just starting out with social media, it’s best to stick with just one network. This will allow you the opportunity to play around and get a feel for social media marketing. When you have mastered and feel confident in your skills, you can begin expanding.
Engage & Interact
Once you have decided on where you are going to be meeting your customers, you must draft a campaign for how you will engage them. The key to any social media campaign is engagement; you have to interact! This is where many businesses fall short. They don’t realize how much time and energy goes into this imperative step in the social media campaign.
As with any strategy, a timeline is the best way to keep you on track. Whether it is designating one hour during the day or at the top of every hour during a set time period (such as 9-5, for example), consistency is the key. Your customers need to be able to depend on you to offer reliable engagement. For larger companies, this means designating a person or team to handle all social media for the brand. Many smaller companies will cross-train employees to be able to manage these social media pages as well as perform other tasks pertinent to the business. Whichever method works best for your brand: be sure to utilize it.
Online, customers will typically voice their opinions for two primary reasons: to vent/praise about a problem/success; or to ask questions.
As a brand, this is a huge way to become an advocate for your reputation! Should a customer have a problem and voice their opinion, you can reach out and resolve it. If they are happy with the service and want to tell their friends, you can thank them. These simple interactions mean the world to customers. After all, they are posting to be heard. You just need to be there to listen.
Despite whether your brand has a customer service call-in hotline or not, there are many customers that find it simpler to ask questions via social media channels. It allows them to submit their questions and wait for a response without having to be tied down to their phone. If you are a technology company, for example, and a client has a question about how to hook up their software, you can answer their question right there in the moment. This question can be answered in more than one way. You can send them a private message to provide the answer (this can sometimes be preferable as it will not clog up your news feed), or you can answer openly. The benefit to answering openly is that it helps other customers that may be experiencing the same or similar issues. Either way, you are proving to the customer that you are at their service.
Content is Vital for Social Media
Aside from providing service to your customers, you must also decide what type of content you want to share on your social media page. Will you focus on videos, images, external links, or simple status updates (where you are sharing a textual message)? Ideally, it’s best to have a balanced mix. For the sake of beginner’s purposes, focus only on the content you are confident in sharing and are sure will maximize your strategy. It is unwise to focus on a specific content you are not savvy in. Doing so can have an adverse effect on your campaign.
Statistically speaking, videos tend to generate better reach on social media. In going back to the example of questions for a technology company: if you are finding that customers are asking the same question over and over again, posting an instructional video would be beneficial. It is a great way to get the customer’s questions answered and leaves time for the brand to focus more time in other aspects of their campaign.
Videos can also be an excellent way to take the interaction with your customer’s one step further. The one aspect missing online during social interaction is being face-to-face. Customers love to see the people behind the brands. Videos provide the perfect opportunity for the customer to put a face to a name, so to speak, and bridge the social connection another step further.
Overall, you want your social media campaign to drive traffic to your website. In terms of utilizing videos in a social media campaign, it would be an excellent idea to post a short video with a “to be continued” ending. After all, consumers like their online interactions to be short and sweet. As an example, you can develop a video that begins to tell a story and engages the customers and peaks their interested. But, before revealing the climax, end the video and illicit the customers to link over to the web page to conclude the story. Once you get their attention, their curiosity will kick in, and they will need to see the rest! From then on, it’s up to your website to keep them engaged and get the customer to delve deeper and deeper into the content.