4 Strategies to Use Social Media in Marketing
With 70% of the U.S. population on social media, social networks are powerful platforms for growing your brand and retaining existing customers. Reportedly, 53% of people who follow brands on social media are more loyal to those brands. Furthermore, social media sites also act as ad networks, as more and more online customers make purchases based on a social media ad.
The fact is, businesses can’t ignore social media. It’s not enough to simply have a social profile for your business, though. You need to be actively engaging on social networks if you hope to leverage their marketing power. Start by following these four tips for using social media in your marketing strategy.
Outline a Clear Social Media Strategy
Like with any marketing strategy, you need to approach social media in an organized way. Without understanding your objectives and your audience, it’s incredibly difficult to get social media to work for you. Outline a strategy keeping the following points in mind:
- Identify your business goals. What are your company’s overall needs, and how will social media help you reach your goals?
- Determine your marketing objectives. How will you measure your successes? For example, if you’re trying to generate sales, how will you measure your sales, and at what point will you consider it a “success?”
- Identify your ideal customer. Who do you want following you on social media? What are their current social media behaviors, and how will you appeal to them?
- Research your competition. What social networks are they on, and how are they engaging their fans?
- Choose your social channels and marketing tactics. Don’t try to be on every network. Choose 2-3 that will provide the greatest return based on your ideal customer. What tactics will you use? For example, will you put out videos on social media? Will you utilize Facebook advertising?
Make Customer Service a Priority
One of the benefits of social media is how easy it is to create a communication channel between you and your customers. However, that means that users’ expectations are high. In fact, 43% of consumers expect a response on social media within 60 minutes.
To improve the customer experience, retain existing customers, and ensure your company’s quality reputation, go above and beyond with customer service. Assign someone on your team to monitor and respond to posts, mentions, and messages. Be sure to respond to both positive and negative feedback. This is especially effective if the conversation is public (rather than in a private message). Responding negatively or not responding at all won’t just lose you that customer; it may reflect badly on your customer service and lose you customers in the future.
Tie Social Media to Other Marketing Efforts
Social media doesn’t stand alone. It works best when it’s integrated into your overall marketing strategy. Let’s look at some examples of how you can do this:
- Link to your social media channels from your website, mobile app, and emails.
- Include your campaign hashtag on television commercials to encourage viewers to join the conversation.
- Use QR codes on printed marketing material to point people to your social media channels. You can also include hashtags or usernames to make joining the conversation easy.
- Include a call to action (CTA) at the end of your blog posts encouraging readers to share the post on social media. Don’t forget to include share buttons on your site.
- Include “Retweet This” links in your email newsletters.
Social media doesn’t have to be the focus of your other marketing campaigns, but it should be integrated.
Gather Specific Metrics for Your Business
Like with any marketing method, you can boost the power of your efforts by understanding your audience. Social media gives you the unique tools to do that. However, only 50% of marketers think social media market research impacts their company while 71% agree that marketing insight is one of the most valuable benefits of social media.
Some social networks deliver these insights for you. For example, Facebook offers “page insights” that tell you which percentage of your fans are male or female, which countries they’re from, and what age they are.
However, you can gather more information from market research companies that take a deeper dive into the data. What online actions are your users taking after seeing your brand on social? Are they going directly to your website? Are they looking up reviews of your product or service on third-party sites? Or, are they are logging off only to log on about a week later and make their purchase? These are the types of questions you can answer with digitally focused market research.
With these four tips in mind, your social media marketing efforts have a greater chance of reaching and grabbing the attention of your intended audience.