With hundreds of popular social networks playing a large role in online marketing, identifying where to focus your company’s efforts can seem overwhelming. However, when broken down into a step-by-step process, businesses and brands can see rapid growth when done correctly. Simply creating a profile on Facebook no longer demonstrates a commitment to social marketing. Instead, companies need to find the right social network(s) and focus their efforts in order to see success. To prevent social media launch failures, here are five questions to consider before executing a social campaign:
What types of social media platforms will work best with what I am trying to accomplish?
With hundreds of social media platforms to choose from, it is important to remember that not all sites will help a business reach their marketing goals. To keep everyone on the same page, it is important to organize social options into varying categories. Online marketing experts have identified three main types of social media platforms which break down as follows:
Occupied Properties: These social sites are not at all controlled by you or your business. There may be a representative that you work with, but it is not owned by you and rules of engagement can be changed at any point. This includes platforms such as Reddit where employees of a company can participate in forums or other community sites in official or unofficial capacity on behalf of the brand.
Rented Properties: These forms of social media allow you, the user, to manage a portion of the channel but not the site as a whole. There can be a cost involved with rented properties, but it is not a frequent occurrence. Rented properties include sites like Facebook where the site is owned by Facebook, but you can manage your company’s presence on it.
Owned Properties: Lastly, owned properties are homegrown social networks which can be internal or external. These types of owned properties feature blogs and forums hosted on your site or another owned domain. This category ultimately includes the ability to completely own, manage, and occupy the platform and is completely under your control.
Companies should consider which “category” or “type” of social media will best market their product or service.
Where should my company start?
Each business is different, so finding the right place to start will depend on a number of factors. Target audience, operating industry, and the actual product or service you sell will all play a role in identifying the starting point.
There are tools available to help your register your company or brand name across multiple social networks. One in particular, KnowEm.com, allows businesses to register across five hundred social sites which protects your brand from squatters.
Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are not the only platforms available for you to connect with your customers/clients. In fact, those may not be the best resources for your company to use. Knowing what social platforms are out there will help you ultimately identify which platforms you should focus on.
What goals and objectives do I want to accomplish through social media marketing?
Before a business even creates an account on any social platform, objectives and goals need to be identified. First, figure out exactly why your business needs a social presence. This objective can be simply to raise awareness, increase brand recognition, or to connect with a target audience. Whatever the objective is, this is an important step in the process because without it, you will not be able to identify which platform will allow for the greatest successes.
Next, a business needs to outline the target customer or client. Whatever the demographic is, there are certain platforms that cater to specific groups or audiences. For example, if you have a product you want others to purchase, utilizing the image-sharing technology of social platforms would probably be best. Depending on the age of your key demographic, businesses will then want to narrow their efforts to a platform that will best garner attention.
Lastly, choose the ideal social site and then learn the nuances of that platform. Working with the wrong platform can result in little business growth while working with the right social site can increase brand loyalty and increase revenue.
What is important to my target audience?
Trends in social media are constantly changing and when businesses try to keep up, their efforts no longer remain focused. New widgets, tools, and even new platforms are introduced regularly which leaves some business owners feeling the need to keep up with the latest and greatest. This attitude can often result in the loss of followers or poorly executed social campaign efforts.
To keep from falling in this trap, businesses need to strike a balance between ever-changing social tools and connecting with their consumers. It is better to have a few effective social media strategies than attempt to spread the presence too thin and not dedicate the attention needed to make the campaigns successful.
To remain relevant in the eyes of your target audience, create an account on platforms that include functionalities that best highlight your product or service. For instance, a clothing retailer will want to display images of their products. Posting content on image sharing networks like Instagram and Pinterest would best connect with their consumer-base.
Now, the important part of “striking a balance” in social media does not mean ignoring up and coming social technologies. If there is a platform that has potential to help you better connect with customers, dedicate some time to pursue it.
How should my company go about launching on a new platform?
As you get started, there are a number of things to keep in mind. For example, there are often times unwritten rules of engagements that vary depending on what platform you are working with. You would likely not share photos of your children on LinkedIn, since that is a more professional form of connection. Understanding these semantics is the first thing a company should take note of prior to expanding their presence.
Prior to launching a social campaign, all goals and forms of measurement should be determined. Ask questions like: how will this channel help me engage with my customers or what is business trying to get out of this social platform? Answering these questions and setting clear goals will help you measure the success of your efforts moving forward.
Social media is a valuable tool in both expanding and establishing brands. If a business can effectively establish their brand, their brand authority also improves. Social channels provide new ways to educate others about your brand and increase brand impressions.
Have content ready to go and published on your social profiles before obtaining followers. The last thing you want is a prospective customer or client coming to your social profile and finding nothing on the page. Take a few days or weeks to post valuable content prior to making an official launch.
Set up a content calendar to ensure that your company’s profile continues to produce and garner attention. There are helpful tools available, such as HootSuite, which makes publishing regularly across all social platforms virtually effortless.
For companies promoting an initiative or product within the government space, the McKeon Group Marketing and PR department can help answer questions and demonstrate how to best leverage your social media efforts.
As your business starts to establish their presence on social sites, it is time to start engaging influencers within the industry. Find those who influence a number of people that fall in the demographic you are trying to connect with. Then establish a relationship with these influences and leverage their social power.