Social media marketing is a top priority for Startups and Small Businesses, as coming up with a winning social media marketing strategy is a great way to compete with bigger companies. In the past, reaching an audience of millions was only possible for well-known brands with big-time budgets. But today’s budget-conscious SMEs don’t have to splurge on primetime TV spots or glossy magazines; they can reach their consumers where they tend to spend most of their time – on social media.
The one-size-fits-all, bigger-is-better marketing strategies of previous generations have disappeared. The giant electronic billboards that once loomed over cities in futuristic films have been rendered obsolete by personal pocket-sized devices. We’re living in a world of highly efficient, highly targeted mobile engagement. This is the world of social media marketing.
Social media marketing isn’t simply blasting potential customers with ads on their favourite channels. It’s about building relationships, creating long-term value, and providing great service. When businesses engage customers and potential customers on social media, they should remember that they’re entering a space that the customer likes to hang out in – so it’s important to seamlessly fit into that space.
Businesses should carefully fine-tune their social media strategy so as to be non-intrusive. A successful social media strategy will provide a blueprint for engaging the 3.8 billion people that use social media, and discovering who might swipe right on your company.
Marketing has come a long way since the days of water-cooler chats about the latest big ads. The marketer’s target is no longer the cultural consciousness, but rather their ideal consumer. They now want to communicate, not deliver monologues. And they want to build long-term relationships, not drive one-off purchases.
The right messaging will help you reach your ideal customer. But you also need to segment your audience, discover their favourite channels and find out where you can add value. In other words, you need a social media marketing strategy.
When you sit down to figure out your SME social marketing strategy, there are a few things you’ll want to focus on first:
What are your short and long-term business goals? How can you craft a paid social media marketing strategy to meet these goals?
What is your messaging? A company’s ethos is extremely important with the younger generations that frequent social media channels. Creating a values-driven campaign is a good way to engage meaningfully with your audience.
What channels will you use? Where does your audience hang out? How can you best utilise each of those channels?
How can you tailor your content to the strengths of each channel? For instance, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook all have different interfaces and require different content strategies.
How will you measure results? Once you’ve decided exactly whom you’d like to target, where you’d like to target them, and what message you want to present, you need to be able to see how effective your strategy is. Salesforce’s Social Studio can help businesses see if their audience is listening – and what they might be saying.
How can you engage your audience? Ask and answer questions, offer customer service through social media channels, and create relevant and engaging content. Is your social media marketing strategy aligned with your branding? And how will you deal with negativity on your social media channels?
The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped social media marketing in unforeseen ways. Empathetic communication is a must, and socially conscious messaging is paramount. When marketing experts look at a post-pandemic world, many see values-driven marketing as being a cornerstone of social media marketing strategies. This is especially important since Facebook’s algorithm now prioritises meaningful conversations.
Another cornerstone of successful social media marketing is tech. The use of tools such as AI, AR and chatbots will continue to rise. Brands are also leaning more on live video, influencers and ‘stories’ to reach their audience. Boosting the user experience with high-tech tools can improve the customer experience and better amplify your voice.
With so many amazing new tools – and a tech-savvy audience just waiting to be engaged – the future of social media marketing is bright. Just shape up your social media marketing strategy, think creatively, get the messaging right, and then head out to socialise.
For more information on how SMEs can find success in the new landscape, download the 4th edition of the Small & Medium Business Trends Report.