If your social media plan for 2016 did not meet expectations, don’t despair! Social media marketing is a process that goes through trial and error, ups and downs, hits and misses. Even the most experienced social media marketers have designed campaigns that crash and burned. With 2016 winding to a close, it’s best to train your sights to 2017.
At this point, reflect on your social media strategy in 2016 and identify where you went wrong. But don’t be too hard on yourself! Social media is a dynamic activity that is constantly changing. Everyday there are literally billions of people posting, sharing and engaging within all the different social media communities.
How would you know which post or share would become viral? People react to content differently. It could start with one share then another before it gains momentum like a snowball down an alpine mountain.
So is a successful social media strategy a random, thoughtless act that is merely a case of being posted at the right time at the right network? Before you leave the fate of your campaign to the gods, understand that social media has evolved from a pastime to an important component in the digital marketing strategy toolbox.
Randomly posting content without rhyme or reason will not get your social media strategy on track in 2017. When it comes to using social media for business, you must approach it with thought, strategy and purpose. In short, you must have a plan.
Here are actionable tips you can use for your social media plan in 2017:
1. Identify the End Goal of Your Journey. How would you know where to start if you don’t know where you are going to go? If you got inside your car and drove without an idea of your destination, you’ll end up wasting valuable resources by driving around in circles.
In the context of business, you should not just post in social media without basis. You must have a purpose in everything that you do in social media. The activities you undertake must move you closer toward achieving your goals.
Thus when designing your social media plan for 2017, start by identifying your goals.
Here are a few examples of typical goals for social media:
· Increase sales by 50%
· Improve brand image
· Drive 50% inbound traffic
· Increase customer engagement by 60%
· Expand my network and base of followers by 40%
· Improve conversion rate by 50%
For example, if you want to increase customer engagement you could do what The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Singapore did and invite followers to play its online emoji-based games.
2. Create Your Buyer Persona. Once you have identified your goals, it is time to shift your focus and figure out whom your social media plan needs to target.
The cool thing about social media is that as an Internet- based marketing tool, you can pinpoint your target audience with laser-like accuracy.
By way of comparison, what do you do with the flyers someone hands out to you when you enter a mall? Do you:
a.) Throw it in the nearest trash receptacle?
b.) Glance at it then throw it in the nearest trash receptacle?
c.) Read it then proceed to the indicated destination of the flyer?
2 out of 3 possibilities have the flyer ending inside a trash receptacle. In the 3rd option, while you may go to the destination there is no guarantee you would patronize its products and services.
Social media and other forms of online marketing function differently. You don’t push collateral to your market. Instead you create content that pulls them toward your business.
Before we can even discuss how to craft great content, you must first identify your target market. You can do this by creating a Buyer’s Persona which is simply a profile of your potential end user.
In order to make a Buyer’s Persona, you have to gather information on the following:
· Online Behavior
· Common Issues and Concerns
· Frequently Viewed Content
· Most Popular Point of Origin
Social media itself provides great sources of information for your Buyer’s Persona. Networks such as Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram have analytics that can provide you with all the important data you need to create a Buyer’s Persona.
3. Focus on Consistently Delivering Great Content. How do you know you’ve come across great content in social media? It makes you want to read it through.
Statistically, 55% of readers spend only 15 seconds viewing content. So if you are reading this, thank you very much!
But what makes content great? According to Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines, your content must subscribe to the following:
· Write like an expert.
· Provide great user experience.
· Create high volume of content.
· Reference credible and reputable sources.
· Provide fresh and unique content.
Content will continue to make a strong impact in social media in 2017. Although blogging is considered the centerpiece of the content marketing process, it is not the only medium you should use:
· Images – How important are images when delivering content? 90% of the information we receive is from visual content and our minds process it 60,000 times faster than text.
There are many types of visual aids or images you can use such as Infographics, charts and social graphics.
· Video – Did you know that including video on your landing page can increase the conversion rate by 80%? Also, 64% of site visitors will buy a product after watching its video online!
The statistics on the benefits of using video are highly encouraging that companies are increasing their marketing budgets to accommodate video-delivered content.
· Podcasts – Another medium that is growing in popularity is the podcast. From 2015 to 2016, the audience for podcasts grew by 23%.
One key reason for the popularity of podcasts is that it is driven by mobile gadgets. 64% of podcast listeners use the smart phone or a tablet.
4. Set Aside a Budget for Social Media. If by this section of the article you are still not convinced by the power of social media as a vehicle to drive your business to the next level, we’d like to share with you the story of Singapore Airlines.
Singapore Airlines is the flagship carrier of Singapore and generates US$10.5 Billion in revenue every year.
In 2016, in an effort to improve online conversions, Singapore Airline released its first native social media brand video. The company set aside a huge budget to develop the video which featured intricately designed paper models of its A380 Air Bus.
The end result was a massive success for Singapore Airlines. The video generated more than 30 Million views on YouTube and Facebook, reached 161,000 fans, was shared 1,300 times and has been featured or blogged about at least 33 times.
Thus if a giant like Singapore Airlines can see the value of social media why shouldn’t you?
The fact is, social media is here to stay and will continue to grow in popularity and influence in 2017 and beyond. If you want your social media plan for 2017 to succeed, you must be prepared to invest in it.
5. Design for Mobile. Chances are, 65% of you are reading this article from a smart phone. This is because 65% of online traffic now come from mobile gadgets.
A more compelling statistic is that 80% of time spent on mobile gadgets is allocated to social media.
Regardless of the estimate, what is clear is that mobile will remain the gadget of choice over the next 5 years.
When you are planning for your social media strategy for 2017, make sure that it is accessible by mobile gadgets. Make sure your website is mobile responsive, fast to download and searchable by multiple browsers.
Lastly, keep trying! As we mentioned at the start, social media is an ever- evolving activity. It does not remain stagnant. Keep track of your analytics and periodically assess the performance of your social media strategy. Analytics will help you find the weak points of your strategy and give you empirical basis for instituting new courses of action.
It is very important to have an open mind and acknowledge flaws in strategy design. These flaws may not be of your doing but merely a consequence of a dynamic market.
Social media marketing for business growth presents many unique challenges but these are nothing that you cannot overcome.
As long as you remain committed to the process and convinced of the value of social media marketing, you will arrive at the end of your journey triumphant with goals accomplished!
If you enjoyed this article as much as we did writing it and would like to learn more about social media marketing, please visit us at www.trvcreative.com. We’re always up for a chat! We can give you a free quotation on social media marketing services.
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It is never too late to start a social media marketing campaign even though 2017 is just around the corner!