Your morning likely starts with coffee and a side of Facebook. Social media has become the buffet we all visit for news, gossip and keeping up with friends. Businesses are increasingly moving away from traditional advertising outlets and focusing on digital marketing, with cost and targeted reach being key decision-making factors. If you feel like your social media strategy amounts to nothing more than yelling into a black hole, perhaps it’s time to take a closer look at what you’re doing. Your audience is out there, but how do you get your message in front of the right people? And more importantly, how do you make your message matter?
An effective social media strategy includes effective messaging targeted at the right audience. Here are some tips to help you stand out in the crowd and get noticed:
Define Your Audience
Chances are, whatever you’re selling, it’s not for everyone. The label may say “ages 3-93,” but let’s be realistic, three-year-old’s aren’t holding the purse strings. Your target audience actually has some tighter parameters. One of the advantages of social media marketing is the ability to closely target the exact audience you’re looking for (location, demographics, income brackets, etc.). If you’re just starting out and your product or service doesn’t translate beyond your local market, then zero in on a local audience. Perhaps you’re offering a service for senior citizens; no need to include teens in your targeted group. Picking and choosing the right demographics allows you to spend money where you’ll get the most bang for your buck.
Know Which Channels Work for You
Once you’ve defined your audience, you need to figure out where to find them. The list of social media platforms is always growing. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube and TikTok all offer different demographics and parameters. Invest time in all or just a few, depending on who you want to reach. If you’re working with limited resources, test out your reach on a few platforms with a small spend and see what works better. Allocate a larger portion of your budget to proven performers.
Marketing is about making connections. Take your social media strategy beyond stock photos and premade graphics. (People know a stock photo when they see it!) Tell your story in a way that is relatable to your customers and consider using real photos of your company and the people in it. Sharing the origins of your company, relating to the community, and highlighting the personal stories of employees can all humanize your company. Getting to know the faces behind the company name adds a sense of relationship and builds trust. Plus, it gives your employees a moment to shine in the spotlight.
Make the Most of Your Content
Engage, engage, engage. Create content that people want to see. Good photography is eye-catching, and the split-second someone stops to look at a great picture could make or break a potential sale. Social posts need to be optimized for word count and keywords so that your message gets delivered strategically.
Build a Relationship
It’s important to understand that not every sale happens on the first try. By maintaining a consistent quality in messaging, you’re establishing your place in the consumer’s mind. They’re getting to know you and recognize you.
Review Your Stats
Don’t just throw the spaghetti at the wall – look at what sticks! Where are you finding engagements? Learn how to interpret the statistics and see what your audience is responding to. Perhaps they prefer a certain platform. Maybe video clips do better than graphic images. Are you performing better in Houston than San Antonio? Whatever the results, check to see how they align with your goals and, of course, adjust as necessary.
Add Audio and Video
Posts are far more dynamic and likely to gain engagement when they include appropriate music or video. Multimedia posts are eye catching and allow you to educate and entertain. You don’t need to go viral for your videos to pay off, but the right imagery and tone can lead to followers and sales. Professional-quality videos can be a significant investment, but these days, most videos for social media can be done at little to no cost with a good phone and an editing app.
Encourage Engagement and Feedback
Acknowledge your followers by responding to comments, questions or concerns. Give thanks and recognize positive feedback. Remember this is a public platform, and potential followers will read comments and see how responsive you are. Negative feedback needs to be addressed promptly and politely, and more detailed issues should be taken offline and handled directly. You might also consider building a community forum on your website where your followers can interact, provide support or share ideas with each other.
Add Professionals to Your Team
Navigating through the sometimes-stormy seas of social media strategy can be challenging. If you need help steering the ship, the professionals at Mad Hat Maven Creative can help. Our teams can create detailed plans for your digital marketing, PR and social media strategy. Contact us for more information.