The proliferation of social media has forced marketing strategies to evolve for companies that want to grow their brand. The strategies used today have shifted from a traditional broadcast method of marketing to a more dynamic strategy due to social media. The strategies that were once applied for marketing have been revolutionized from a one way relationship, from business to consumer, to a non-linear approach in some cases, starting from the consumer. Unlike traditional thinking of marketing, the relationship is much more dynamic and is about people to people, instead of the business to business or business to consumer. Social media has not displaced traditional strategies, yet has supplemented marketing to grow the business.
The evolution of social media has enabled brands to understand their customer at a deeper level by using the REALLY framework (researching, engaging, analyzing, listening and learning). Today, brands are on social media, in some cases without even knowing it. Consumers will continue to have conversations about your brand, whether you want them to or not. For a brand to be successful and continue to grow their business it is vital for them to understand social media strategies. By creating content, listening, using analytics, and leveraging and aligning social media with the business and marketing objectives, it is possible for a brand to grow their business.
1.) Create Content
Creating original content on social media is one of the most important factors for customer acquisition. It has been found that brand’s that blog multiple times a day consistently acquire more customers. It is vital to any brand to create original content on social media to entice users to follow your brand on social media sites. Creating content is very important, but more important is to create quality content.
Content creation can be difficult. Some ways to find information on what to write about are to follow industry leaders or influencers on social media. Understand the people that have a lot of clout or high Klout scores and follow their discussions online. Also, follow industry news and white papers. In most cases, your brand is already observing industry information, therefore all that is needed is to pin point the content to expand on and share.
Once you have determined what type of content to create, determine 4 to 5 key words or phrases that you can optimize in your content, specifically your blog. The keywords used should be specific enough that your information will show up for your industry. Also, using synonyms or similar phrases of the keywords will help optimize your content. Why is it important to optimize your content, specifically your blog? It will help your brand show up higher in search engine results, thus creating more brand awareness and grow your business.
Google AdWords has a keyword tool to help determine popular keyword searched. It is possible to find alternative keywords through Google Ad Words. For example, I put into the Keyword Tool- Search for New keyword and group ideas the words “Social media tips” and these were my results:
It is noticeable that social media tips has a number of different variations for keywords and the competition for keywords is high. Moreover, the number of average monthly searches are relatively high as well. Therefore, it is important to determine the right fit for your post.
One more important factor to remember is to always write for your audience. Every time I write a blog post, I will determine 3 things prior to the post: the keywords, the audience and the message. By determining these 3 factors I stay on track, know my tone and consistently write the keywords throughout the blog.
Listening to your users and your competitor’s users provides information on the positives and negatives of your brand. Also, by listening to your community, your influencer’s communities and your competitor’s communities, you can fill the voids that the consumers are voicing on social media. Many brands do not understand the importance of listening on social media to grow their brand.
There are many tools that enable you to see what consumers are talking about on social media. Tools have been created such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck that enable you to observe consumer’s online. Some tips to use these tools to grow your brand are to put in keywords that are associated with your brand, follow your influencer and competitors posts and follow posts or comments to your influencers and competitors.
AT&T has realized the importance of listening to their competitor’s community and has capitalized on their voids.
Recently, one of my students tweeted her negative experience with Comcast and ATTDeals tweeted back with their new promotions. ATTDeals has used tools to find users that are experiencing problems with their competitors and connected with them. It is possible to acquire customers if you are using the correct tools and with the right approach.
3.) Use Analytics
Social media has enabled marketers to clearly understand their target audience’s wants and likes. Unlike traditional media, social media has created an environment that gives detailed information about the user. As mentioned in the “Listen” section, it is imperative to listen and analyze multiple factors about your audience and your competitor’s audience.
Prior to creating any type of social media strategy, SMART objectives must be defined to create focus. Many people say this is the hardest part of the strategy. Using SMART objectives will assist you in evaluating the analytics and determine success of your strategy.
The benefit of social media is that brands can obtain information about their community and use the information to move forward for their best practices. There are many free and low cost social media analytics packages that will make implementing social media efficient. For instance, Social Bro is a Twitter and Instagram analytical software package that provides really great social media metrics. Some of Social Bro’s key feature are: Best Time to Tweet (based on percentage of users online), words, links and hashtag that users are posting about, most engaging posts, keywords in bio, real time active users. Each one of these features helps tailor your post to fit the right customer persona at the right time to help grow your business.
There are many other social media applications that can help acquire users to create growth for a brand. Simply Measured has a number of free tools for analyzing your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Vine and YouTube accounts. Hashtagify.Me gives you alternate keywords to use for a hashtag on various social media sites to grow your brand community online. JustUnfollow has a free version that helps determine who has recently unfollowed you, an automated direct message sent to new followers and keyword finder for growth of your Twitter and Instagram community. Finally, Klout combines all of your social media applications into one tool for measurement. Klout enables you to analyze your influence on social media by percentage of application, clout of post and it helps influencers connect with your brand. These are just a few of the social media analytics applications that can grow your business.
4.) Leverage and Align what you already have
One thing that brand’s do not realize is that they normally have all of the components needed to implement a social media strategy to grow their business. A lot of the content that is used for traditional marketing can be scaled to be used on social media. It has been found that people engage more with content that has a visual component on their posts across all social media. Therefore, if you have compelling pictures your brand is using for traditional, include it on social.
Also, users on social media love to see what is going on behind the scenes. Therefore, take pictures, take videos and post about happenings in the office. The beauty of social media is that it has become much more personal and gives users the ability to see what goes on in an unprofessional manner in the business. People, by nature, are curious and like to learn about information from behind the scenes.
Southwest airlines captured the “hiring “ of a new employee in a short, but funny skit.
Finally, get all of your employees involved. Yes, all of them. From the C-level to the cashier to the customer service representative, include them in the social media plan. Although the marketer’s, IT professionals and financial analysts understand the inner workings of your business, the employees that interact with the customer know the customer. In today’s world, it is all about the customer, therefore involve everyone in your social media strategy. The more people that are talking about your brand will help spread the word to create brand awareness and grow your brand.
One last point to remember, social media is one more marketing channel that will help communicate your message about your brand. To continue to grow your business, it is vital to use the various channels to supplement one another. There should never be strictly a traditional or strictly a social media strategy. Align each channel to assist in the growth of your business!