Best Practices for Social Media Marketing

It’s hard to succeed at anything if you’re not focused. Whether you’re golfing, driving, taking an exam or giving a presentation, losing focus on your objective can be disastrous. The same is true of your social media activity. Granted social media marketing is a longer-term activity than golfing or giving a presentation, but the importance of focus is no less important. In particular, we’ve selected three key elements marketers should keep their focus on when engaging in social media.

Outcomes

What is it you’re really trying to accomplish? Hint: it’s not getting the most retweets or likes. While those metrics can be good leading indicators of achieving desired outcomes, the focus should be on driving clear and specific business goals – inquiries, leads, prospects, sales! Establish these metrics up front and then monitor them to determine what works and what doesn’t. A big benefit of digital marketing is that it’s very easy to shift focus, try new things and make continual process improvements. Bigger benefit yet: it’s all very measurable!

Think about it in terms of the platform you’re using. For instance, we find that, in most cases, business-to-business (B2B) products and services don’t lend themselves for promotion through sites like Facebook. Why? Because when most people are engaged with Facebook, they’re in a “social” frame of mind—interacting with friends and family around personal issues and topics of interest and are not readily amenable (or attentive) to business pitches. Conversely, the same would be true of attempting to sell retail products on LinkedIn. Here’s a great article from Mark Schaefer on determining the best platform for your business.

Audience

It’s very important to have a thorough understanding of both your target audience and how you want to engage with them. Not all social media channels will work for all purposes—and your audiences may or may not be active on certain channels—so it’s important to start with a good sense of who you are attempting to connect with. (Note: Pew Research offers some deep insights into the demographics of social media users.

Understand what’s important to your target audience and deliver content that supports what they value, and that provides value. Mike Templeman wrote a nice piece for Forbes on how to engage with your audience through social listening. Blatant promotion should be held to a minimum—if used at all. Social media engagement is about providing value—not yelling “me, me, me”—”buy, buy, buy.”

Your Broader Strategy

Don’t fall into the trap of putting out a great social media post or campaign that–although witty and popular–doesn’t fit with your overall brand and strategy. Focus your social media activities around your overall marketing communication plan. All of your communication activities should be aligned and supportive–and should send a consistent message.

 

Social media channels can seem like venues for random thoughts or one-off promotional messages, but ultimately it’s a form of media just like television, radio and print. While the numerous platforms and constant updates from millions of users can make social media seem like it’s perfect for flurries of creative activity, savvy marketers know that they should focus their energies by keeping their objectives, audience and overall strategy in mind.

How are you doing with that?

 

Recommended Reading:

Best Practices in Influencer Marketing

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