Thanks to innovation and evolving user behavior, social media is always changing. New features, platforms, and user trends are constantly challenging how brands get social.
At its core, social media is about creating personalized experiences for your followers. But it can be challenging to know if you’re utilizing social media the right way, especially if you have a small business with fewer resources.
Whether you lack a social media strategy entirely or have been tweeting for years, it’s never too late to assess your social media marketing strategy.
The Basics for Social Media Success
So many companies jump into social media without covering the basics first. While it’s possible to learn as you go, the most successful social campaigns are thoughtful and strategic.
Define your goals
What do you want to get out of your social media? More shares? Clicks to your website?
Clarify your social media goals before you start firing off Facebook posts. Create SMART goals to help you measure your social media success. After all, if you don’t measure your efforts, you don’t know what’s working.
Use the SMART framework to create quarterly and annual goals. Map out a content plan for your social media based on these goals. If your content isn’t serving your goals, revamp it.
Choose the right social platform
But the secret to social media is that you only need to be where your customers are. There’s no sense in building a following on Snapchat if your followers prefer Facebook. This is a duplication of effort that drains your resources.
Know your customer demographics before choosing your social platforms. Instead of taking a broad approach, invest time in one or two social platforms to start, allowing you to concentrate your efforts and to get the most engagement possible.
Focus on engagement over vanity
It’s exciting to see your Facebook live stream get 100 views. Unfortunately, views rarely indicate engagement or any meaningful KPI for your business. Clicks, views, and likes are vanity metrics for social media. They make us feel good as marketers, but they don’t contribute much to our success.
Instead, focus your energy on engagement metrics. These vary by social platform, but comments and shares are the best.
Social media is about being social with your audience. If no one is engaging with your posts, it’s time to reevaluate your content.
Advanced Social Media Strategies
If you really want to excel, you need to embrace more advanced strategies to get the most out of your social accounts.
Research the competition
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with researching your competition. Brands need to know what the competition is doing and saying on social media. It helps you identify trends and protect your brand.
When you look at their social media, get a feel for their tone, text, images, user engagement, and activity. How often do they post? Can you find anything at fault with their strategy? Discover what your competitors do well and identify their weaknesses. This will inform your own content strategy.
Embrace audience empathy
Have you ever been trapped in a conversation with someone who only talks about themselves? Most people would find that annoying, yet a lot of brands do this on social media. Brands talk about their latest products, awards, blogs, and more to get attention.
The trick to social media, though, is not to talk about yourself. Instead, highlight the audience. Social media enables intimate communication with your customers, so you should take this opportunity to start a real conversation. Reply to comments and be present for users. Embrace user-generated content to show that your customers matter.
Stories have a significant impact on human memory. If you want to stand out, stories are the most accessible way to connect on social media. Storytelling is about being real, not crafting an image of what you wish you could be. Your brand is great at something, but that doesn’t mean you’re perfect.
Connect with the emotion and raw message behind your brand. Offer behind-the-scenes peeks at your product or process, stories of the people behind the brand, or stories about industry trends.
The Bottom Line
Are you doing social media right? There’s only one way to tell: You need to audit your strategy using these basic and advanced tactics. Prioritize engagement and the customer experience to do social media the right way.