Social media marketing is becoming an important marketing strategy for many businesses. We can think of social media marketing is a way to attract and communicate with your existing and new potential customers. Social media marketing can be used by both small and large organisations. If used correctly social media websites such as Google+, Facebook, Twitter can help you to generate more qualified leads which you can then convert into sales.
What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing also known as SMM is one of many online marketing strategies which can be used in your business. The aim of social media marketing to grow awareness of the types of services or products you sell. Another goal is to bring brand awareness to ensure that your business built a reputation within your industry. Social media marketing normally comprises of sharing useful content such as articles, videos and images. The type of content you share does not necessarily have to be a sales pitch, you should aim to share content which is useful and helpful to your potential or existing customers. If you create content which is useful and helpful then return you can expect your social media followers to share this content which helps to raise your brand awareness.
How to start your social media marketing?
Before you start to sign up all the various social networks you should create a social media marketing plan. Below are some of the social media marketing plan elements you should consider:
What are you trying to achieve when using social media?
Depending on your business model you may want to use social media in different ways. In most cases you are trying to get people to follow you on your business social networks. But you don’t want just anyone following you, your goal is to get as many potential and existing customers following you on your social networks. Each time you post a new message this message will be distributed to all the followers on your social networks. When you post a message the content needs to be enticing so that the potential visitor reads your message and shares it with their social friends online. The social message should also contain some type of call to action, this may require for the reader of the message to visit your website and read about your services or products, or even enter a competition. You should research custom functions such as a Facebook like Gate which requires for your visitor to like your Facebook page before they can enter a competition. Elements such as Facebook likes are key indicators to search engines and can be used to improve your organic search engine results. You should contact your web designers and integrate social media sharing functions into your website, newsletter and other marketing material where ever possible.
Who is your target audience?
Targeting your audience is very important, if you are selling a product or service which is aimed at business owners then there’s no point in having a young generation of followers following your social media network accounts. Your first goal if you are an existing business is to get all of your current customers to follow your social media network accounts.
Where is your target audience located?
When starting a social media campaign it is important to understand where your target audience is located. By identifying where your audience is located you can offer tailored content such as a special offer if someone who is located in a specific geographic location which you are targeting. For example if you are running a cleaning company based in London and you want to target local customers then it would make sense that your content is based around the locations of your potential new customers. You should also spend some time in researching where your target audience hangs out, what I really mean is web social networks to your potential customers use. An easy way to achieve this is by checking out your competitors and see which social networks they are using so you can get a better understanding of where your new potential customers are hanging out.
What type of content will your target audience find useful?
The type of content that you share on your social networks is very important. The aim of the content should provide useful and helpful information, the goal is not to create a sales pitch but to create content which your customer wants to read or view (video / images) and share with their own social friends. If you wanted to inform your customers by social networks about a new products or service which you offering you can do this in many different ways, you can highlight the advantages of your product or service and also offer a limited discount for anyone who quotes a special discount code when purchasing your product or service. The aim is to add value to your social content and entice your customer to share this content with their own social friends.
What keyword phrases would like to target?
It is important to target a specific set of keyword phrases which relate directly to the types of products and services you provide. These keywords can be used in your social content but also work hand-in-hand with your organic search listing strategies. Social networks give you the ability to hash tag (#) your posts, in essence a hash tag is simply a method of categorising your content which you post on social networks. When you hash tag (categorise) your content it makes it easier for social network users to find your content.
Have you checked out your competitors?
When creating a social network marketing strategy it is a good idea to go and check out what your competitors are doing. I don’t mean you should go and check your competitors and copy what they are doing but you can get a better understanding of how they’re using social networks to drive traffic (potential customers) to go website and generate more sales. You should always try to be creative and unique so you can distinguish yourself from your competitors. If possible try to create a wide range of content types such as image-based content, video content, audio content (pod casts), written article content, tutorials (how-to content) and competitions.
social networks such as Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest give you the ability to brand your social network account. You should aim to keep your design, colour scheme and branding consistent throughout all of the different social networks. By keeping a consistent branding your customers will find it easier to recognise your business which is important when web users are visiting different social networks.
Which social networks should I sign up to?
There are many social networks which can be used to promote your business. Below I have listed the most common social networks and giving you a brief description of how to use the social networks within your business social marketing campaign:
Google+ is one of the new social networks which was released a few years ago. It provides you with a method of attracting new customers by posting messages, videos and images which should entice your customers to click and visit your website or view content directly on Google plus.
