Marketing in 2019 is harder than ever. With uncertainties in the economy leading to a longer route to sales; concerns over data security and constant scaling of quality output; it takes more than a few social media messages to make an impact. While an integrated approach is vital, so is cutting through the noise and making your audience listen up.
This guide will go through your overall approach to social media marketing and delve into a few of the nitty gritty details you should be considering. Now grab a coffee (or something stronger) and get your checklist ready to ensure you’re using this in your marketing going forwards.
Social Media usage 2019
Almost everyone is using social media these days, 3.484 billion in fact. That’s an increase of 9% on last year (We Are Social) and represents 45% of everyone on the planet. Furthermore, it is expected that 91% of businesses are using social media for marketing purposes (Statistica). No surprise there given the huge return on investments that can be seen across the board, with companies reaching a large audience, gaining both leads and sales at a low cost.
So, we’re here to guide you along the path to delivering successful social media campaigns, with a strategy that captivates your audience, amplifies brand loyalty and leverages those all-important sales.
360 approach to social
Firstly, ask yourself what does success look like from your social media output? Of course, engagements are key but social media is so much more than that. The answer to this question lies in what your overall objectives are; be it brand awareness, sentiment or sales. These objectives should be aligned with your overall marketing objectives and be integrated with your wider business strategy.
Once you know what you’re aiming for, you can implement different social media strategies according to your objectives, create content that addresses these needs and measure your performance (yes, regularly) to ensure you are delivering against the goals you set out to achieve.
Some of the particularly useful metrics that we like to focus on include reach, engagement rate (with a greater focus on organic) and mentions.
Reach measures the number of individual people who see your post, a great measure of awareness, however it doesn’t necessarily mean that people will have consciously noticed your post.
Engagements and engagement rate measure the amount of meaningful interactions and the percentage of this compared to your reach. If people see your content, you sure hope that that like it and interact.
Finally, mentions – tagged and untagged isn’t something that you can directly control but, they indicate the frequency that people are talking about your brand. This can be affected by other marketing channels and activity, but if people know you are active on social media, they will more likely mention you. More mentions mean greater exposure.
Tips and tricks to producing quality social media content
Now lets talk tactics. Posting on a consistent basis is essential considering the life of a post is between a few hours to a few days maximum. More importantly than that is posting quality content over quantity. When we perform social media audits, these are some of the things we would be looking for.
Tip #1 Keep it varied but keep it consistent
Oh I love an oxymoron! There is method to this madness in that content should be varied as you shouldn’t be pushing out the same types of messages, or your audience will get bored! This can be addressed by utilising themes and content pillars that are meaningful to your brand to ensure that you talk around key topics and features. For example, if you are a sportswear brand, talking about sports, your product and brand shouldn’t be your only focus. Your target market is interested in other things too, lifestyle and diet might be another angle to discuss and in doing so, you will be delivering valuable content. That’s the stuff that makes them want to come back for more!
Tools you might want to explore to help with this include Buzz Sumo and Answer the public. Another alternative is looking at good old fashioned Google search results. Using these tools will help you gauge what topics people are interested in…an almost sure-fire way of securing engagement and ensuring relevance.
Another thing to mention here is don’t fall into the trap of being too sales focussed. There is nothing worse than a company who can’t stop talking about themselves…Educate, yes. Dictate, no. Stick to the 80/20 rule and you won’t look like you can’t help but constantly blow your own trumpet.
Other ideas to keep your posting diverse but relevant are:
- Share other people’s content – your messages don’t always have to be directly from you
- Ask questions or run polls – this might include Q&As on B2B channels such as Google hangouts and Twitter. It’s also worth trialling this on more B2C channels including Reddit, Instagram and Facebook posts and stories.
- Vary your call to actions – ask for your link to be read, comments or shares
- Link to guest posts – providing further information might be of interest
- Engage with influencers – different faces help to keep things fresh.
- Use fun activations – it is social media after all!
