Social Media Marketing Guide

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Social media is a powerful way for people to communicate and when it comes to your business, having a social media marketing strategy is an important investment of your time and resources.

Using social media as a way to actively engage with customers and drive web traffic should be an essential part of your overall online marketing campaign.

If you are considering a new social media strategy, before you dive in it is important to think about the best way to achieve your goals. Understanding the basics of social media marketing can help you get a head start in learning how to gain more followers and meet specific business goals.

It can take time to build up your social media base but the work you put into this type of marketing can be greatly beneficial for your company.

The Benefits of Social Media Marketing

Benefits of Social Media Marketing

Almost every marketer in business uses a social media campaign to increase brand awareness, find their key audience, create more leads and build relationships with customers.

Social media can become a part of your customer service and community management so that you have a relationship with your customers throughout every step of the buying process.

Benefits of Social Media MarketingSocial media marketing comes with many benefits:

  • Better understanding of your audience through engagement and social interactions
  • The ability to quickly respond to customers
  • Staying ahead of competition
  • Building a bigger following
  • Increasing sales
  • Representing your brand
  • Cutting costs through cheaper types of advertising

The majority of businesses using social media say that it has i ncreased their exposure, site traffic and has given them a boost in sales. Once businesses learn how to develop and implement their social media plan they tend to quickly see a lot of positive results.

Benefits of Social Media Marketing

Creating a Social Media Marketing Plan

When you decide to begin a social media marketing plan it is a good idea to research and consider the best methods to achieving your goals. The first step is to look into social channels and find out where your target audience hangs out the most. You can also look to see where you’re competitors are marketing.

You can determine whether to focus most of your energy on Facebook or Instagram for example depending on your particular audience and what they gravitate to the most. Or if you’re targeting B2B customers you might have better results on Linkedin.

Creating a Social Media Marketing PlanYou need to understand each social channel, how they differ and figure out which ones best complement your website’s sales techniques.

Looking into and researching each channel can help you better achieve your goal of building a larger customer base and steady amount of buyers.

You don’t necessarily need to use every social media channel to reach people.

It is a better strategy to narrow your focus to a network that aligns more closely with your customer base. However, even if you focus on one major social media channel you can still sync up to other platforms to increase traffic.

Creating a Social Media Marketing Plan

Building a Social Community

As you look into different social media websites it will give you a chance to consider your social media goals and what strategies will work best to achieve them.

It can be helpful to r eview your current position on social media and think about what you would like to change to improve your presence online. Your goals should go beyond simply getting more likes or retweets and should focus more on generating leads or increasing web traffic which ultimately help your business the most.

Building a Social CommunityOne of your main goals in social media marketing should be to start the process of building a community for your customers. When you have a community of people who are interested in your content then they are more likely to convert.

You can start building your fan base by asking people to become followers in order to read your content. The important thing is to build your following organically because fans will be more likely to engage with your brand on a regular basis if they choose to become a follower.

Follow UsYou want to give people the option of becoming a follower or not so they don't feel pressured to or forced into subscribing to your content. People that make the decision themselves to follow a brand are more likely to remain customers for a longer period of time.

FacebookAnd finally with community building you can start a Facebook Group that is related to your target demographic. So for instance if you were a consultant looking to work with a specific type of customer you’d start a group and participate in that group.

You can also join already built groups and participate as well. Just do a search for "industry + group" on Facebook and I’m sure you’ll find a group that you can participate in!

Posting Engaging Content

Posting Engaging Content

Using social media can be a great way to developing different channels of communication with your customers. It can help build your email list and provide another outlet to publish content that your email followers might miss.

There are plenty of things to consider when you add content to your social media sites. You need to make sure that everything you post is engaging enough that followers will react and leave comments or share the content with their friends. Interesting content might not always be simply selling products on social media.

Some ideas for engaging content:

  • Posting questions
  • Meme's that inspire your fans
  • Ask your fans to like your post
  • Host a contest
  • Post a how to video
  • Post a funny video
  • Provide helpful websites to your target audience

Story Telling is the best MarketingPeople use these kinds of websites to connect and be social and not necessarily to buy something. Instead of pushing products you should focus on building a relationship by sharing content that is funny, interesting or sparks an emotion for your followers.

