If you’ve recently searched ‘How to do social media marketing’ you’re not alone! This search is conducted 1,000 times per month according to Google, representing a small proportion of the 135,000 people that search on the more generic term ‘social media marketing’.
And it’s not just Google search trends that are suggesting folks are still struggling with social media marketing (SMM). CIM’s report, ‘The challenges and opportunities facing marketers in 2017’, published in March, identified that while 52% of respondents saw the improvement of digital and social channels as a top priority, only 18% felt confident in being able to do the job effectively.
With customer experience hot on the agenda for 2017, brands need to connect with customers on a more personal, human level. Hellooo SMM!
There isn’t a, ‘one-size-fits-all, how-to-do-social-media-marketing’ guide (if only, right!), so instead, here are some of my top tips that I hope will be useful to those still searching for answers!
- Strategy – why are you doing this anyway?
Your SMM strategy should support corporate marketing and wider business strategies and work directly into these plans, not be viewed as a ‘bolt-on’ or afterthought. While ‘we need to be seen to be doing it because our competitors are’ is fair comment, setting up your SMM around this objective isn’t going to help you with hard metrics.
Look at the short- and longer-term requirements. Do you need multiple strategies to address the differing needs of the business? SMM is the first step on the ladder to social selling – another holy grail worth investigating if you’re looking for marketing to drive lead generation.
- Profile audience – who are your people?
Do you truly know your audience? Understanding audience profiles and buyer behaviour can have a huge influence on how you approach SMM, though be aware that technology has blurred the lines of demographic groups.
While 60% of Snapchat users are undoubtedly millennials, age, race and gender are not always the appropriate markers for categorising target groups of people. Get creative when looking for connections between people, including common threads and interests that can be used in your campaign.
- Audit channels – finding folk!
LinkedIn. Social media or business networking? Either way, LinkedIn and Twitter are very popular channels for use in business-to-business marketing. However, traditional B2B brands such as GE are embracing platforms like Instagram and Snapchat to show interested parties what is happening behind the company curtain and appeal to their B2B audience with a consumer-first approach.
- Content – where’s the value?
Wildfire is skilled at helping brands to find their own narrative. Clients are encouraged to view themes, trends and topics through their own ‘brand spectacles’. This projects the company’s own heritage, behaviour and ambition into the creative planning, translating into a differentiated perception, bespoke content and, ultimately, much more compelling storytelling opportunities.
If you’re struggling to find something that discerns your brand in a crowded market then your company’s history, development, vision, values, staff etc. are a great source. Use them to identify ways to tell the story your way and then own it!
- Content – make it sweat!
Once you have your campaign and content, make sure to sweat those assets. Done correctly, one piece of written material should provide several opportunities to reach and engage your audience across multiple channels. A report can be turned into articles, press releases etc., which can in turn be used for social media posts and tweets. Depending on the client’s content turnover, I’d recommend at least a dozen uses out of each content piece.
- Trust your gut – what would happen if you approached you?
The most successful SMM is authentic. My approach is to be light-hearted, informative and entertaining (with a little bit of cheek thrown in for good measure – that’s just the Northern monkey in me!), using the communication to sell itself.
Given that the tone is representative of the agency as a whole, if someone likes the material I send them, they’re likely to be a ‘Wildfire-type-client’. Applying this theory to your own communications might help to make things easier for the sales team when passing over marketing-qualified leads.
- Paid – how to amplify your content
What?! A PR agency recommending paid advertising? In all honesty, these days a sensible level of paid amplification can do wonders for download numbers, giving them a real boost. Paid content needs to be highly targeted in order to be effective. The ‘spray and pray’ approach won’t work, so save yourself making what could be a very expensive mistake!
- Measurement and analytics – is it working?
‘Big data’ is highly valuable for companies in traditional industries including telecommunications, manufacturing and retail as well as newer ones such as AI and cognitive learning. It’s not without its issues though – it seems even the companies that find big data valuable also find it challenging, with data capture, storage, analysis, sharing, updating and privacy all having to be taken into consideration.
However, for many businesses, Wildfire included, big data isn’t applicable. We simply don’t have the large data sets that are required when looking for useful patterns and insights. Having said that, a relative level of measuring results, data capture and analysis will allow you to make better decisions when looking to improve results. My advice: review it, revise it, repeat it!