Social Media, social media, social media! There’s plenty of things we cannot live without in life and for sure, social media is one of those things at the moment (well, at least for a major part of the population). A good post on Instagram, some (sometimes quite a lot) time of surfing on Facebook, going through Twitter and Reddit threads is something all of us do through the day. There is so much going on in the world, it has become really difficult to keep a tab on everything and well, social media is a way of doing that nowadays and there is no one who can deny that.
One of the other things of today is that even marketers cannot stay without social media. It has become a very essential part of their marketing strategy. In fact, it has become so important that agencies and marketing teams cannot flip a strategy and go forward with it without adding a good chunk of social media marketing to the entire strategy. It has taken such prominence in the marketing strategy nowadays that there is no missing out on it if you are a marketer as there is so much to do on all the different social media platforms.
Overlook of social media marketing
Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms to connect with your audience to build your brand, increase sales, and drive website traffic. This involves publishing great content on your social media profiles, listening to and engaging your followers, analyzing your results, and running social media advertisements. The major social media platforms (at the moment) are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat. There are also a range of social media management tools that help businesses to get the most out of the social media platforms listed above (more on that later).
However, social media comprises more than just Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. There are so many different social media platforms that you need to know about in order to create the best social media strategy, that all the information you get is considered less at this point in time.
Facebook: Facebook is the biggest social media site around, with more than two billion people using it every month. That’s almost a third of the world’s population! There are more than 65 million businesses using Facebook Pages and more than six million advertisers actively promoting their business on Facebook, which makes it a pretty safe bet if you want to have a presence on social media.
Instagram: Instagram is a photo and video sharing social media app. It allows you to share a wide range of content such as photos, videos, Stories, and live videos. It has also launched IGTV for longer-form videos, which has become a success among brands and artists alike. As a brand, you can have an Instagram business profile, which will provide you with rich analytics of your profile and posts and the ability to schedule Instagram posts using third-party tools.
YouTube: YouTube is a video-sharing platform where users watch a billion hour of videos every day. To get started, you can create a YouTube channel for your brand where you can upload videos for your subscribers to view, like, comment, and share. Besides being the second biggest social media site, YouTube (owned by Google) is also often known as the second largest search engine after Google. While as a viewer you might find the ads on YouTube to be irritating, as a marketer it is one of your biggest social media platforms to advertise on.
WhatsApp: Initially, WhatsApp was only used by people to communicate with their family and friends. Gradually, people started communicating with businesses via WhatsApp. WhatsApp has been building out its business platform to allow businesses to have a proper business profile, to provide customer support, and to share updates with customers about their purchases. For small businesses, it has built the WhatsApp Business app while for medium and large businesses, there’s the WhatsApp Business API. Here are some stories of how businesses have been using WhatsApp.
Tik Tok: Yes, it is one of the more wildly popular social media platforms in India at the moment. It was the world’s most downloaded app in the first quarter of 2018, beating Facebook, Instagram, and other social media apps. The initial impression was that it looked like Instagram for short music videos. Users can record videos up to 60 seconds, edit them, and add music and special effects. It has recently acquired Musical.ly, a similar music video social network where Coca-Cola once did a successful “Share a Coke and a Song” campaign. And, when Coca-Cola is using a platform to promote themselves, you know it’s a big thing.
Twitter: Twitter is a social media site for news, entertainment, sports, politics, and more. What makes Twitter different from most other social media sites is that it has a strong emphasis on real-time information, things that are happening right now. Another unique characteristic of Twitter is that it only allows 280 characters in a tweet, unlike most social media sites that have a much higher limit. Twitter is also often used as a customer service channel. According to advertisers on Twitter, more than 80 percent of social customer service requests happen on Twitter.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is now more than just a resume and job search site. It has evolved into a professional social media site where industry experts share content, network with one another, and build their personal brand. It has also become a place for businesses to establish their thought leadership and authority in their industry and attract talent to their company. LinkedIn also offers advertising opportunities, such as boosting your content, sending personalized ads to LinkedIn inboxes, and displaying ads by the side of the site.
There are many more social media platforms like WeChat, Sina Weibo, Reddit, Qzone among others that have a lot of popularity but these seven mentioned above along with Snapchat are the biggest social media platforms in India. Now that you know about social media platforms, let’s move onto the strategy side of things.
Social media marketing strategy
At the beginning of this blog, we talked about why social media marketing is such an important part of every marketing strategy nowadays, so we couldn’t really not talk about it. There is no set measure or steps that you can take or rather should follow when it comes to making your social media strategy but we have a few steps that might help you.
Set goals when you begin: The first step to creating a winning strategy is to establish your objectives and goals. Without goals, you have no way to measure success or return on investment (ROI). Make your strategy around goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant to the major things going on in social media at that point of time and are time-bound in nature. It will guide your actions and ensure they lead to real business results. Also, remember to keep tracking your set metrics from time to time, so that you can know whether your strategy is meeting the goals you have set.
Know exactly what your audience wants: Knowing who your audience and ideal customer is and what they want to see on social is key to creating content that they will like, comment on, and share. It’s also critical if you want to turn social media followers into customers for your business. Also, stay away from adding assumptions to your strategy. Social media analytics can also provide a ton of valuable information about who your followers are, where they live, which languages they speak, and how they interact with your brand on social media. These insights allow you to refine your strategy and better target your social ads.
Make an analysis of your competition as well: Odds are, your competitors are already using social media and that means you can learn from what they’re already doing. A competitive analysis allows you to understand who the competition is and what they’re doing well (and not so well). You’ll get a good sense of what’s expected in your industry, which will help you set social media targets of your own. This analysis will also help you spot opportunities. Social listening is another way to keep an eye on the competition. As you track competitor accounts and relevant industry keywords, you may notice shifts in the way these channels are used.
Look for inspiration: While it’s important that your brand be unique, you can still draw inspiration from other businesses that are great on social. You can usually find these on the business section of the social network’s website in the form of case studies. These case studies can offer valuable insights you can apply to your own goals for each social network. You can also follow award winning campaigns so that you know what is needed to reach the very top of the social media game today. As a person who uses social media, make sure you follow accounts of various brands, ad agencies in order to stay updated with the work they do. It will help you a lot more than you realize.
Well, to be very honest there is not enough information available on what is a hundred percent right when it comes to creating a social media marketing strategy mainly because of the fact that it keeps on changing at such a frantic speed. All you can do is, study the market well and then go along with your gut instinct.