You can share more than your own content by reposting things from the community. In social media marketing it is important to act more like a friend than a business so that people will want to stay connected to you.

Another thing you should consider when posting content on social media is the timing of your message. There are peak times when people are more likely to read and respond to your post and researching the best times for your audience will help you get more reactions. Start following companies in your space to see how others are posting.

There are certain formulas and gurus that tell you to post X times a day/week but you’ll need to get a feel for what your audience is looking for. And chances are if you post 3 to 4 times a day that your fans will only see one of these a day or a few a week so we don’t feel that you can over post.

Core Tactics in Social Media

Core Tactics in Social Media

There a number of different tactics that marketers use to get the most out of social media. Some of the tactics are ways to heighten success and allow your content to stay relevant.

HashtagsHashtags can be an important tool in social media marketing because they act as a virtual filing system. It can be helpful to look through your competitors’ hashtags and start to create your own so that your followers can engage with you in a way you can easily track. Try this free hastag tool to create hashtags for your posts.

Another useful tactic is to create conversations and ask questions to engage your followers. You can respond to questions in discussion groups, help solve problems and be active in the online community. Getting involved in discussions help create more brand awareness and shows that you genuinely care about your customers and their experience with your products.

HashtagsUsing content as a way to ask questions of your audience is another great way to keep people engaged and create a conversation. Instead of always broadcasting messages, questions help you understand your customers and address their concerns directly. When you ask questions you can learn what people think about your products or your brand and get people to interact with your social media site. Your social media site can also be a way to provide answers to important questions if you share articles that include useful information or guides that your audience might appreciate.

Internet MinuteOne of the key tactics that most businesses employ on their social media sites is using images as a way to capture attention. When people are scrolling through a social media page they may not take the time to read through a lot of text unless it is accompanied by an image. Content on social media should be easy to scan and attention grabbing with a lot of visual elements. You should make sure to be funny and creative even if some of your content doesn’t line up perfectly with your brand. The important thing is to keep people’s attention with the content they want to see.

Analyzing Data to Improve Your Strategy

Analyzing Data to Improve Your Strategy

As you share your content, make sure to keep track of the results so that you have a better idea of what works and what doesn’t with your specific audience.

TrafficYou can segment your data based on the type of post and measure metrics such as engagement including number of visitors and pageviews, number of shares, conversion rates and leads as well as the value of each post based on customer acquisition cost.

When you gather and analyze data from your social media efforts it will allow you to identify any opportunities for growth and also directly confront any problems that could hinder your success. Data analysis can help make your social media strategy as strong as possible because you can learn how to develop more effective tactics over time.

FascinomaIf you are not getting the results you want you can experiment with posting different kinds of content to see what will fuel the most comments and engagement. Once you get positive feedback you can begin to create custom, branded content that people will begin to recognize and share more often. The more frequently your content is shared the more likely you are to increase your following and build a loyal customer base.

The key to creating a successful social media strategy is being open-minded and listening to your customers. The more you understand your audience and what they want to see the better prepared you will be to generate the kind of content that will grab their attention. Reviewing all the results of your content strategy can help you make adjustments when necessary and avoid losing any existing followers. A successful social media channel can help establish your brand and create an online presence that will translate to more consistent and reliable buyers.

Social Media Guide Case Studies

Below we’ve compiled some great real world case studies. We hope these inspire you to take action and ramp up your social media game.

Mercedes Benz Uses Contest to Gain Visibility on Instagram

Mercedes Benz Uses Contest to Gain Visibility on InstagramOne of the best ways to launch an effective social media campaign is to come up with a challenge for fans to get them more engaged with your brand.

Online contests can be a great marketing tool for large and small companies alike that have specific advertising goals. Mercedes Benz is already a well-known and established brand but they wanted to reach out to a younger audience so they decided to set up a marketing campaign through Instagram.

Best Instagram PhotographersThey hired five of the best Instagram photographers to drive a Mercedes CLA for five days and post photos with the car. As part of the contest, whoever received the most likes through the week would be able to keep the car.

