Social media marketing does not revolve with just the content itself, but also its delivery. For what good is high quality content if you can't deliver it to your audience consistently and effectively?
In this how-to guide, you'll learn how to craft a social media content marketing plan that can help you achieve your business goals.
1. Think How Your Customers Think
A common mistake among beginner entrepreneurs is defining their target customer within such traditional limiting parameters as age, gender, marital status, place of residence, etcetera.
In this information age, people don't fall for the usual marketing tricks anymore- instead, they put more premium on the "experience" that a brand/company can give them. For example, AirBnb gives you the experience of companionship and a cheap place to sleep in during your travels. Uber gives you the experience of having a reliable and hassle-free ride wherever and whenever you want. These companies have banked on an original idea that they're sure that people will love.
As such, there's a huge chance that your customers will come from diverse backgrounds. A more efficient approach here is to put yourself in your customers' shoes. What are the reasons why a particular would be interested in your product? How would they go about deciding whether to buy your product or not? What are the factors that can influence them on their decision?
2. Measure The Numbers
Concrete goals are the best goals. This is the reason why identifying your social media campaign's KPIs is important- you'll be able to gauge or measure the success of your marketing efforts in numerical terms and tweak your strategy as needed.
Here's an example. Let's say you want to build a larger Facebook community around your brand--- so you decided to create a private Facebook group for your customers. The metrics to measure here include the number of group members that you have, your group's growth rate (per unit time), the number of posts made each day, how much engagement is being made on the discussions and the content that you put out, etc.
If you're trying to increase brand awareness on your social media channels on the other hand, you might want to measure how many impressions, mentions, and shares you receive on a daily or weekly basis, as well as the number of followers and profile visits that you have.
3. Choose The Right Social Network
The more social networks you're on, the better, right?
Yes and no. Targeting every single social network on the Internet today is not the best strategy if you want a coherent social media campaign. Your usual customers wouldn't be scattered evenly across these networks anyway- they would be congregated around a few choice ones.
So it's up to you to identify the networks that you want to focus the bulk of your energy on. Check out the network demographics and audience reciprocity of each, and make your choice. Here's a rundown of the web's most popular social networks:
Facebook, with its 1.86 billion users, is the usual top contender among social networks. Baby boomers, Gen Xers, millennials- they're are all on there- making it the perfect all-in-one platform if you want to cast a wide net at the start of your campaign.
Twitter on the other hand has a younger demographic. On some respects, it has a more casual feel than Facebook. It takes a little bit more creativity to get your message across with its 280-character limit.
Instagram users are predominantly young females, and it's basically the home platform of the arts and fitness crowds.
LinkedIn is the most "formal" among these networks, preferring long-form articles and professionally-produced content over the more informal feel of other more popular networks.
4. Ask People What Kind of Content They Want To See
You can do your research through through the old-school, focus group way, or you could get right into the heart of the action by directly asking your audience what it is they want to see from your brand. Run a Twitter poll, use Google Forms, create surveys- or maybe just post a status with the question (you can incentivize them to answer by offering prizes or coupons).
Another way of doing research is by looking at what your competitors are doing. However, it should be noted that what works for your competitors might not work for you despite the fact that you are all in the same niche with roughly the same target audience. You should be making your own unique approach to marketing, and not merely copying the way others do theirs.
5. Plan Your Content
This is where the when, where, what and how of your content marketing strategy will come into play. What are the kinds of content that you want to produce (articles, videos, infographics, live video, animations)? When will you publish them? WHERE will you publish them (Facebook, LinkedIn, your own website)? How will you go about making them?
List down all of these things, and decide how you will schedule them. Create a content calendar (with all the deadlines clearly outlined) and stick to it religiously.
6. Maintain and Measure
The defining word in social media marketing is SOCIAL. Engagement is a two-way street. You talk to people, and people will talk to you. The more that your audience sees you active and open on social media, the more likely they will engage with you and buy your products. You can even use social media to make potential customers turn into buying customers faster than traditional channels. Marketing on social media networks is very different from traditional marketing, due to its more "personal" and more "human" feel than, say, flyers, newspapers ads, and other forms of old-school marketing.
Once you've got your marketing campaign groove going, it's time to measure your progress. Using the KPIs you've earlier identified, take a step back and see if you're improving or not. You can use Google Analytics or other analytics tool to see how well you're reaching out, and from there you can make changes to your approach if need be. The important thing here is that you keep on moving forward, and even if you made a few mistakes, you'll be able to learn from the experience and improve yourself and your marketing chops along the way.