Most articles you come across today – including ours – focus on the “how” of social media marketing. They talk about countless tactics, readily available tools, tricks and tips, and in general focus on “how” you can engage your audiences and followers more and more.
What we would like to focus on in this article are the “why”, “what”, and “who” elements of social media – or digital – marketing. In other words, why are you getting into social media marketing to begin with? “What” are you trying or hoping to gain by doing so? “Who” are your target audiences, or better yet, who should they be? “Why” should they follow your page, and why will that be of benefit to them and to your brand?
With no doubt, social media marketing is the “now” and the “future”. But so was print advertising a few decades ago. Similar to back then, having lots of print ads in popular magazines and newspapers isn’t really the goal of advertising. As was the case then, advertising and communication programs need to produce tangible and quantifiable results. Those are preferably measured in the form of sales and profits, customer loyalty, repeat business, referrals, and what have you.
So before you plunge into your “so-much-more-fun” social media marketing activities, here are a few thoughts to ponder before you get started.
Why are you marketing?
You need to have a very concrete answer to this question, whether you’re about to market digitally or traditionally. Are you trying to increase your brand awareness level? Or are you aiming at increasing sales by acquiring new customers or boosting your volumes by up-selling or cross-selling to existing ones? A combination of both (or more) perhaps?
Whatever your reasons are, you need to know what your goals are and equally important, be able to quantify them. This is the only way you will be able to determine whether those JDs you have invested are producing a reasonable ROI. Like we always say, unless there’s a bank somewhere that’ll cash in your “likes”, they aren’t really all that great for your business’ performance. And even if your goal is to increase brand awareness, at some point you’ve got to measure the extent that improved at.
To whom are your marketing?
If Facebook was a country, it’d be the largest nation on the planet in terms of number of citizens. While this is absolutely great and presents endless opportunities, you can’t possibly think you would want to advertise to people of all walks of life in each country, right? Besides that fact that this would cost you a fortune, it would hardly be possible to monetize your marketing, whether you’re in the B2C or B2B sphere.
Foremost all, you need to determine your target groups’ demographics and interests amongst many other factors. So for example, which age groups do you want to connect with? Where do they live? What are their interests? Are they married or single? Do they have children? What is the range of household income you’re targeting?
This is where you will “profile” your target customer (or follower) in the smallest detail. Some brands have gone as far as creating life-sized illustrations of people with callouts about their ages, genders, behaviors, etc. to serve as a constant reminder for the entire team about whom they need to reach out to.
What do they need and want?
Now that you have profiled your target group(s), you need to determine what makes them click on that action-button to read more, download something, subscribe to your mailing list, or better yet make a purchase. In other words, what are the problems for which they need solutions?
This is where your copywriter’s well-crafted key messages play a critical role. But you have to be careful here. Just because you are able to reach the groups you want to reach doesn’t mean they’ll react to your ad. This is particularly the case if your message is too self-centered and sales-driven.
They key in effective social media marketing is sharing quality content. So your messages will ideally focus not necessarily on your products or services themselves, but articulate the benefits customers will gain by using them, and which of course correspond to what they need and want; solving specific challenges and problems.
When do you reach them?
The beauty of Facebook and most social networks is that they allow you to design your campaigns and ads with built-in tools that will ensure your messages reach your target audiences just at the right time. Hence, before you begin your communication tactics, you really need to get familiarized with the various management tools your social channels of choice are placing at your disposal (for free).
Depending on what you’re promoting, you may choose your ads (or boosted posts) to appear more frequently between 9-11 PM if you are promoting a vacation destination for example. After all, you will want parents to read your offering after they’ve had dinner, tucked in their kids, and are now spending some time online to read and be entertained.
At the same token, if you’re running a restaurant that specializes in healthy meals that are delivered to offices, you might want to intensify your ads around 11 AM, which is when many people start to get hungry and contemplate their lunch plans.
How will you convert them?
If your objective is to convert likes and followers to paying customers, you need to ponder your “conversion” mechanism. In other words, where and how will you entice someone to pull out his/her credit card and place and actual order?
Facebook and other channels are hardly the ideal place to close a sale. This is where your website will most probably come in handy. So before you launch your massive social media campaign through which you’re hoping for people to book and pay for their next vacation online, is your website ready to receive incoming visitors who are ready and willing to make a purchase? Is you payment mechanism safe and secure? If that process is non-existent or not convenient enough, they’ll move on and go somewhere else, most likely to a competitor.
But your primary objective may of course very likely be not driven by sales. Perhaps you only want your brand’s recall to increase drastically, or spread awareness about a particular humanitarian cause. Regardless of what you motives are, something has to happen next. As such, if closing a sale is not what you’re interested in, you may want people to do some serious research about that humanitarian cause.
Again, your website must be enriched with credible and valuable content so visitors stay on your site and go through several pages before they exit. At this point, you definitely want to make sure there’s a specific call-for-action they’ll complete, such as downloading an eBrochure or signing up for your newsletter. It’ll not only help you in staying in touch with them more intimately, but also provide you with very valuable tracking tools about your website’s performance.
What comes next?
Now that you’ve established the answers to all the above (you built your digital marketing strategy), you can unleash your creativity and design activation campaigns, incentives, and a host of online activities that will produce just the results you identified and desire. But now, you’re doing this all in a much more focused approach which will produce significantly better results, and that at a much lower cost and amount of energy and effort.
Happy social media marketing!
About the Author
Pinnacle Business & Marketing Consulting is a results-driven boutique consulting firm that specializes in providing clients with practical and pragmatic solutions to their business and marketing challenges.
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