The information age has certainly changed the way people do business. More importantly, it has revolutionized how customers and the audience interact with businesses. The ease of access to and the sheer amount of information online has made marketing easier, but also more complex. And definitely, more urgent.
Social media are sites and applications that allow its users to create and share content, engage, and participate in an online network.
Social Media Platforms
To the uninitiated, social media might seem simple and easy to handle. The number of available platforms, sites, and apps can be overwhelming.
Here are just some of the most popular social media platforms right now.
The largest social media platform with over 2 billion users. More than 60% of its users are female and 65% are 35 years old or older. 79% of their users are more likely to buy based on social media information.
The world’s largest video sharing platform with 1.9 billion users. More than 60% of women and 70% of men use the platform and 91% of the 18 - 25-year-olds use the site. Video is the most effective content to both create buzz and convert to sales.
More than 330 million users. More than 60% of their users are male and 38% of 18 to 29-year-olds use the platform. Twitter has proven to be a strong customer service tool for many brands.
More than 250 million users. Approximately 80% of their users are female and 35% are in the 30 to 49 year old bracket. It generates as much as 400% more revenue per click compared to Twitter.
More than 670 million users. More than 50% of their users are male and 38% are in the 25 - 34 year old bracket. LinkedIn boasts of 90 million users who are senior-level influencers.
The most popular photo and video sharing site with 1 billion users. More than 40% of its users are female and more than 70% of 13 to 17 years old use the app. Instagram has higher reach and engagements than other social media networks.
The hottest social media app with 500 million users. 54% of Tiktok users are male and 50% of its global audience are under 35 years old. It is quickly becoming a platform for brands to create fun engaging video content.
These are certainly the most popular social media platforms today. But yes, there are more. So much more. Among popular messaging apps are Viber, Line, and WeChat.
Stories social media platform Snapchat remains relevant in the market.
Reddit is and will be influential as a source of information for popular culture communities and subculture nerds.
Medium and Tumblr, whilst primarily blogging platforms, are also popular social media sites.
Most other apps and sites that are not necessarily created and marketed as social media platforms have social media or social networking components. Most fitness apps allow you to connect, converse, and engage with other users. This is the same for gaming apps, streaming apps, and practically, almost every website online right now.
So yes, there are virtually unlimited social media sites, apps, and platforms right now. And all these or any one or more could be the key to your business’ success.
How Social Media Can Benefit Your Business
It is a foregone conclusion that all businesses, products, services, and brands in all industries and locations can benefit from sound, well-executed, and consistent social media marketing. Simply put, social media marketing is a must for all.
From cradle to grave, social media is part and parcel of every step in your brand’s growth. From inception up to its dissolution, your business team should consider how you can integrate social media into everything you do.
Because there are infinite social media platforms your business can utilize for its success, every business owner or manager must carefully plan out and manage their business’ social media presence.
Here are some ways your business can greatly benefit from social media marketing.
Establish Brand Identity
People value information. While most consumers still consider quality and price when purchasing, some consumers take into account brand values when purchasing. What are your brand values? Who are the people behind the products? Do you have sound business practices? You can share this and more through social media. Changing your logo or brand colors? Relaunching your website? Your social media presence can be your venue to do these.
Your business is not a business if your products and services have no consumers. Be it leads, sales and other forms of conversion, social media have proven to be an effective medium to generate conversions.
Customer Service Assistance Channel
As has been mentioned, social media is the most accessible and easiest way for most customers to reach out to brands and companies. This is why we recommend businesses to utilize their social media channels to interact with their customers. Having an active customer service channel via social media can make a world of difference when it comes to customer satisfaction. Make sure your social media channels can answer inquiries from potential customers and are also able to provide credible and reliable after-sales support.
Engage with Employees
Make sure your company is in harmony by listening not just to your customers, but to your team, as well. Keep your customers happy, but do not overlook the importance of keeping your employees happy. Happy, fulfilled, engaged employees and workers make your brand and your company look good and make the business flow easier and much more attractive to all.
Keep Tabs with the Competition
Competition is a reality that we all have to live with. While we do not encourage adverse competition, there is a lot that any business can learn by knowing about their competition. And there is no easier way to do that than through social media. Monitor your competition. Listen to their message. Check their engagement. Learn from their presence and strategies. And yes, why not even engage and collaborate when necessary?
Create Brand Awareness
A lot of new and small businesses offer great products and services. Most even have lower prices. However, it is difficult to sell and profit when nobody knows who you are and what you offer. Social media marketing is a great way to introduce yourself to potential consumers. Even before your store opens or your product launches, you can easily create buzz through social media. Easy. Accessible. Plus, you get the benefit of getting feedback right away.
