Social Media Marketing for 2018 — A Guide for Startups
By Tahir Akbar, Marketing Manager at IQVIS
Can you ignore the importance of social networks in modern marketing? Of course not. Given the growing user base and advertising opportunities available, companies are enthusiastically investing resources in social media marketing.
In 2015, 88% of US companies were using social media for lead generation. That percentage is expected to reach 89.4% this year.
However, there is another side of the story as well.
Despite the fact that 7 out of 10 people are active on social media, businesses are finding it hard to achieve their marketing goals.
According to a digital media survey, a brand’s average engagement rate is only 0.007% on Facebook, 0.003% on Twitter, and 4.21% on Instagram.
A strong presence on social media is vital for modern businesses, but shrinking engagement is also a reality. That doesn’t mean you should ignore social networks; instead, dig a bit deeper and re-energize for a better strategy.
Circumstances are changing and there’s really no such thing as free exposure anymore; paid adverts are the new normal. This is even more serious for startups that are short on funds and have very limited amount to spend on marketing and advertising.
Marketers need to change the way they market on social channels. Here is a 5 step guide on how to improve your social media marketing, ensuring that it’s done effectively and within your available budget.
1. Set SMART Goals:
The starting point of any campaign should be your goals. Most digital marketers fail to determine their channel-specific goals, instead investing in a single broad strategy that leads to failure. You should not plan to achieve leads, traffic, engagement, likes, shares, and follows from a single campaign.
If you set SMART goals, and run a campaign designed to achieve a particular one, success is a sure result. Set a clear goal for your campaign — say, clicks or leads — and calculate results for the same.
2. Avoid Verbosity:
They say brevity is the soul of wit. Twitter’s popularity lies in its brevity and the limitation of 140 characters. A study suggests that Facebook posts with less than 250 characters get 60 percent more engagement than the longer ones. Similarly, Tweets with 110 or less characters get 17% more engagement.
What does that mean?
Today, the scarcest of all resources is ‘time’. People want brief, to-the-point, and striking content. If you have an idea for a longer post, don’t put in a status update; instead, go for a blog or LinkedIn Pulse.
3. Use a Creative Content Mix:
One key success principle for social media success is to have a good content mix. A balanced content mix ensures that people do not get bored of your posts. In this regard, it is a very good idea to make a content calendar with a diverse content mix.
You should also avoid only making text posts. Never ignore the power of visual content.
The following stats tell you why:
- Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets
- 87 percent of Facebook engagement is driven by photos
- Brand’s engagement rate on Instagram is highest: 4.21%
- Facebook photo albums receive 5 times more reach than text
If you’re struggling to develop a good mix of different types of content, consider consulting with a social media marketing agency.
4. Integrate with Offline Marketing
The best marketing strategies target your audience from multiple angles. Just because your goal is into increase your online presence doesn’t mean you should only use online techniques. Look for offline opportunities, as well.
For instance, if you’re a guest speaker at a conference or convention, hand out business binders or leather notepads. Not only does this give you an opportunity to supplement your presentation with additional materials, you can brand them with information about your company’s social media presence.
Be careful not to go overboard when promoting social media in print. Don’t feel like you need to list every single URL connected to your business. Instead, focus on the most relevant ones and be sure to use shortened URLs that are easier to remember.
5. No Free Lunches in 2018:
Facebook has recently changed up their algorithms, which particularly impacted the Pages section. As a result, the organic reach of Pages (i.e. brands) has gone down to just 4 percent of the total audience. That simply means there are no more free lunches (i.e. exposure) on Facebook.
You’ll have to boost your posts or run advertisements to reach a greater audience. Retargeting campaigns are comparatively low-cost but can be highly effective in terms of conversions.
Finally, when you are planning for social media marketing in 2018, make sure you document your strategy. A documented strategy with key stats, KPIs, and best practices in sight leads to good results.
Tahir Akbar is a marketer by profession and writer by choice. He leads marketing at IQVIS, a Software Development Company.