Google+ allows you to add your branding and the cover image which you should design and ensure you add key contact information such as your website address, telephone and e-mail if required. You should aim to post social content on a regular basis which will keep social followers coming back to view more useful content.
Google+ also allows you to create a community, in essence this is simply a community where you and other users who have joined your community can post social content based around a specific subject. You should aim to create a community which is related to the type of business knowledge you have so the content and the members of the community are all communicating around a given subject.
Unlike other social networks Google+ has a feature called hangout which is allows you to create a conference call online with other people in your social follower groups (aka google+ Circles). hangout is a great tool which can be used for both internal and external communication and best of all it’s free!
You can sign up to Google+ for business at the following URL: http://www.google.com/+/business/
you can view my own Google+ business page at the following URL where you can see I’ve posted various types of social content which includes images, articles and useful video tutorials: https://plus.google.com/+dcpwebcouk
Facebook was one of the first social networks created and is still very popular today. Facebook offers a user to create a personal account but also gives businesses a dedicated business Facebook page which is where you can start posting business related social media content.
It is important that you sign up to the correct type of Facebook page is Facebook offers different types of pages depending on the type of business you have. Facebook and Google+ function in a very similar way in terms of the type of content you can post. Visit the link below for a free step by step guide on how to create a Facebook Business Page: https://www.dcpweb.co.uk/blog/how-to-create-a-facebook-business-page-october-2013-update/
You can view my business Facebook page at the following URL: https://www.facebook.com/dcpwebdesigners
Twitter is a social network website which allows you to post brief messages which should be short and concise. The idea is to have a messaging system which allows you to post social messages which can link to other content such as an article, a product, a service or video. Twitter also allows you to upload images and videos directly into your twitter post. Twitter uses the hash tag system which allows you to categorise your posts. You can also embed videos directly from your YouTube channel, I often do this when I want to distribute my video tutorials on twitter.
You can sign up to twitter by using this link: https://twitter.com/
You can view my business Twitter page at the following URL: https://twitter.com/dcpwebdesigners
Pinterest is one of the latest social networks operates differently to Facebook and Google+. Pinterest allows you to create boards, you can then pin images to your boards. You can think of boards as categories and Pinterest. You can pin images by uploading them Pinterest or you can pin images directly from your website by pasting in a URL where the image is located. Other users of Pinterest can re-pin your pins which will then be displayed on their boards. I have used Pinterest to showcase different types of design work that I’ve done for my clients. For example are created a board which showcases logo designs, but also created another separate board which showcases website designs. Like many other social networks Pinterest also allows you to follow other users. You should take note that when you sign up to Pinterest you need to create a business account.
You can sign up to Pinterest by using this link: http://business.pinterest.com/
You can view my business Pinterest page at the following URL: http://www.pinterest.com/dcpwebdesigners/
YouTube is a popular video social network. YouTube allows you to upload videos to your own business channel. People visiting YouTube can share, comments or like your video. You should aim to create helpful and interesting videos which entice people to comment and share. Try the theme your video content around the type of industry your business is established in. You can connect your Youtube channel to your Google+ account making it easier for people to find your videos on both Google+ and youtube. I often upload tutorial-based videos to YouTube and then share them on my other social networks such as Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. All three of these social networks allow you to embed your YouTube videos directly into your social messages. Note if you create a Google+ business page then you can use the same logins to create your YouTube channel so not sign up using a separate!
You can sign up to YouTube by using the following URL: https://accounts.google.com/SignUp?service=youtube
if you already have a Google+ account then you do not need to sign up to you to you can simply login using the following URL and start your YouTube Channel: https://accounts.google.com/ServiceLogin?continue=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com
below I have listed some useful tutorials which show you how to embed YouTube videos into you your social network messages:
How to add a YouTube video to your Facebook business page timeline:
How to share a YouTube video on Google+ business page
How to add a Youtube videos to your business Twitter page timeline
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and if you have any questions feel free to post a message below.
Article created by: DCP Website Designers in London
Subscribe to our newsletter to receive an e-mail once a month with our latest video tutorials, blog articles and web design special offers!
Are you using any of the popular social networks such as Google+, You Tube, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn? Add us to your Social Network account and get special offers exclusive to our Social Network Followers!