5 hot tips for targeting your social media marketing

sm_4_20There is a lot talked about social media, and the fact that it has made it easy to get you message out  to a wide audience at virtually zero marginal cost. But just because its cheap and easy doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do! Lets face it, you can buy a DVD containing millions of e-mail addresses for a few dollars, and send emails to them all at very low cost, but there is a name for that kind of marketing – SPAM. As with e-mail, to use social media properly and professionally it needs to be targeted, and your output needs to offer relevance and value to your target audience. With this in mind, here are 5 hot tips for targeting your social media marketing:

  1.  Different platforms have different, strengths & weaknesses. Use these to target our message. For example – Pinterest is a totally visual medium, so its great f your product is visual, and your content has great imagery, but if your message is predominantly in written form, maybe pinterest can be put to one side. And remember, there are hundreds of social media platforms out there, and for you MOST of them are irrelevant!
Just because a social platform exists doesn't mean you have to use it!
  1. Think about where you audience hangs out and focus your attentions there: The best example of this is demonstrated by the difference between LinkedIn and Facebook. Whilst LinkedIn is predominantly used by people in their professional lives, Facebook usage is primarily social, so consider this when thinking about where your target contacts hang out.
When considering your targeting - As a rule of thumb B2B: think LinkedIN - B2C: think Facebook
  1. When considering your targeting, don’t just think about your direct customers: Whilst your direct customers are obviously key as they are the ones who place orders & hand over their cash, don’t forget that you are not working in isolation, thus engaging with other people in your market who influence your customers decisions is also vital to a good marketing mix.
When thinking about who to target don't forget about influencers like bloggers & press
  1. If you aren’t sure, Experiment: Going back to my original point; the marginal cost of using Social Media is very low. Whilst this doesn’t give you a licence to not target/plan your activities, it does mean that you can experiment. If you have an idea about what might work and engage with your audience, but are not sure if it will work, then experiment and try things out.
When trying things out, before you jump in, decide how you are going to measure success and how long you are willing to commit to the experiment
  1. Integrate your Social Media with other marketing: Which ever media you use, and however you target your activities, remember to join it up with other activities (website, email, offline marketing etc). Very often, the real benefits of social media activity are seen through synergies with other activities.
Good Marketing is always joined-up Your social media activities are no different

Social Media – Do I have to?

Social_media_do_i_have_toListen to some people and you’d think that Social Media is the only game in town when it come to marketing but hold on a second; let’s just take a deep breath, count to ten and ask the question:

Social Media - Do I have to?

…and the short answer: an emphatic No! Social Media is just another way of communicating with your market – just another marketing tool – or perhaps more accurately a suite of tools. Effective marketing needs a strategic plan and part of the planning process is to decide what communication tools you want to use and how you plan to use them. I’m not going into the detail of marketing planning here, a quick search in our blog or on Google will throw up all sorts of info, but I want to look at some of the considerations you might like to take when deciding about Social Media for your business.

You must be committed.

As with any marketing activity, you must be ready to stick at it. I have heard people say it’s great to use Social Media because it is quick and easy. I disagree. It might be easy to publish content on Twitter or wherever but planning what you want to say and how you want to say it takes thought and time. If you start to use Social Media without a plan, the chances are that the programme will fail.

Think of your audience

Every business has a market that falls into 2 distinct groups:

  1. People you know
  2. People you don’t know

For people you know, these days you will hopefully have their email addresses so you can communicate with them directly. If you are doing nothing else, you should be keeping in touch with the people you know and building awareness and relationships. Let’s face it, if you don’t keep in touch with the people you know, getting to know new people is a bit of a waste of time unless you happen to be able to do business immediately – which these days is the exception rather than the rule. My advice is that, if nothing else, focus on your website where you can build an archive of content and then use email as a way of letting contacts know about new content that may be of interest. Having historic content on your site as well gives visitors the opportunity to browse and thsi content can also be useful for referral when you are dealing with specific enquiries.

Use Social Media to leverage your comms

The main limitation with what I say above is that if you don’t have an email address, you can’t communicate. Social Media is a great opportunity to leverage your contact with the people you know. By also engaging with known contacts on Social Media you have the chance to communicate with contacts of contacts. The downside of this approach is that you can’t know whether there is a fit between your business offering and these ‘second level’ contacts. It is important to consider your choice of Social Media platform(s) carefully (Take a look at this post for more on this) and aim to make your Social Media Joined up with your other marketing (Blog, E-news etc)

So, do I have to?

As with all marketing – and business in general – success normally comes from planning and it is up to you what you include in your plan so, as I started, No, you don’t have to use Social Media… …But I think you exclude it at your peril! Do contact me if you’d like to look at joined-up, integrated Social Media for your business.

The importance of consistency across social media

As with many things, the first few seconds and first impressions count. It is no different with social media. These days, businesses are judged on their social media channels. If they’re not well kept and up to date, it’s highly likely your visitor will soon navigate away without exploring in any depth, let alone following or liking your posts! There are a number of things to bear in mind in order to remain consistent across social media platforms. Here are my top 3:

Clear company branding

Whilst it may seem obvious to add the company logo and other relevant imagery, it is important that they are clear and of the correct resolution. Don’t, whatever you do, add a background picture, see that it is blurry and think “that’ll do“. FIND A GOOD PICTURE! When making changes to social media accounts, do so from a desktop as opposed to a phone or tablet. Whilst an image may look good on a phone, it won’t when blown up on a desktop social media site.

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Standard practice is for the company logo as the “profile picture” and anything business orientated, such as your building or work, as the “background picture
You should try to replicate this across all the platforms you use. However, don’t feel you have to be on every social media site going.

A consistent message

As with your logo’s and branding, you should aim to get your message out to as many people as possible. For example, if you have a presence on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, you should always post your content out to all of them where possible and not let any platform drift. Everyone has different preferences when it comes to social media platforms. By posting your message out onto more than one, you engage with more people – but make sure you focus on platforms that are relevant to your target audience If you are posting a text-only message on social media, it is unlikely to be appropriate for image-based sites such as Pinterest and Instagram. Try to add an image to go with your text and link. This way you don’t neglect the image based social media.

Tone

You will be judged on what you say and do, so it is important that your message comes across in the right way. A little light humour or fun posts mixed with your content and other industry content is often a good thing. If it is appropriate for your business, then it can be a great way of increasing engagement. Whatever posts you make, it is important that they are interesting and consistent. Conflicting messages will only serve to confuse your readers, which harms your overall brand. Regular, fresh content goes a long way to successful social media feeds.

The power of social media

In 2016, most people and businesses now recognise the power that social media can have and most are embracing it. The motivation for getting social media right for your business shouldn’t simply come from a short term desire to deliver leads and business. Whilst generating new business opportunities are always important, Social media should primarily be about developing you brand, demonstrating your expertise and engaging with your market.