Keeping it consistent relates to the fact that while your messages should be varied, they should also be on brand. Maintaining your tone of voice across your marketing output is vital in establishing your brand personality, something you want people to recognise you for. Innocent do this superbly well with their light, friendly tone. Not only does this reflect their brand, it encourages people to like them that much more because the way they talk is more akin to that of somebody they know. Not a company who is seemingly focussed on encouraging you to part with your money…even if they are…every company is!
Tip #2 Give something back
If you really want to drum up some excitement and consequential engagements, games, competitions and giveaways are always going to be a winner. People love an opportunity to win or show off so give them the opportunity to do so and help them to help you leverage your brand.
It’s worth saying that competitions are getting more difficult to see success from with the social algorithms quashing brand posts even more so when they include competition related keywords, but that is a whole different topic that we can go into at another time. Little tip? Spend a little money on advertising and you’re usually forgiven.
Thinking back to keeping your marketing integrated, consider the wider integrations you can both leverage and have an effect on. For example, your competition could be supported by a series of emails and PR. Similarly, your competition could include a sign up on your website to grow your mailing list or, you could keep it simple and keep it on the one channel. Again it all goes back to what your objectives are.
Tip #3 Make it pretty
Long gone are the days of text only posts. With dwindling attention spans and social platforms even publicising the fact that they leverage great creative - yes that means video if you’ve got a good one, aesthetically pleasing posts are essential. Fortunately there are many apps and features out there that can help you with everything from your photos and videos, to your fonts and emojis.
Some free apps to try are:
Of course in an ideal world you would have a photographer, videographer and team of graphic designers to assimilate all your brands desires (cough, we’re here!) but if not, these tools should help you on your way.
Tip #4 The little things count
What you say, how you say it and how you present it is all very important, but don’t stop there. To gain the best reach for your posts, pay attention to all the little nuances that increase the reach of your posts.
First and foremost, don’t reuse old content. Social platforms will know and they will hinder the reach of your posts. Glad we got that out of the way.
Do make sure you are always implementing relevant tags within your posts. These include:
These are mostly used on Instagram, but Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have a place for them too. As a rule of thumb, don’t go overboard here and just use one or two – a branded one and a key topic is usually enough. As for Instagram, take full advantage of the 30 limit on posts and 10 on stories. These will allow your post to be seen with other posts and stories using the same tag. How do you choose the right hashtags to use? Research! Consider those that are relevant to your post and use a variation of mixed popularity tags. Your content can easily get lost when using very popular hashtags so consider niche and less popular ones too. This will give you a better chance of being seen in Instagram’s Explore section and appearing at the top of post feeds.
Use the @ symbol with another user or brands name notifies them and their audience of your post. If they like it, they might just share it…winning!
These work similarly to hashtags, making your post discoverable to that location. If this is a particularly popular place that people visit to find out what to do or what to expect, you might find your post resonates well with them which can work wonders for your engagements.
Tip #5 It’s not all about posting
Earlier we talked about how social isn’t all about you and how this is a two way relationship. Community management forms a large part of social media management and is one that we are passionate about. This isn’t just about best practice, this is logic. Spend time cultivating relationships and not only will your audience be more engaging with you, they’ll like you more (providing you do your job well) meaning better brand sentiment and higher sales prospects.
You can engage in conversation by responding to your community, sparking conversation and jumping in on wider conversations. This is all actively encouraged by social media platforms with Facebook promoting moving conversations over to messenger. Word on the street is they will amplify your post according to the amount of messenger conversations it generates (similar to how the algorithm works with reactions, comments and shares).
To take this to the next level, and because we all want to know what people really think of us, consider using social listening tools. Hootsuite, Brand 24, Mention and Google Alerts are all great choices here.
Now how full is your notepad?! Hopefully there are a good amount of take away’s here to get you started. We’ll be releasing further blogs soon to get into some of the deeper details of the topics we’ve discussed here but this should be a good start. Remember your overall aims and implement the tactics to make the most of your actions. It’s all about quality these days and you need to take the time if you’re going to stand apart from everyone else.
There's a lot that goes into running Social Media accounts successfully and this can be a strain on time, money and personnel resources. If you're looking for help running your company/brand's Social Media, get in touch!