As a result of this campaign Mercedes received:

  • 87,000,000 organic Instagram impressions
  • 2,000,000 Instagram likes
  • 150 new marketing assets (photos taken by top photographers)
  • An all-time high in visits to the Mercedes website,
  • 47 percent of site visitors below the age of 35 (the lowest average age in the history of the brand)
  • Record breaking sales for the CLA

The Mercedes campaign is just one example of how effective contests can be at getting people interested and involved in your company.

Cancer Research Raises Money with No Makeup Selfie

Cancer Research Raises Money with No Makeup SelfieCreating your own unique hashtag is another type of campaign that allows users to get more involved and feel they are participating in something they care about.

The Cancer Research UK company became involved in a campaign that was started by an 18 year old Facebook user that wanted to raise cancer awareness by asking people to post selfies with the hashtag #nomakeupselfie. As her hashtag gained momentum, Cancer Research got on board and posted a photo asking people to donate money to fight cancer along with posting their selfies. Soon the campaign went viral and tens of thousands of people shared the post on social networks. News radio, TV and online articles reported the story and repeated the donation code.

As a result of getting involved in this campaign Cancer Research received:

  • 826,000 Facebook likes
  • New Facebook page ‘No Makeup Selfie for Cancer Awareness’ with 219,000 likes
  • 140,000 followers on Twitter
  • 8 million pounds raised in donations in 1 week
  • 10 more clinical trials that were able to take place

Although this campaign wasn’t necessarily planned by Cancer Research they were able to piggyback off of the original idea and use the popularity of the hashtag for their benefit.

CIL Campaign Reaches Male Audience with Paint Color Naming Campaign

CIL Campaign Reaches Male Audience with Paint Color Naming CampaignSometimes incorporating humor and creativity in an interactive social media campaign can be a great way to get more people interested in your brand. A Canadian paint company called CIL came up with a clever social media campaign that targeted men by asking them to come with their own "manly" names for different paint shades.

One of the reasons CIL ran this campaign was in response to research showing that men are often involved in the purchase and labor of painting but do not particularly enjoy the planning process of home decor. The paint company decided to create a Facebook app that would invite people to come up with their own manly color names for a variety of different shades which led to examples such as beer foam, razor burn, and hockey puck. The amusing campaign gained a lot of attention in the media and created some positive results.

With their naming campaign CIL generated:

  • Over $1,000,000 in earned media exposure
  • 100 million online impressions
  • 10 percent increase in sales
  • 15,000 new paint names
  • 20,000 unique users
  • 15,000 Facebook stories
  • 10 minutes average time spent on the app

CIL was able to reach a wider audience by getting men more involved in their brand and using a memorable campaign to stand out among competition.

World Gym Uses Social Media to Find Brand Ambassador

World Gym Uses Social Media to Find Brand AmbassadorAnother example of a successful social media contest is the campaign run by an iconic fitness brand that has been around since the 1970s. World Gym is a long-standing brand that has recently experienced significant franchised growth as a result of their advertising campaigns including launching a new website, rebranding and creating a social media contest for a brand ambassador.

Their Ambassador Search Program was part of an effort to involve people with the brand by starting a global search for one male and one female ambassador.

World Gym Uses Social Media to Find Brand AmbassadorTo participate in the search, World Gym members were asked to follow the World Gym Global on their Instagram or Twitter and then post a selfie or video of themselves with the hashtag #WorldGymAmbassador. Since people already enjoy posting gym selfies the campaign quickly caught on through social media and the winners were able to enjoy the perks of being an ambassador including starring in a series of videos for World Gym and trips to Vegas and Palm Springs to appear as a spokesperson.

The videos featured clips of exciting plays throughout the season and used text overlays with information in the beginning of the video for the upcoming 2016 MLS Cup event. They targeted the video ads to existing fans of the two teams playing in the event as well as broader soccer and sports fans.

Since the campaign World Gym has:

  • Opened more than 40 new gym locations internationally
  • Opened new gyms in eight different countries
  • Expanded their franchise with 5 new gyms in the U.S.
  • Increased their social media following to 6k Twitter followers and 10k Instagram followers
  • Facebook also so growth during this time since posts on Twitter and Instagram were shared on Facebok as well - Facebook World Gym likes are over 191k
  • Become one of the fastest growing global gym brands

If you need help with strategy or monthly social media management give us a call. We’ve helped companies of all sizes succeed on social media. Call us today at 1-800-932-5421.