There is no doubt that social media platforms are crucial to your online marketing strategy. Because almost anybody with purchasing power is already online, having a solid social campaign exposes you to a wider demographic of potential customers who can also amplify your brand within their own networks.
Given that these platforms are free to use, why then do many businesses — particularly startups and SMEs — struggle with exploiting their social media strategy and campaign to its fullest? The answer seems to lie within the lack, or absence of, a clear content strategy, coupled with minimal time-investment, and being out of sync with the target audience. According to a survey conducted by manta.com in 2017, only 49% of the 4,700+ small businesses polled had a social media account. Of that number, 58% spent less than one hour per week polishing their social media involvement. Smart brands know that it is not enough to just regularly publish content on social media channels.
To get ahead of the pack, you need a real presence and a strong community focus. Read on for our most common bad habits, how to break them, and bring in new traffic and business.
Social media habits to avoid
1. Lacking a defined and engaged target audience
One of the biggest benefits of having a social media presence is that it is a two-way street. It allows you to actively connect with your market and enter into a dialogue. If you simply post and promote, then you’re treating social media as mere advertising space when it can be so much more. You will miss out on creating lasting relationships with people who could be your brand’s influencers, evangelists, and — of course — customers.
2. Overdoing the sales element
Accounts sharing content only about themselves in an effort to see a rapid traffic and sales boost are potentially overlooking more subtle opportunities. To make the most of your network it pays to be in touch with social trends and be part of the discussion by providing insights that reflect well on who you are and what you offer. Otherwise, it’s akin to being in a group where you dominate every conversation by talking about yourself.
3. Relying on automation at the expense of context
Sure, there are plenty of marketing automation tools out there and they are no doubt effective. However, it’s well worth keeping the human aspect of your campaign alive as well. Check in regularly to observe posts which inspire the optimum reactions in your audience and use your findings to influence your future posts. Conversely (but in the same manner), see which posts don’t yield the best response, and use that information to guide your future posts.
4. Spreading your media presence too thin
A social media strategy does not mean having an account on every possible social media channel. In fact, we insist against it for several reasons. Consider some key factors about your target market: who is your target audience and what types of online content do they consume most? Knowing these key facts about your target demographic will allow you to select a primary channel and 2–3 tertiary ones. For instance: choosing a visual platform and regularly posting photos, images, and infographics (Instagram or Pinterest, for example) may warrant the best results for your particular product or service. Failing to select your main platform in a principled manner, and instead choosing based on current trends is a risky strategy that could be costly and time-consuming later.
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Being on every social media site imaginable veers you away from making a genuine and lasting impact on your target market (not to mention the added risk of repeated content and coverage). What channels are the most relevant to your business and where are your customers most active? Most importantly: where can your brand make the best conversions? These are some of the crucial questions to answer before setting up profile pages and social accounts. Finally, consider carefully reviewing social media within your marketing communication strategy. Now is the time to prepare your content marketing and social media strategy and go forward with clear objectives and the tasks to achieve them.
Striking the balance on your social media marketing strategy
Ignore your audience’s needs and expectations at your own peril. For example, if your brand is well-known as a conservative and cautious one, your social media voice must reflect the same. Ideally, the ultimate goal is to establish yourself as an authority within your niche. It does not pay to be popular and go viral online if it risks losing touch with who you are as an organisation, and consequently dilutes your vision, confuses your mission, and misinforms your community. It is very easy to fall prey to the need to get thousands of likes, hearts, thumbs ups, and shares but not at the expense of straying from your brand’s ideals and goals. In addition, it’s time-intensive and exhausting coming up with viral content week after week; time and energy better spent focusing on your brand-strengthening.
It is well worth having the expertise of a social media and content marketing agency on your side throughout your online marketing campaign. They assist with identifying your target market, developing your strategy, launching and managing your social media campaign, and integrating and synchronising it with your operation. With a solid strategy and campaign, you will maximise your brand’s presence, establish your organisation as a credible authority, and set yourself up for the best chance of generating high traffic and conversions from a healthy and valued online community.
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