Turbo-Charge your Business with Social Media Marketing
Business Head – HGSi
In this, fifth piece of the series Think Digital with Sachin Karweer, the author discusses everyone’s favourite buzz word, Social Media Marketing.
Read on – Umanath V, Editor – tvnews4u.com
We know that the fundamentals of marketing have changed in this digital age. Social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and blogs make it almost effortless businesses to reach a potential audience of millions.
The Who, What and Why of SMM
Social media is a boon brand equity, customer loyalty and can be used to amplify the performance of any business. It provides businesses with an effortless, fast and high-impact way of enhancing their brand’s online visibility, promoting their products and services, bolstering the image of their brand and strengthening ties to their most ardent customers. On the other hand – in our case, this the consumer – social media offers liberty and personal empowerment by enabling users to share their own brand stories, experiences and thoughts about everything vehicles to cosmetics. This creates a diverse community that interacts with each other, providing endless opportunities to engage and interact directly with the consumer.
Now, let’s add to this the fact that the influence of social media is ever-expanding with more people joining online communities every day. The statistics are astounding. Facebook adds 500,000 new users every day; 6 new profiles every second. Twitter is visited by 500 million people each month without logging in. There are 400 million Monthly Active Users on Instagram. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, processing more than 3 billion searches a month and 100 hours of video being uploaded every minute. So, are you convinced of the power of reach that Social Media can expose your brand to?
The Formal Introduction to SMM
Countless Google searches are taking place every day. However, if people haven’t heard of your brand, they’ll never discover the value of your product or service. This is where social media marketing steps in. Also known as SMM, it is form of internet marketing that implements various social media networks in order to achieve marketing communication and branding goals.
To go into more detail, it covers activities like social sharing of content, videos, images and paid social media advertising. Social media and marketing is a tool that develops and sustains customer engagement which has been found to influence buying behaviour. SMM works well pull-marketing strategies, providing information, values, ethics, knowledge of products and service offerings.
The number of outlets social media marketing is staggering. There is a wealth of platforms like blogs, social networks, social bookmark sites, social pinning sites, social curating, social media sharing sites and social resume sites. Here, it is crucial to understand that no single platforms is going to be the best one your social media marketing activities. Research shows that potential customers use more than one platforms. The question that arises then is where to focus?
The Importance of Selecting the Correct platforms
What I have observed in these many years of working with digital is that it is not possible to market on every social platform with the same amount of effort. The answer most brands is to market on a few social platforms where your customers contribute the most and have lighter presences on other platforms.
To begin with, you can look at audiences with whom your brand wishes to interact, platforms that have the highest levels of engagement and where users are most likely to make their purchase decisions. There are several tools out there to help you understand user engagement and understand their social media usage.
Let me give you an example, consider you are a B2B solutions provider and your customers seek advice others on LinkedIn but they also happen to spend more time on Facebook. In such a scenario, LinkedIn would be a better place to practice social media marketing as they are making their purchase decisions there.
You need to discover social platforms that match your customer’s demographics and are locations of influence as far as your product category is concerned. You also need to be flexible and modify your social media marketing campaigns based on the current trends, analytics and depending on the migration of customers on the platforms
The Social Media and CRM Relationship
Social media is a pivotally important channel in the area of customer relationship management (CRM). These days, when customers want to express gratitude, ask a question, lodge a complaint or provide any feedback, they don’t pick up the phone. They voice their thoughts on the brand’s social media pages. And your business, as a brand, needs to be ready to interact and engage with these valuable customers. Thus, you can see the close relationship SMM shares with CRM and how one aids the other to create an interconnected environment that cultivates communication with targeted customers.
The Power of UGC and Crowdsourcing on SMM
Let me remind you, not only are users joining social platforms in large numbers, they are directly contributing to it too. UGC (User Generated Content) is the lifeline of social and the proof is in the pudding, successful social media campaigns are garnering attention all corners of the world, and all it takes is an internet connection and a social media account to start something that has the potential to go viral. New buzz words and apps are flooding the digital landscape: Snapchat, sentiment monitoring and location tagging. More consumers are connected than ever bee and it is a wasted opportunity if your company is not engaging them on social media.
