The increasing traffic on social media platforms, and decreasing traffic on traditional forms of media has created a new realm of marketing opportunity for small businesses and corporations. Television companies are having to compete more and more with companies like Netflix, and with the rise of music apps like Spotify the amount of people listening to radio is also decreasing.
Social media platforms like Instagram and facebook have become the norm for daily entertainment, news, and personal communication. Businesses looking to use social media as a marketing and lead generation tool need to do more than post pictures. It can be hard for a business to appeal to users on social media.
A well thought out social media strategy is vital to any social campaign. In this article, we will outline the important elements that should be included in every social media marketing plan.
Coming up with a Game Plan
Social media marketing is a difficult field of marketing for businesses to use, and it is important that a business goes into the social media realm with a defined content plan and conversion map before creating any posts.
Developing a content map and identifying brand voice before starting a social media campaign is the best way to ensure social media pages continue to see growth and convert users into sales.
A content plan identifies what types of content will be shared on a social media page and outlines the types of media that will be shared, the aesthetic direction, and brand voice. A conversion map breaks down how the content will channel users to eventually turning into sales or leads.
The Base Layer of a Content/Conversion Map
The core of every successful social media marketing strategy is the content. The content is the story of a business, the voice, and the creative that draws users in. Creating a content map will make it easier to develop content over time, and will ensure that all social platforms are consistent with a brands voice.
At the foundation of a content map are the financial assets, company mission/desired brand voice, and target audience. All of these factors determine what type of content a business should produce.
The amount of money a business is willing to put into social media will determine the quality and quantity of posts. On the lower end, still images taken by employees may be all that a company’s budget allows. Whereas on the high end, some companies may invest in high production photography/video dedicated for the purpose of social media.
A companies brand voice will play a huge role in the direction of the content. Defining who it is a business wants to be in the eyes of the users is a big part of a content map. Regardless of the industry, a brands voice through social media will help people connect with a brand, and understand a company more.
Most businesses understand their target audience, but do they understand what their audience wants to see on social media? Defining who it is you are appealing to, as well as what they are looking for on social media provides insight as to what content to post. If a large portion of a companies target audience is ages 50-65, then the content needs to appeal to the people of that generation.
The Mid Tier
Once a companies social media marketing assets have been outlined, a company can decide on what content to produce. Content on social media should be varied, and include a mixture of photography, video, giveaways, promotions, collaborations, custom copy, and features. Depending on the parameters of the foundation of the content map, a business may choose to do certain content more than others.
Photography is perhaps the easiest, most affordable, and effective way for a company to create content. It is important to create an aesthetic/style that speaks the brands voice, and also matches the rest of the content that will be created in the future. It is important to focus more on entertainment, rather than promotion, since users are on social media for entertainment purposes.
Video can be a little more challenging than photography, and companies may choose to leave video production to the professionals. Others may decide to get a set of equipment, and have someone create content in house. Many companies have been successful in creating natural, vlog style content, and have received great engagement. It is important to know what it takes to create an effective video before going into production.
A great way to jumpstart a social media page is to offer a giveaway/promotion. The most effective promotions are usually carried out in collaboration with social media pages with an existing large following. Offering items for free gets the attention of users, and can help in earning legitimacy and respect within the social media community.
Collaborations & Features
Having connections within the social media community will take a company page to the top fast. Pairing up with another large brand to create content is a great way to promote a growing page. Businesses should try to partner with as many partner companies as possible to promote each other, creating a net of channels that benefit each other.
Being featured on different company pages will channel in new followers. Using the hashtags of companies/pages that are relative to the content being created can lead to new connections, which may result in a post being shared by another larger page.
Sometimes the easiest thing a business can do is create a short snippit of engaging text. Creative, witty posts are great for platforms like facebook and twitter. Big brands like mcdonalds and wendys often battle back and forth on social media, like a texting war, all to entertain social media users.
The Top Tier
All of these posts, all to entertain, when does the money come in you ask? At the top of the cake, there are three pieces that all content funnel into. They are Brand awareness, traffic, and direct sales. The content that is created should be designed and arranged in a way that benefits all three of these elements.
Out of every marketing resource, social media is perhaps the best, most affordable way to build a brand. Over time, general brand awareness will lead to perhaps the largest portion of direct sales/leads. Users may not convert from the first post, but over time they will develop an understanding of a company, and are more likely to convert to sales as time goes on.
Web traffic, storefront traffic, and everything in between. Clickable links on social media are a great way to channel users to a website with a lander page. From the lander, users may convert directly into sales, or continue to explore a company website. Web traffic is great for SEO, as well as brand awareness. If a business has a store front, social media posts can be directed to influence users to take a trip to the storefront. The mid tier content should be optimized to channel users to convert into some form of traffic.
Icing on top, a finished cake
Traffic, and brand awareness will eventually lead to direct sales. By creating a content map, a business will be able to identify the steps a user goes through on social media from the time they see a post, to the time they go to purchase a product or become a lead. A social media marketing strategy can be refined over time to have a better funneling process, as well as to create more direct content specific to a target audience. Implementing a content and conversion map is the best way to ensure that a social media marketing strategy stays consistent, and uniform.