Maybe you’ve seen Uncle Sam or the Statue of Liberty dancing on a busy street corner, pointing customers toward a tax preparer’s office? Or maybe you’ve seen someone spinning arrows that point to a furniture sale down the street?
If so, you’ve seen an in-person demonstration of social media marketing at work.
In the digital world, social media is our public space, kind of like a sidewalk or a street corner in the physical world. It’s a place away from your business’s website where you can be seen by potential customers. It’s a place to engage with customers during their daily routines.
Of course, your social media marketing plan will require more than an Uncle Sam costume and an employee who’s willing to put it on. Your social media should reflect your company’s values and goals.
You’ll also need to decide:
- What sidewalks to stand on — which social media platforms to engage with?
- What to say — what text, image, video, or audio message will you be sharing?
- How to say it — what is your communication style? Flashy? Subdued? Simple?
- How loud to say it — how often should you post? Do you want to spend money promoting social media content?
Answering these questions might not be as simple as you think.
Social Media Marketing: It Isn’t Always Easy
How hard can it be to post social media content? After all, lots of people do it, on their personal accounts, every day.
This is the mindset some company leaders, especially those who work outside of marketing departments, might bring to the table. This mindset is one reason “social media marketing” can turn into “just another task” on the plate of an already-overworked marketing employee.
In reality, creating and maintaining a social media presence takes longer than many people expect. Successful social media engagement requires deliberate planning, consistent action, thoughtful messaging, and a commitment to clarity. It also requires analyzing results and adjusting strategies as needed.
In other words, it’s not easy, simple, and fast.
Five Steps to Help Your Company Grow on Social Media
When companies struggle to establish a consistent social media presence, their campaigns tend to generate mixed results — or no results at all.
When social media delivers subpar results, the overworked marketing employee may be tempted to push social media tasks to the end of the day and then complete them as quickly as possible, just to check the box and maintain appearances. This makes the campaigns even less effective.
We get it. A lot of companies have this problem. These fundamentals can help your social media marketing generate results.
Step 1: Start with Strategy
Before deciding how to handle social media, it’s best to place social media into the context of your company’s broader marketing goals — and within the context of your company’s overall culture.
Where does social media fit into your organization strategy? What specific goals should it help the organization meet? Without answering these questions, you’ll never be able to accurately evaluate your marketing approach or prioritize your efforts.
The answers to these, and other, strategic questions should help you decide which social media platforms to use, how to use them, and how much time and money to invest in them.
Step 2: Know Your Market
Doesn’t it seem like there’s always a new social media platform and that everybody else has already started using? A lot of marketing departments feel this way. So they, instinctively, open an account on every new platform that comes along. Why not? They’ll share the same content on every platform anyway.
But different platforms need different versions of your company’s message. It’s better to choose the best platforms for your company in your market and to work hard on producing content that works best on those platforms.
How do you choose which platforms to use? Check your audience. Find out what platforms your audience uses and focus on those. If you want to reach a new market or expand your customer base within a certain audience, pay special attention to where they spend time online.
At 3Fold Digital we study social media trends across generations and other segments of the market. If you’re not sure where to target your efforts, we can help.
Step 3: Create Limits
It’s tempting to start off at a sprint, posting constantly on all the platforms. Don’t do this. You need a publishing schedule you can consistently maintain. One post a week is far better than five posts this week, one the next, and two the week after, and none for a couple weeks.
Create a consistent schedule and stick to it. We recommend starting with fewer postings than you expect you can produce. Complications will come up. And if they don’t, you can always add more content to your schedule.
Step 4: Make Your Messages Goal Specific
If you’re not sure what action you want potential customers to take after seeing your post, the potential customers won’t know either. Some businesses skip this step, thinking that being seen on social media is enough. It’s not. You want to be seen sharing a message that’s targeted to a specific goal.
Are you having a big sale? Hiring a new employee? Adding a new line of products? Expanding into a new market? Your posts — whether they’re videos, static images, text, or some combination of these — should invite your audience to take an action, even if that action is to simply become more aware of the services you offer.
Look at every sentence you write or plan to say or at every image you plan to share. Every detail should have a role in achieving the post’s goal.
Step 5: Track Intentionally
Remember that strategy you started with back in Step 1? You need a way to evaluate how well you’re achieving those goals. Determine the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your goals and regularly review them.
Most major social media platforms can track how each post performs. This goes deeper than likes and shares. You can also measure impressions — which reflects the number of people who saw your content — and you can see whether visitors to your site came from a social media platform.
You don’t always need an IT degree to track your social media progress: The real measure of success is generating new business through social media. Some companies use surveys to find out the source of new customers. Others might simply ask the customer how they heard about their business. If more people report learning about your business on social media, you’re on the right track.
Need Help Planning and Implementing Your Strategy?
Now you’re all set to launch a great social media marketing initiative for your brand. Good luck!
If you need any help, our social media team — which includes digital and creative specialists — is always ready to help. Let’s talk about whether we’re a good fit.