Establish Brand Authority
Another thing you can communicate through social media is your brand’s authority, knowledge, and leadership in your industry. Share the industry events you are part of. Give your audience a taste of your expertise. Do you sell food? Share recipes and cooking tips. Show customers and potential customers that you know your product. Are you a travel agency? Share your travel know-how and some snaps of your favorite destinations. Establish your brand’s authority and your team’s expertise by consistently sharing content relevant to your business and your industry. Make sure it is interesting to your audience. Your customers will be more loyal to you. And your potential customers will be more drawn to you.
Partner with Influencers
Whether it’s amplifying and reposting relevant content about your brand posted by influencers or directly collaborating with them, working with influencers is highly recommended for most, if not all, businesses. Through social media, your brand can easily interact, engage, and collaborate with influencers. Mind you, when we say influencers, we do not just mean social media content creators. These can be local personalities who are prominent in their field, community workers who use your products… practically any of your customers who agree with your brand philosophy and who are loyal to your brand. Loyal enough to create content or willing to collaborate to put forward your brand message.
Amplify Community Involvement
Online engagement is good but offline real-world engagement matters more. Businesses are encouraged to engage with their communities. Nowadays, customers look to brands and businesses to drive changes in their communities. Be it better sustainability practices or investing in education, businesses have an important role to play in community-building. And there is no better way to amplify your message and share your community involvement than through social media.
Why Good SM Strategy Matters?
Done poorly or haphazardly, social media marketing can become cumbersome, unproductive, and even expensive.
Social media’s accessibility and ease of use make it seem like social media integration and management is an easy thing to do. Wrong.
From the moment you publish your first social media page, anything and everything could go wrong, easily. That is if you do not enter prepared and ready for all scenarios.
As they say, when you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Social Media Marketing 101
Most businesses, especially those created out of urgent need or from a sudden spur of inspiration, can easily boom. But are you ready for that initial success? Where do you go after that? How do you handle the initial barrage of comments, messages, feedback, and whatnot?
Some people would think 10,000 followers is already a good measure of success. Might be, but if you want real success that would help you achieve your goals, social media marketing only matters if done well and measured properly.
Important metrics to know if your social media presence is successful include volume, reach, engagement, and influence.
But before you dive into publishing and measuring success, you must first know what your objectives are.
Even when your idea is small and simple, you have to prepare. Overprepare if you can. In fact, you really should overprepare.
Set your goals. Know your benchmarks. Prepare and plan.
Your business might seem straightforward. Sell. Profit. Earn. Make big money. Great! Right? Wrong!
You must set specific, quantifiable goals that you can commit to and pour everything towards. Without business goals, your social media marketing plans could go everywhere or nowhere. Either way, it will be a gigantic pile of fail. And you might end up with less money than you started with. Plus, you will be tired, confused, and frustrated.
Before you even set your business goals, you must know and write down your business philosophy well. What is your vision? What is your mission? What objectives do you want to achieve? Write is down. Make it concrete and real. This will be your guide.
Now, set your goals. Usual business goals include cash flow. Do you want to increase profit? Do you want to have higher sales? Or do you want to sell more at lower production and delivery costs?
Another kind of business goal that social media can help achieve is sentiment-driven goals. Do you want to create or improve brand awareness? Do you need more loyal customers? Do you want to establish your company as an industry leader?
Product and Service Quality goals may also be achieved via social media. Listening and engagement with customers, competitors, and industry and community members via social media can greatly influence how your business produces and delivers its goods and does its operations.
Efficiency and time management and human resources management goals may also be established. These business goals are not usually business goals that people think can be achieved with social media.
Not only can social media help in achieving these types of goals, but it is also necessary to know all business goals to make social media marketing more comprehensive and to maintain business integrity. Consistency from brand vision and goals down to every social media post are important to success.
Note that all these goals must be set clearly and specifically. All must be measurable and time-bound. Most importantly, these must be realistic and relevant to your business philosophy.
Social Media Marketing Goals
If you are wondering why so much time and effort are invested in setting business goals, wonder no more. Business goals have corresponding social media goals. The clearer your business goals are, the clearer what your social media goals should be.
Cash Flow business goals need social media goals that center on leads and conversion.
Sentiment-driven business goals necessitate brand awareness and brand authority goals.
Better product and service quality business goals require social media goals that focus on customer feedback and engagement.
Efficiency, time management, and human resource management goals have corresponding online collaboration, recruitment, and team management social media goals.
Same as your business goals, your social media goals must be specific, measurable, and time-bound. Make sure it is achievable. It’s nice to try to go big and be ambitious but that can easily become frustrating. It always has to be relevant and aligned with your business philosophy and goals.
