Social media has grown rapidly. Today, approx 4 in 5 active Internet users visit social networks and blogs. In October 2016, eBizMBA ranked the top 15 most popular social media sites, by estimated unique monthly visits in which Facebook overtakes Twitter as the most popular social media platform.
Using social media strategy for business is no longer a choice but has become a necessity. Building up a strong social media strategy is an essential component for any business hoping to become a competitive pioneer in its field. Many businesses use social media to promote brand awareness and draw in prospects since it’s affordable and more effective compared to other marketing strategies. But we do fail to notice that social media requires a solid social media strategy if you want to run a successful business.
Prepare Social Media Strategy
There are three main steps that will help you get started on a successful social media strategy – Plan, Implement and Measure.
The first and important step in creating a social media strategy is to plan how it has to be done. Figure out what it is you want to accomplish with social media by asking yourself these questions:
- What is my objective and goals? – Define your objective you want to achieve by using social media strategy. These objectives should support organization’s overall mission. A good business objective should be positive, specific and measurable in order to evaluate the impact of your social efforts.
- Who is my target audience? – It’s important to understand who your target audience is – be it individual or business and why they want to connect with you. Create a profile of your target audience including demographic information and other factors such as their needs and interests.
- Which is the right platform? – Once you identify your target audience, consider the social media channels that are most apt to reach them. There are over 200 social media platforms and it is unlikely we can be fully active on all of them, so choose just a few that will connect with your target audience. Statistics indicate most B2B companies tend to use Google+ and Twitter while B2C businesses tend to use Facebook.
- How much is my budget? – A successful social media strategy must include a budget to promote your posts on social networking sites. Though going into any expenditure without knowing where the budget line is drawn is a super bad idea. So, it is suggested to start with an affordable budget and then can be extrapolated later.
Once you have planned your social media strategy, it’s time to implement it. Firstly, create a great target based content. Now content can be in any form – it could be photos or videos. Just make sure that content should be clear and interesting for your audience.
According to research, photos on Facebook get 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click through on links than text based posts. And the same goes for Twitter. Monitor the posts that get a lot of engagements and tailor your strategy according to the type of posts that are proven to succeed.
The frequency and timing of your posts also pay a significant factor in ranking a social media strategy. However, there hasn’t yet been discovered the best frequency or time to follow but for starters it is always advised to go for A/B testing. And if people love your updates, you can typically always get away with posting more. Below is an overview of the best timings to post on social media sites.
Now that you have grabbed the attention of your audience, it’s time to make them feel special. Engage in conversation, express your point of view and show genuine interest in your audience.
The more you update, the more you’ll observe which type of content, frequency and timing is right for you. Now, how will you discover? It’s best to get measurement tools that will determine your performance such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Facebook Insight and TweetReach. If you have a competitive social media strategy, then you need these monitoring tools. You will figure out exactly where your strengths and weakness are, analyze your efforts and come up with solutions on how to improve accordingly.
AirAsia, a low-cost Malaysian airline on how they came with their social media strategy to increase their brand awareness. The time when AirAsia first launched their new flight to Australia, customer awareness of the brand was very little and hence the competition was fierce. With lack of budget to compete with an effective marketing campaign, they decided to launch a Facebook campaign.
On the Facebook of AirAsia, a campaign was launched to give away a free plane that allowed the winner to allocate 302 of their friends to fly with them free from Australia to Malaysia. The competition allowed you to choose what friends to take with you and tag them in the seating plan. A snapshot would then later be shared with the tagged friends. As a result of Air Asia’s Facebook campaign, their fan page grew by 30%. They also generated PR worth an estimated 1.5$ million reaching over 2 million people on Facebook.
A solid social media strategy is a necessity for all companies as a well designed strategy will help target audiences more effectively and as well as improve your sales and increase brand awareness.
Once you have a social media strategy, everything else will fall into place as you execute your marketing campaign.
Be social, be effective!!