Social media has led to permanent changes in the way that people connect. The Internet has become a large marketplace of personalities, all able to connect, learn, discover, and most of all share all the information they find. Social media creates platforms through technology that allow us to network with each other in a relaxed way. On a personal level it helps people build relationships. For commercial enterprise it can be used to build business, foster repeat business, and best of all bring new customers forward through the very nature of sharing, which has become more important than ever with the advent of modern technology. All if this can help you and your business greatly. But you have to know more than the ‘why’ when it comes to getting the results you want. By taking Udemy’s Social Media Marketing Classroom course you can learn the ‘how’ of social media marketing. Getting that functional knowledge under your belt can open up the doors to even greater opportunity.
With the constant changes that take place with technology, it’s crucial that you stay up-to-date with the latest strategies, techniques, and social media campaigns. Here are some tips building and maintaining your own social media strategy throughout 2014 and beyond.
1. Select The Right Platform, Not the ‘Best’
There are a huge variety of social media platforms. Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram are only the best known. New social media sites are in development and get launched every day. Often the platforms are designed with a function in mind. YouTube is for sharing videos, Instagram is for pictures, and Facebook is highly community oriented. Just because they serve different functions doesn’t mean they serve the functions that are best for your business.
Take some time to search out the different platforms, including new ones with a smaller base and newer ideas. Find the ones that will serve you best. Once you’ve figured this out, choose only a small number to focus your campaign on, perhaps six in total. This way you or your team can focus on them with more precision. Overloading on platforms will only make your campaign suffer.
2. Use Analytical Tools to Maximize Your Presence
Many of the social media platforms offer built in analytical tools to monitor your work on their sites. These tools allow you to see what is being viewed and what is not. It can monitor what is shared and what is passed over. There are also third party programs that can monitor your social media campaign. Using a third party program is beneficial when you are campaigning over several platforms because they are able to condense the information into one analytical sheet.
The big trick here is to do more than just read the data. Having analysis of your campaigns is an important metric. But it is designed for application. Once you’ve read the data you need to translate it. What are you seeing that you don’t like? Do less of it. What are you seeing that you do like? Do more. Turning the analysis into action will allow your campaign to grow and change, which is very important to its success. If you want a better understanding of managing these numbers check out Udemy’s Course on Social Media Management Training. It can help you stay abreast of how to use these tools to your advantage.
3. Know When and How to Post
Every business is different. And the target markets are different as well. Because the Internet and its social media platforms are ‘open’ 24 hours a day, you need to know when exactly your clientele are on the Internet. If your market is hip, urban adults who stay out late and are on social media at two in the morning, you need to plan your posts to be ‘up top’ when they are looking. If you are in more traditional business you want to model your posting timetable to suit a 10 AM to 4 PM schedule. Do your research to find out when your targets are online. If you don’t you’ll spend a lot of time on a campaign that no one you are targeting sees.
As for what to post, the answer is pictures. The Internet is becoming more and more image oriented. In fact, studies have shown that more people are attracted to pictures than they are words. This even applies when it comes to graphic design elements such as infographics. Learning how to use great pictures along with any necessary copy language is the perfect way to get people the eye candy and information they want. This can increase the sharing of your campaign and it’s overall effectiveness.
Images are not limited to pictures either. You can use videos on most platforms (such as Vine or YouTube) for a more interactive experience. If you want to learn more, check out Udemy’s Social Media Marketing for Business course. It will get the ball rolling for you and your business when it comes to posting content on your various social media sites.
4. Remember Always: This is For Business
Most likely you already have an Internet presence. You might have a personal Facebook or Twitter account. You might use Instagram on a regular basis. You possibly even have your own YouTube page. This is great because it means you will already have an understanding of the software and technology going into a marketing campaign. However, your personal use of social media may not benefit a business campaign.
Remember that this is a business – its voice, drive, function, and overall viewpoint is going to be different from yours. Even though you may be the king or queen of ‘likes’ for your personal posts that may not translate into similar numbers for your campaign or business. Be mindful that this is a different beast than personal posting, and keep that in mind as you get started.
Because you are treating this as a business you may want to consider hiring a social media manager. This is becoming more and more common in the field of social media marketing. If you are the CEO of your company, even if it’s a start up with only small funds, you will be far better served by someone who is solely devoted to that focus. Of course, if that isn’t possible, then remember that you need to do everything that you can to build up your own skills in marketing, and those of your employees. Knowledge is power in the Internet marketing game.
Also be prepared to build alliances, especially with other businesses. This may feel counterintuitive in that you might be working with the competition, but the Internet works on an association basis and having strong bonds with similar companies, or companies that are related to yours can mean great and unexpected traffic. Here it’s about more than knowing the competition; working with everyone is part of the egalitarian nature of social media platforms. If you are open to alliances you might just get unexpected responses.
Lastly, make sure to build social media into your business plan. Don’t think of it as extraneous or unrelated to your overall goals. Set goals and timetables for your campaign. Doing this will help you see the effects or lack thereof, and prepare you to make changes should the need arise.
5. Make it Exciting, Seeable, and Definitely Shareable
Make sure that you – or your designated social media manager- is up to speed on what is being put up on the Internet. Find out what’s attractive to your target audience and make sure that you are creating your own campaign elements that match that desire. Do not copy what others are doing but learn from them.
It might seem simple enough to get people to pay attention, but it is actually extremely complicated. Look at posts that have gone viral; see what it is about those posts that make them stand out compared to the competition. Check in with friends, colleagues, and families and see what they are looking at, too.
Once you’ve figured out what will get people’s attention in your campaign, don’t forget to include offers. Make sure to reward people who follow your campaign. You should have allotted finances in your overall budget to make up for the revenue going out for specials and discounts. This is worth it. The people that follow you and that share your campaign are doing the footwork necessary to get your campaign seen. Take care of them and they will take care of you.
You will need to make ‘sharing’ your posts extremely easy as well. The social media marketing campaign needs to run with point and click ease. This means that you will need to include links and landing pages to your posts. This way when people share it can direct others not just to what they shared but also to your overall business. Remember that the easier it is to share, the more likely it will be shared.
Even with these points in mind, remember that your social media campaign is a marketing campaign and not a sales platform. You should have a website or store for that. A strong social media campaign builds great relationships with a customer base. It offers rewards and incentives. It entertains. But for actual sales and revenue, they’ll need to come to your store or website. If you use your campaign as a sales platform then you cut your target prematurely. And at the same time you change the nature of your social media campaign.
There is no directly successful method to a great social media marketing campaign, and there are many more tips out there besides these 5 that can benefit your 2014 campaign. There are many great marketing tools available that can help revolutionize your business. Any way you choose to do it, you have to remember that being in the know is the first step toward real success.
Whether you’re just starting out or you’re launching your next big campaign, it’s time to check out the Social Media Marketing 101 course, available from Udemy. It can help you get a handle on what can be done to create the most successful social media marketing campaign for your business in 2014. With the knowledge, tools, and game plan set you can use the Internet to your advantage and make the most out of this year, and years to come.