In part 1 of this post, Effective Marketing Using Social Media, we got a good overview of the top four choices people have to augment their marketing strategies with social media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
We likened it to a buffet table packed with choices, but unlike a buffet, social media is no longer optional; it is essential that businesses actively use and engage in social media.
But just using social media isn’t enough! To be successful, you need to know about effective marketing strategies: which ones work best for you, and how to leverage those approaches to your advantage.
So what’s the best way to begin?
First, start with the basics. (See “don’t forget the basics” below). You can always tweak what you’re doing as you move forward.
Second, whatever strategies you decide to start with, choose for the long haul and not a stop-and-go effort.
Three proven high-level strategies to use with social media:
- Paid social
Keep in mind each can be used independently or in combination depending upon how much time, money, and interest you have.
Don’t forget the basics!
It’s always a good idea to use higher-level marketing in conjunction with regular organic social media marketing by using the free tools provided by each social network to build and interact with a community, share posts, and respond to customer comments and questions.
Organically you can:
- Acquire new customers and drive them to an existing website or sales page
- Keep in touch with existing customers for retention and remarketing programs
- Increase the visibility of your brands, services, and products
- Interact with people to answer questions and start dialogs
- Publish unique and relevant content to show authority
- Curate other useful posts and links
Millions of businesses pay for ads each month on social media because they are not only easy to set up but can easily target niche, specific demographics. Social media advertising tools allow you to pinpoint customers that marketers could only dream about 20 years ago.
It’s also easy to set up daily or weekly budgeting, and different types of ads such as:
- Single image
- Sponsored messages
But be aware of the different mindset of social media users.
Experts anticipate the costs of buying through social media to increase, more and more, in the future. That’s a given, but it’s not quite there yet.
At this time, an estimated 46% of social media users are thinking about purchasing items while logged in, and about 40% are deciding what to buy based on social media’s recommendations and reviews.
This user activity is important because you can tailor your ads to help users make a decision or to drive them to your website for more information to make a purchase.
Paid social is a fast and easy way to:
- Strengthen organic content
- Quickly build your audience
- Remarket to existing customers
Think of paid social as the appetizer. You can introduce your products and services with tasty tidbits that lead them to the next course: a purchase, sign up email, or phone call.
Creating groups or joining existing networks is another level of marketing where social media shines! Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram have so many niche and idiosyncratic groups that you can market to almost anyone under the sun!
Groups take time but are worth it.
If you leverage this social media marketing strategy, get ready to invest more of your time. You’ll be an authority, and people will depend upon you to regularly answer and interact with them. Be prepared to:
- Spend real-time in two-way dialogs with customers, supporters, etc.
- Start professional networks
- Build relationships with customers and influencers
Groups are an excellent place to get your brand known and discuss topics with like-minded individuals
They offer a great space to:
- Deepen relationships with people and lead them to sales over time
- Become an advocate and draw new people into the group to help them
- Add real value. For example, offer support to other members, offer exclusive deals (and track with UTMs), and give exclusive video content.
Just make sure you remain conversational, show benefits in a clear, relaxed way; offer help to those in need, and apply no pressure – keep it casual!
Now is the time for groups
Right now, people are using social media more and more to get answers to their questions. If you’re there for them continually, your business then becomes the first one group members refer to when making recommendations to new clients.
Overall, you need to give people a reason to stay and want more. Give them a balanced approach between helpfulness, value, and sales.
Think of groups as the supporting side dish, and you’ll get the idea. After all, what’s a hamburger without fries?
Influencers are people on social media who have a strong following but are not always celebrities.
There are different levels of influencers from micro to mega, which have followers from thousands to millions. They are considered authorities and experts on a topic, and they can heavily influence people to buy brands.
Influencers are trusted
The reason influencers are so successful is that their followers trust their opinions and don’t hesitate to buy suggested products.
Research shows that influencers have a 60% higher engagement rate and more than a 22% increase in average conversions.
Either be an influencer or leverage one
If you choose to become an influencer, this will take the most time and commitment because social media channels will be your primary occupation. Most influencers don’t always have a website; they focus mainly on influencing other social media users to buy or take action.
Age is not a barrier
National Public Radio (NPR) was interviewing influencers that ranged from 10-years-old and up. This particular focus was about “back to school.”
One 10-year-old had more than 1 million followers, so she was in the mega influencer range. She posted every day, multiple times a day, to various social media accounts, and shared what was cool in backpacks, clothes, and school supplies, etc.
Her entire focus was so kids didn’t show up for their first day of school and look like out-of-place geeks. She continued to advise on trends all year long. She used all the social media outlets she could, as most influencers do.
No time? Leverage an influencer instead.
If you don’t want to be an influencer, then your best bet is to find one in your area who aligns with your business interest, and see what it will take for them to help you out.
At this time, there is no set pay scale, and you would be amazed at how many businesses don’t pay influencers; they just send them free stuff for social media posts, so get creative!
Think of influencers as the icing on the cake, and you’ll get the idea.
Social media is a powerhouse smorgasbord, but don't get full too fast!
You can see the power, impact, and importance that social media plays in marketing. It’s vast and limitless if you’re willing to be creative.