Every social network has a reputation, which means that you have to ensure that your brand is aligned well with it while marketing on it. Social media marketing is not a gimmick but a long-term investment. It has the power to engage when implemented right. Dell has tapped the power of social media with its immensely popular IdeaStorm website. Users add ideas new products and enhancements give their vote and comment on submissions. It has added community support too and ships computers with Linux installed. Let me give you another example. Starbucks initiated a crowdsourcing platforms called “My Starbucks Idea” in 2008. It is one of the first corporate brands to utilise social media engagement. It was a runaway victory owing to its innovation and customer feedback. In its first year, it generated over 70,000 ideas directly consumers, and now that eight years have passed, the site has truly remarkable figures: over 190,000 ideas submitted, approximately 300 of which have been acted upon and brought to life by Starbucks.
Using social media marketing can enable any business looking to further their reach. It is imperative that marketers have a strong social media marketing plan and presence on the web to tap their customers’ interest. If implemented correctly, I believe marketing with social media can bring any business remarkable success.
Getting started without any insight or any previous experience can be tricky. Here’s how you can go about with social media marketing to grow your business:-
- Chalk out a carefully developed plan aligned with your goals
The best social media campaigns start with a plan. It should be specific to your campaign, but it should also fit into your overall social media strategy. Bee beginning any marketing campaign, you need to define your goals as clearly as possible. You need to have a clear idea about what you wish to achieve at the outset of a campaign to make it easy to measure and analyze your results. Your social media campaign can have multiple goals with different objectives. Each goal you select should be tailored your business’ needs. The campaign has to be a good continuation of your brand’s existing social voice and style. To develop your plan, you need to begin with research. Do a thorough analysis of your existing social followers across your networks, analyse your competition and identify areas improvement. Once you shortlist your social media sites, the next task is to develop a plan to use this platforms to your advantage. Remember that different social networks exist different purposes, so when choosing, ensure to pick one that best fits your business needs. If you wish to target the Millennials, you can go on Instagram and Facebook but you won’t find many Gen Xers or Baby Boomers on Instagram.
You need to research recent campaigns in your industry to see which existing trends you can leverage and understand where your target audience spends the most time. It is necessary to allocate your budget and resources once you decide what kind of campaign you plan to run on the social networks you choose. It is important to include whether your campaign requires any paid social efforts or if you plan to rely on organic tactics and owned media. Once you have researched your idea, decided on an appropriate budget and sketched a plan your social media campaign, create your dream team and assign clear-cut roles to them. The final steps of your social media campaign strategy should be to identify the metrics you will use to measure the ROI of your campaign. In order to achieve this, you’ll need to outline and define your campaign’s goals — which are the next component of a great campaign.
- Promote your brand through cross-channels
The best social media campaigns on social media are supported on a number of channels. Promoting your social media campaign across additional channels is beneficial. It works as a reminder those you reach out to and those who aren’t active on social media. Reaching different people at different times across several marketing channels increases the chances of your campaign’s success. Remember not to overwhelm your existing consumers or be a nuisance to potential ones with too much information at the same time. Mentions and gentle reminders to your target audience across a number of touch points ensures better results than a social media campaign that’s only promoted on your social network of choice.
- Conduct a thorough analysis
When it comes to analyzing the success of your campaign, you’ll be grateful that you figured out the key metrics associated with your goals much ahead of time. It is not difficult to benchmark your progress against your initial starting point. Evaluating the engagement metrics specific to your business is crucial.
Using these three components as the tenets of your next social media campaign will help you achieve your long-term business goals.
Studies show a higher number of social media followers tend to improve trust and credibility in your brand. As per Hubspot, 92% of marketers in 2014 claimed that social media marketing was essential their business, with 80% indicating their efts increased traffic to their websites. As per Social Media Examiner, 97% of marketers are currently participating in social media—but 85% of participants aren’t sure what social media tools are the best to use. This shows that there is a lack of understanding on how to go about it.