The Social Media Marketing Cycle
Overwhelmed? Social media marketing can be tedious. But once you lay out all your goals and plan well, everything will become easier. It is time-consuming, with so many things to consider and manage. But if you are clear with your goals and work on your social media marketing processes, the payoff will be rewarding.
Know that you have your goals, survey. When we say “survey,” you do not actually have to create a form to be answered. There are many ways to survey. The important thing about this part of the cycle is gathering information. How? About what?
Go back to your goals and start there. What to increase sales? Check your sales data. Know your market. Profile your consumers. Know your market. Check your competition. Be informed.
Want to increase brand loyalty? Know how the audience, your customers, in particular, see you. Ask why they choose your brand and what makes them choose your brand over and over again. Ask what would make them change loyalties and buy from your competitors.
If you already have a social media presence and use social media platforms, audit.
Here is a quick way to audit your existing social media presence. Create a spreadsheet. Label columns with the following:
- Username and URL
- Number of followers
- % Engagement
- Most Popular Content
Now you have a clear idea of what you already have on social media.
Take everything, all the information, opinions, and data. Go back to your business and social media goals. Analyze according to your goals.
Some questions to answer:
Cash flow: Are you satisfied with your current sales? By how much do you need to increase to reach your sales and profit goals? How does your current social media presence contribute to your sales and profits?
Brand awareness: Is your current customer base your target audience? What is the profile of the customer that you want to reach and know about you? What do you want them to know about you? Does your social media presence reach your ideal customer?
Brand authority: Do your customers trust you? Are they loyal to you? How do they compare to your competitors? Does your most popular social media content reflect this?
Product and service quality: Are your customers satisfied with your products and services? What do they say about your products and services? How can you improve these products and services? Does your social media strategies adequately and honestly depict your products and services?
Efficiency, time management, and human resource management: Is your team working efficiently? How can their workflow be managed better? Are you reaching the businesses and personalities you want to work with or hire? Are you managing your social media efficiently in a way that flows naturally with your business processes?
These are just some of the questions you have to answer. Again, go back to your brand’s vision, mission, objectives, business goals, and social media goals.
Note that your social media channels must honestly reflect your business. More importantly, does your social media platforms adhere and contribute to your brand vision?
The easiest way to analyze is to create yet another spreadsheet.
Have all relevant questions on the first column. On the second column, answer yes or no. On the third column, have your notes. And on the fourth column, write down your recommendations.
The next step is planning. Now you know what works and what does not. You also know what you should do more and what new things you should try and implement.
First, choose the platforms. Start with one or two. But definitely not more than 3 and definitely not all social media platforms you know. You may explore and learn more about as many social media platforms as you can but your business does not have to actively be on each and every one of it.
Second, fill out our profiles completely. Prepare a branded header image and a branded profile image. Fill out the profile and answer all fields completely. Provide as much information as necessary.
Next, plan your content for the next few months. The ideal would be at least 3 months. One month to test your new strategies. Another month to make adjustments. And one final month to make adjustments before you audit again.
Have a content calendar. Write down your content plan and schedule accordingly.
Then, produce content for publication. Make sure you have at least 3 month’s worth of content. Plus, more for just in case. Note that you may publish all. Or just a few. Depending on how things go during the first month.
Finally, check your plan. Yes, even your plans need to be audited and evaluated. Does your content calendar correspond with your social media goals? Each post must be intentional. More importantly, each post must be on-brand.
Publish and Engage
Now press publish. You’re done, right? Wrong. Publish. Implement your plans.
Obsess over every detail. Proofread. Revise if necessary.
Check your statistics and metrics often. Is your content gaining traction? Are people responding to your posts? More importantly, is your post speaking to your intended audience? Engage. Answer inquiries. Reply to comments. Communicate. Receive feedback.
Manage crisis. Things might go well for you. But there are times when our best intentions and meticulous planning do not produce the results we hope for. Get ready to manage negative feedback. Get ready to dive into managing the crisis.
Take note. All the while, document everything. List down your successes and your failures.
Evaluating your Strategies
Your work does not end even after you have published and engaged. Social media management is a 24/7 job that requires continuous planning and adjusting.
Audit again. Analyze again. Plan again and adjust accordingly. Publish and engage continuously. Evaluate again.
And back to survey and audit. And so on.
Tips for Social Media Success
Social media success can be achieved when you work on it continuously, consistently. One viral post can make or break your brand. But that can also be easily undone or forgotten. The key is to never stop and to keep at it. Consistently. Tirelessly. Everyday. Every night.
