Posted by Roxan Mathys on Monday, February 9, 2015 - 00:00
Looking for ways to improve your social media marketing efforts? Here are eight helpful ideas.
Whether you're new to social media marketing and want to launch and manage your own brand accounts, or you've been involved for a while and are looking for new best practices, I'd like to share some of the tips that I remind myself of often.
I've been involved in social media marketing since 2009, back when people were still asking, "What is this Twitter thing?" Since then, I have set up social media marketing programs, integrated social sharing strategies in marketing initiatives, and run social media accounts for a range of government, not-for-profit and corporate organizations.
Over the years the social media environment has changed in many ways, and will only continue to evolve with the proliferation of wearable technology and rising demand for mobile and local content. However there are certain fundamentals of social media marketing that are sure to stay the same.
Social media is a way for people to be, well, social. So what better way to learn about it than to share your tips and tricks, right? These are my tips on social media marketing, and I invite you to share yours in a comment below.
1. Know Your Audience
Each social media platform has a unique audience with different wants, needs and attitudes – and your target customers will turn to certain ones more than others. Before deciding which platforms to spend time on, it's important to understand what people use each site for and how you might engage with them.
As new and exciting social media channels are introduced in the market, I like to create personal accounts to explore and understand how they work before determining if they would be a good fit for a particular brand.
2. Set Clear Goals
The worst mistake you can make is to use social media just because everyone else is. Set goals and have a social media strategy for how you plan to achieve those goals. Continually ask yourself questions like:
- Which social media channels are my customers spending the most time on?
- What do they want to see from my brand?
- How do they want to interact with my company?
If you can only spend one hour per day on social media, prioritize. By focusing on one or two channels and tailoring your content, you will see better results and a more engaged audience.
3. Be Brave and Try New Things
By doing something different, you can break through the noise. That said, be prepared to fail – and fail fast! It's OK – not every idea will result in a win. Whenever you try a new initiative, have a plan to evaluate it. Learn from your mistakes so you can develop better social media marketing strategies in the future.
4. Create a Schedule
Developing a successful social media marketing campaign can take a lot longer than you think. When you have a great campaign idea, document key dates and deliverables on a calendar. This will help you keep track of your content and social channels, and avoid last-minute scrambling.
I start by listing out the above-the-line advertising, marketing and public relations initiatives. Social media marketing can provide a valuable extra boost to these programs and help ensure consistent brand messaging.
5. Track Your Analytics
Data, data, data – it's everything in today's world. Without analytics, in essence, you are throwing a bunch of stuff at a wall hoping something sticks. By tracking your analytics, you can better understand where your effort is receiving the most reward – and what needs extra focus. Most social media platforms collect comprehensive data, which allows you to analyze your audience, engagement and influence. There are several different ways to measure your social media success, both free and paid.
Combining your analytics with your editorial calendar can help provide extra insights when determining future campaigns.
6. Don't Be Afraid to Apologize
Social conversations move quickly, and there is plenty of room for error – think typos, inappropriate use of hashtags, and regrettable comments posted in the heat of the moment. If you get caught in a sticky situation, make sure you apologize in a timely and sincere way that rings true with your brand.
7. Learn From Your Competitors
Know what your competitors are doing on social media and track how they are performing. Often you can see what does – and doesn't – work without having to try it yourself.
8. Don't Put All Your Eggs in the Social Media Basket
Just like it's not a best practice to place your ad in every magazine, your brand doesn't have to be active or involved in every social media platform. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram are popular, but use the mix that works best for your business.
I hope my advice is helpful to you. Please share any tips and tricks you have learned that may benefit someone else.
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