Online marketing has greatly evolved over the years – and no more than in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic forced both businesses and consumers to shift what they were still doing offline, to online and to social media. A solid social media strategy and leveraging social media to grow your business – large or small – is essential to long-term success.
Long gone are the days where businesses relied on door-to-door marketing to find customers. Then print, radio, and TV advertising came into play and recent studies show over 75% of traditional advertising spends are being shifted to online with many print magazines ceasing their printed versions to go strictly online.
The growing marketing and sales strategy has been and will continue to be social media marketing – but how to best utilize your marketing time with new social platforms popping up it seems every few months – requires a social media strategy that speaks to your target market at the platforms they use most.
Over 90% of consumers worldwide participate in social media in some form with 2.1 billion people also citing that they do or intend to make purchases based on social media in 2021 and beyond.
So how do you establish a solid social media strategy that generates engagement and leads? Follow this simple plan to get started with social media marketing:
- Define your goals and target customers. Goals are always important because they make you think about where you are and where you eventually want to be.
– What are your goals? Are you trying to drive more customers to your website? Do you want to boost the presence of your brand? Are you trying to share coupons and special offers? Do you want to communicate more with your customers? Are you trying to market and sell products directly?
– Once you set some specific, measurable goals, decide on how you want to prioritize them and put processes in place to reach the goals. In my book, The Bosslady Bible, I discuss how to focus on processes over goals for maximum productivity.
– Know your audience. Your marketing will be different if your typical customer is a 23 year-old single male than it would be for a 35 year-old mother.
– Remember to focus on the platforms that your target demographic use most. For example, Facebook is popular with women. Snapchat is popular with younger adults. Men over 30 are not an active group on Facebook, but are active on Twitter.
- Know the different media platforms. Become an expert and learn about the available platforms. Figure out which platforms will reach the audience you are seeking. Choose wisely to maximize the use of your time and money. In my course, Ready for Launch, we review and analyze which social platforms are best for your business, however here’s a quick overview:
– Facebook. As mentioned, Facebook is big with women and older adults. A Facebook page is free and easy to set up and advertising on the platform is both cost-effective and can get fantastic results. You can now also create a store directly on Facebook where fans can shop for your products without ever leaving Facebook.
– LinkedIn. You’ll mostly find business professionals and entrepreneurs here. Again, it’s free to join and terrific networking platform.
– Twitter. While Twitter became the political hotspot in the last few years, in general Twitter users are mostly educated, young adults who are voracious news consumers. If you’re a business to business brand, you can have success on Twitter however it’s also a place for niche conversations on most topics. The key is to build a solid following on Twitter and continually provide content, engage and share relevant information.
– Instagram. A visual platform that has literally exploded as far as how consumers find products and services they are interested in. Through visual story telling – photos and videos – you can now have “shoppable posts” where fans can buy directly from your posts. Instagram is a hub for influencer marketing as well – which when done right and explode your following and sales.
– TikTok. Once popular with young teens, in 2020, Gen X and Gen Z became very active on TikTok and it can be extremely effective for businesses and brands to show off a lighter side of your brand and create engagement.
- Get your content figured out. Develop a plan for your content. Figure out the type of content you’ll use and how frequently you’ll post it.
What type of content will you post? What format will you use to share your content? Written posts? Videos? Audio files?
– Determine the frequency. Then be reliable and consistent. The more frequently you post content the better, provided the information is relevant to your customers. Set a schedule and stick to it. Tools like Buffer and Hootsuite allow you to schedule content in advance so you aren’t always scrambling for post ideas. If you sign up for our free newsletter, every month we’ll give you a content calendar of ideas for engaging content to post.
- Create your actual presence. After choosing your platforms and creating your content plan, it’s time to get busy building your online presence.
– You don’t necessarily have to have a presence on ALL social platforms! Only create profiles that you will use. Maximize your time by only choosing platforms where you’ll regularly add content and where your target audience is most active.
– Create a full, complete profile on the platforms you will be active on. Take the time to make your company look professional and remember to include links. Tools like Tap.bio and Later.com also you to go beyond linking to just your website. For example, on our Instagram profile, we use Buffer’s Shop Grid to provide relevant links.
– Get out there, follow, and connect with others. Avoid setting up accounts and then forgetting about them. Participate in the online communities. If you want people to follow you, follow them first.
– Be reactive. If someone makes a comment or asks a question, respond! Setup alerts so you are notified about new followers, comments and more.
- Maintain, maintain, maintain. It’s important to stay on top of social media. Spending a few minutes to log on each day is a great idea. Follow a few new people or make a comment on someone else’s profile each day. Also, ensure your content is posted on schedule.
Creating a social media presence isn’t difficult, but it takes some time and planning. Complete the necessary research before you begin building your presence. Your time will be well spent, and the results can be significant. It’s important to be consistent, give your followers meaningful content on a regular basis.