Here are ways I think in which you can optimise your social media marketing campaign:
1.) Identify the right keywords
The foundation of marketing is built on keywords. It involves everything ensuring that your profiles have the right keywords including your brand name, product name and service name. It is not rocket science. All you need to do is put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think like them.
2.) Promote your brand on social networks
If you haven’t already, creating a Facebook Group to promote your brand or services is a great idea to improve your visibility and expand your reach. Oreo has a great reputation creative social media marketing. Their genius tweet “you can still dunk in the dark” became a viral sensation and garnered huge exposure during the Super Bowl blackout in 2013. Let me give you another example to illustrate my point. This year, in April, Burberry became the first luxury brand to run a 24-hour native Snapchat-Discover-channel ad promoting the company’s new Mr. Burberry fragrance featuring an exclusive short Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen. It received almost 300,000 views on YouTube.
3.) Build connection with your fans and followers
An important element of any social media marketing campaign is to connect with your followers and fans. By presenting a friendly face of your business, it is more likely that you draw in more fans and potential customers than you would just by talking about your product. Don’t ignore your clients – embrace them by connecting with them on social networking websites.
4.) Take advantage of content curation sites
Curated and original content is what builds the SEO of your website, keeping your prospects coming back. I think it is the perfect solution to the problem of content discovery online. Pinterest catalogs products, images, photographs, where members can click and learn about things that are similar to their pre-stated interests. It can help grow audience, increase web traffic, sales figures, and the company’s visibility to consumer.
5.) Weave the three-letter word – SEO into your marketing strategy
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is what social media gurus swear by. It makes websites or articles easier to find on online search engines, improving their search engine ranking and getting the web traffic rolling.
6.) Master the art of blog marketing
Using a blog, you can establish yourself as experts in your industry. A blog functions as your company’s social homepage. Blog marketing can be a highly effective way of increasing your reach and sales figures. It does not stop at just creating and writing a blog. You also need to promote your blog and the next step is to hit social networking sites right away.
7.) Get started with social bookmarking
Social bookmarking is also interchangeably referred to as folksonomy, social tagging collaborative tagging, social indexing and social classification. Most viral sharing begins on websites like Reddit, StumbleUpon, Mashable, Delicious and Digg. Using smart social bookmarking campaign can lead thousands of people to visit your website. What this means is that people who come to your website are interested in what you say, what you offer or what you sell on your website. This can make a huge difference in the popularity of your site and profitability.
8.) Pay attention to trending topics
Keeping track of trending topics on Google and Twitter can be a highly efficient way to increase your sales and visibility online. You can post something about a trending topic if your website or products are related to it. And even if it isn’t, there is still a huge opportunity to earn media through Piggyback marketing. Let me tell you how. When Real Madrid was negotiating to buy Gareth Bale 86 million pounds, Innocent Drinks published what other things you could buy the same amount of money, including their own smoothies. This piece of marketing was favourited 1,494 times and had 4,910 retweets.
9.) Stream video promotions
One study found that viewers spend 3 times more time watching live videos than videos that aren’t broadcasted live. Streaming video promotions on websites such as YouTube can be highly effective in promoting business as well. Facebook Live video allows businesses to broadcast videos to their audiences in real time their smartphone devices. You can see the number of users watching and users can comment on the video in real time. One can also comment directly while the video plays. YouTube lets you show off your products, explain the services you offer and present a friendly face to potential customers.
10.) Network with other professionals
Another important element an effective social media marketing campaign involves is networking with other professionals as they can provide insight and solid knowledge. I think making connections likes these can help increase your sales tremendously.
Community interaction, promotions and marketing campaigns are the fascinating aspects of social media – the stuff that happens in the bright glare of the spotlight. The unglamorous, backstage work of operations management: solid strategy, budgets, staff and damage control makes it successful. It takes same discipline, structure, allocation of resources and cycle of continuous improvement to make social media marketing a success. Are you up it?