For many, social media seemed to appear overnight, and therefore somehow gained a reputation of being a fad or unprofitable marketing tool. But the huge potential of social media marketing is now becoming more recognised and social media is shifting from novelty to purpose. With 72% of all internet users now active on social media, and 93% of shoppers buying decisions being influenced by social media, it is impossible for brands to ignore social media’s potential to increase their sales.
Although social media is now a necessary component of most marketing strategies, brands are still making silly mistakes in their approach. Just one ill-timed or insensitive tweet can damage a reputation and waste resources when trying to fix damage, or a hijacked hashtag can gain momentum and even negative press.
The best way to avoid this is to treat your social media as you would any other part of your business - with planning and strategy taking the centre stage. Here are a few tips on what to consider when looking at your social media campaign:
Keep your business objectives at the forefront of your social strategy
Look closely at your company’s business strategy and decide how using social media will help you reach your goals. You might want high levels of engagement, but be aware of your brand’s “shop window” that will appear whether a consumer is following and interacting with you or not. Your social media objectives should add to or assist your overall marketing objectives in some way.
Understand what followers want from you
“Interesting content” is one of the top three reasons people follow brands on social media. Users check Facebook 14 times a day, and if you’re lucky, they might just come across some of your content and want to share it with their friends. Snack-size content is becoming more and more popular as our minds want smaller, faster and easily digestible information. The more “snackable” your content, the more sociable it will be and therefore will produce better results for your campaign.
Understand you’ll have to invest
Investing in social needs time, and in the words of Benjamin Franklin, “time is money”. Many brands still look for a quick fix when it comes to social media, but what you want to do is to build your brand online and advocate your company culture and values. To maximise social opportunities, brands need to invest. But rest assured that your investment is worthwhile. Paid Twitter and Facebook advertising are particularly cost-effective; out of all ads in history they offer the lowest cost per 1,000 impressions. And you can accurately monitor the ROI in real-time, and amend your approach in line with the results to maximise the ROI.
You need to be reactive or ‘always on’
Being responsive can mean tailoring your content to the broad reactions of millions of people just as much as having to reply and engage with every consumer who comments on your activity. If brands are only driving scale during campaign spikes, then they’re not delivering on building a trustworthy social community for their consumers. You want to keep consistency all year round. Social media is 24/7 and consumers have come to expect immediate responses from brands; research shows that 42% of consumers who complain on social media expect a response within 60 minutes.
Look to the future
Finally, you need to keep up to date with what could be the next big thing in the social world. Do you need to look into Periscope or invest in an influencer who will promote your brand on YouTube? Among the largest social media sites, YouTube drives the most highly engaged web traffic. You need to keep reading and following up on the latest in social media.
Focus your social platforms on long-term relationship building to build brand momentum and loyal customers and plan ahead to avoid any nasty surprises.For more insight into the world of Social Media, take a look at our thoughts: Should my brand invest in social? And while you’re there, why not have a read of our post on How to use social media to grow your brand’s reach?
Laura Farrington is a member of the Agency UK social media team.