It was on the 4th of February, in the year 2004 that Mark Zuckerberg launched his social media project for the general public, The Facebook. Since, then the internet has undergone massive changes continuously in order to evolve for the modern times and the various popular trends. Although there were several social networks that came before Facebook, like MySpace or Orkut, Facebook certainly had that X-Factor which the general public found missing from the previous attempts at making Social Media popular among the common masses. With the rise of Social Media, the internet facilities were due for a upgrade too, and so Web 2.0 came into existence. Web 2.0 refers to content generated by the users. This ensured a way for others to start different types of Social Media Networks, and indeed the modern world has quite the varieties amongst the social media platforms offered such as Instagram/Snapchat for photographers/models, StackExchange for the Programmers and so on. And thus the social media have seen explosive growths in their user base since then. In Fact, more than 3 billion people use some sort of social network or the other. This sure offers a massive user base towards which we can market our content. The possibilities are endless!
So, What Is Social Media Marketing All About?
Social media marketing in its broader sense refers to the promotion of our business on Social Media to generate leads, create engagement, maintain a reputation and sell our services.
Different social media networks offer the users/businesses different types of platforms to connect with their users.
- Facebook offers many options including but not limited to videos, articles, events, marketplace etc
- LinkedIn helps employers connect with potential employees and is also a great platform for B2B interaction
- Instagram is a visual medium for brands who are better off promoting their content with a visual only medium using photographs, and short videos
- YouTube is a hub for video bloggers, instructors or any one who is interested in using strictly video content for their promotion
- Twitter is used by businesses to stay in touch with their users in real-time with short messages and updates
- Quora is a Question/Answer platform like Yahoo Answers was, only difference is that it has a much better community that operates it. It is a new tool for maintaining our online reputation
The above list is by no means exhaustive, but covers almost all of the major social media platforms out there. There are also a large number of niche-specific platforms which we will find out sooner or later, such as 9gag, a social media platform for memes, StackExchange, a platform for programmers and so on.
WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING’S IMPORTANCE IN SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION?
It has been researched and found that 75% of consumers check out the online profiles/presence of a business before investing in their products or services. It is therefore, quite essential for our business to maintain an online reputation. It takes a simple Google Search to figure out our business profile over the internet.
All these social networks, be it Facebook, LinkedIn and so on, have a high domain authority and generally are on the first page of search results. So it is quintessential to keep our engagement above the norms on these platforms. When we post something new and fresh, the search engines might not index it immediately. However if we post something on social media, it is immediately indexed by Google due to the high index rank of these websites.
Thus, social media marketing plays an important role in every successful SEO strategy devised !
So What Should Be our Social Media Networking Plan?
Social media is quickly becoming the equalizer on the scale of businesses, it is without a doubt an important platform for businesses regardless of their size. Instead of questioning about “Why should a business invest in Social media ?” the pertinent question that most of the business face is “how can we utilize social media to help boost their business growth ? “
As a social media marketer, this should make us giddy with excitement. But before we begin our marketing on the social networks, we need to have a well documented and thought out plan in order to effectively tackle the issue of Social Media Networking on the various social media networks.
Here are few steps that we might wish to ponder over, before embarking on our journey to create the perfect Social Media Networking plan.
Step 1: Determine Our Current Presence In The Social Media Sphere
Before we get to the nitty-gritty details of our plan, we should first try to ascertain what our current standing in the active social media platforms are . Here are a few areas we can look at before reviewing our business’s social media presence:
- What networks does our business promote itself on
- Proper optimization of our profile is essential(photo and cover images, bio, URL, Location, emails and so on)
- What platform does our business have maximum presence on
- Comparison between our profile and our competitors
Step 2: Find Out Our Target Audience
This is an important stage in our marketing strategy development phase as we need to find out the audience we need to target via social media networking so as to increase the amount of potential customers. The more specific the better it’ll be. We may identify our target as a parent, which is fine. However, if we identify our ideal audience to be a parent earning 2 Lakh Rs. PA who uses instagram and Facebook frequently, we’ll be able to market our products much better.
The following may be good indicators to determine our ideal customers
- Employment Status
- Generic problems they face
- Most utilized social networks.
Step 3: Creating A Statement
Make sure that we put some thought in determining our social media statement, as it will act as a driving force to our future steps. The statement should state it clearly what we intend to do with our online presence and also represent our brand values. While designing this statement we should keep in mind our target audience.
After we create this, we’ll find it easier to decide what content we want to share and create in order to generate maximum views. It has to align with our business concepts and ideas, otherwise it’ll end up being a failure. Random blog postings without a guiding statement is bound to be a dead end. People want to invest in leaders, not generalists.
Step 4: Identifying The Variables To Success
We can continue to make efforts on the social media, but how do we determine whether our efforts are successful or not. It is important to continuously monitor our efforts and what effects do they have on the growth of our business.
A few variables worth measuring are:
- Time average user spends on our Website
- Brand Mentions(hashtags)
- Total Shares by users
Step 5: Create Fresh And Intriguing Content
Most of us might’ve already jumped to this part. Hopefully, this post will make it pretty clear that there are several key steps that need to be undertaken before we can embark on our content creation journey and share engaging content on our social media channels.
We have now determined our target audience, are done with our social media mission statement. Armed with this informations, the path to creating content is a easy one. But what will we consider as content that we can share over social media? Here is a list we can begin with :
- Pictures, Well Edited Images With Catchy Captions
- Videos, GIFs
- Blog Posts
- eBooks, White Papers, blueprints
- Collaborated content
As with any list, this list is eventually endless and limited to only our imagination. Armed with information about our target audience, it should be pretty easy to develop entertaining and engaging content with potential to go viral on the social media channels.
Step 6: Track Engagement. Perform Analysis. Optimize Errors. Repeat
This might perhaps be the most important step which may be instrumental in determining the success of our efforts on the social media channels. Even the most robust social media marketing plans are based on trial and error. It sounds rudimentary, but tracking our results, performing analysis on it and seeing to it that subtle changes are made to correct the mistakes is a very, very crucial part of social media marketing.
Every previous step should be reconsidered after performing a through analysis of the results of our marketing efforts. Let the data obtained be in the driver seat. If our data claims that Facebook and Youtube are our more popular channels, consider putting in more effort to increase presence and thereby revenue.
Also investing in a Social Media Marketing Management tool will help in this step, helping us to automate several process and provide in-depth analysis on the results collected and provide relevant data for us to work with.
It’s impossible to create a social media strategy that will ensure the most views, the most shares and so on. The key is to continuously adapt to the challenges that will keep popping up. So it’s our turn now to create our Own Strategy™ and optimize it continuously as our social media marketing expertise grows, boosting our business’s growth and revenue!