Here are some tips you can take note of to help you achieve your social media goals.
Proceed with caution. Social media must seem like it is easy and all fun and games. It could be but if you want to be successful it is a daunting place where your every move matters and every action captured, documented, and filed for eternity. So do proceed with caution.
Commit to your goals. Do not just create a social media account. There is more to it than just posting, sharing, liking, and commenting. One important step that people miss is setting goals. Another mistake is setting goals and not committing to it. Your business and social media goals are your guides towards your brand’s vision and mission. It will keep you on the path towards your objectives. So draw up those goals. Make it specific, measurable, and time-bound. Make sure it is realistic and relevant. And commit to it.
Be clear on who your audience is. Be clear on who you want to communicate to. You cannot just put content out there. That would be like throwing confetti into the air and hoping a customer will pick one piece and read what is written on it. Know your target audience. Craft your message accordingly and direct it straight to them.
Choose your platforms carefully. You do not have to be everywhere all the same time. Each social media platform has its own strengths and weaknesses. Each has a different audience. And more importantly, each one requires a unique set of strategies and has unique content requirements. Study each platform carefully. Know which ones your target audience use and create content that best fits your platform and your target audience.
Obsess over the details. Be obsessive. Check your grammar. Make sure every image is impeccable.
Engage sincerely. Utilize social media as an opportunity to communicate directly with your audience. Reply to every message or comment as if you are talking to every person. Make sure to connect. Value every feedback.
Be consistent. Check if every post is consistent with your brand. Every post should be intentional.
Be logical and analytical. Do not get caught up on your emotions. Always attack each social media post and every task with a logical and analytical mind. Do not be offended by negative feedback. Appreciate the opportunity to improve. And do not get too ecstatic with praise. Take it and ask yourself how you could build on that.
Work with the Right People
Social media marketing can be tiring. It is tiring. The internet never sleeps. Once you put something online. It is there 24/7. For the inexperienced or the amateurs, it can be overwhelming and frustrating.
Business owners can just opt to give up on gaining social media success. Most would just prefer focusing on their business, producing and delivering products and services.
But as mentioned and lengthily discussed, most, if not all, businesses require social media marketing to be successful. Social media is no longer something you can do if you want to. Businesses, big or small, new or old, can benefit a lot from proper and sound social media marketing.
It is important and crucial to how many businesses work and operate nowadays. Do not ignore it or do the bare minimum just so you could say you are doing it. Plan and plan well. The great thing about social media is how easy and accessible it is. The difficult thing is in mastering in and knowing how it works and working with it to succeed.
Make sure you have the right people working on your social media channels. A person who is always online and browses Facebook several hours a day is not necessarily the right person to handle your Facebook account. Similarly, a person who often takes and posts selfies on Instagram is not necessarily the right person to handle your Instagram account.
Approach social media as an important part of your business that requires a professional or an expert. Get yourself a professional who knows what he is doing.
As mentioned, your social media presence and engagement must align with your brand identity. Make sure your social media manager understands and has a good grasp of your brand. More importantly, they must know your business goals and social media goals. Involve them in the process.
Now that you know almost everything there is to know about social media marketing and how to succeed, it is also important to know how you can measure your success. A good number of followers is not enough to say you have succeeded.
Earlier, we listed four important metrics you need to know to gauge if your social media presence is successful. These are reach, volume, engagement, and influence.
Reach is the most common metric people check. This pertains to the number of people who have seen your content or campaign. This may be organic, viral, or paid.
Volume refers to the amount of online buzz around your brand or campaign. Check your mentions. Monitor your hashtags. Scour the shares, likes, and comments to know how much buzz you have created.
Engagement measures the number of actions and interactions on your content. This includes likes, shares, and comments.
Finally, influence. This might be the hardest metric to measure but one that is equally important. Compared to the first three, this more of a long-term metric that can be measured and observed over time. How much conversation and action do you spur in your followers? Do they actually take action in real life by talking about you? Do they actually buy your products and services?
Use these metrics to measure your success.
Go back to your social media goals. Examine each one. Remember that each goal should be measurable and time-bound. Check if you have achieved what you have set out to do.
Do the same for your business goals. And note if your social media strategies have contributed towards the attainment of those goals.
Do not forget to audit, analyze, evaluate, and measure often. And yes, celebrate every success and learn from every failure.
Social media marketing can be easy, fun, and affordable. It certainly is accessible to all. And to a certain degree, easy to learn.
But it is hard to master and can also be tiring and frustrating.
Make sure to come to it prepared, well-planned, and fully armed. Have knowledgable experts on your side and you are sure to celebrate achieving those social media goals soon.