Developments are double-edged swords – they take you forward but can often overwhelm you and erase the past. In the last five years, social media has doubled its user base and moved from 2D stills to 3D video and Augmented Reality. Many marketers have forgotten the fundamental laws of social media marketing to make room for new tactics, platforms and their pursuit. This post is a recollection of the five most fundamental laws of social marketing that continue to apply to today’s scenario.
1. Social media success takes time
There are millions of information channels and platforms, and your audience can access them with ease. They can also switch channels in seconds or less and blindsight your communication just as easily. Given these circumstances, it becomes a real challenge for brands to connect with their audience and influence their purchase decisions.
According to a Social Media Examiner report, a social media presence can quickly earn you brand awareness, but hard goals like sales take time to manifest.
You need to consider what your goals are – awareness or sales? You can also have more specific goals like awareness of your employer brand or website visits. Once you have, it is important to design your social media marketing plan to further those specific goals. For instance, employer branding will require you to run an employee advocacy program and prominently display your company culture on your social media pages. If your goal is sales, you can use contests, ads to announce discounts and offers or a referral promotion program.
Looking at your social marketing efforts like a circuit can help. Ultimately, you are driving audience traffic – to your social media pages, website or your online store. Ensure that your circuit is compact and closed as far as possible to optimize your conversion efforts – minimize clicks by directing your audience to exactly the right pages, and display links to your social media pages prominently on your website, blog, newsletters and emails.
If you still aren’t seeing results, there could be a number of reasons why your social media pages aren’t converting.
2. Self proclamation can be lethal
Shopping doesn’t feature in the top five reasons why people use social media, so you can’t make hard sells and talk about yourself all the time on social.
What people do use social networks for is to catch up with friends, news and the latest happenings.
Many brands understandably make the mistake of sharing purely promotional posts on their social pages, as the traditional world of advertisement has taught us to do. In today’s world, you have to engage your audience and keep them on your pages, and that means less promotion and more situational and content based marketing.
To engage your audience, you need interesting and entertaining content. There are fan run pages on Facebook with greater than 10% reach and engagement. How is that possible when you struggle with a few likes and less that 1% reach?
Compare their content to yours and you’ll know.
The graphics on this page is so bad that I considered skipping it on this post, but you can clearly see that they are popular. As a brand you can’t post crappy graphics, but don’t let that distract you from the concept.
You can ease the pressure of creating content by curating excellent pieces created by peers or non-competing companies. You can use Twitter lists to follow top content creators or subscribe to the best newsletters in your industry. Content aggregator apps like Flipboard recommend content from top sources based on your interest and social media management apps like DrumUp also let you post to your pages from the recommendations it throws up.
Remember to mix business with pleasure on social networks and focus on personal interaction to respect the tone and spirit of social media.
3. People love being heard
The best conversationalist knows how to listen, and the skill is particularly valuable in today’s noisy world. Brands focus so much on outgoing content that many of them forget to acknowledge and interact with incoming comments/responses.
It is a tough job, considering that Facebook alone generates 4 new petabytes of data each day, according to their official records, and most brands are present on multiple social media platforms to reach different target groups.
You could use technology to selectively listen to and identify important conversations. Social media marketers call them social media monitoring tools. Some tools like Brandwatch or Mention even gauge the emotion associated with each post before sorting them as positive, negative or neutral.
You can monitor more than just your brand. You can also set up alerts for competition, important events or a smart set of keywords that might direct you to a PR opportunity.
For instance, Eric Murphy once tweeted a birthday wish for his family’s dog, with an adorable photograph of the canine. A few days later, pet food brand Purina responded with a simple happy birthday cover on the photograph that Murphy had posted.
Murphy was so thrilled, that he spoke about it excitedly on his social accounts and in a blog post. Simple but heartfelt actions can drive better results on social than planned mechanical ones can.
It is smart to additionally monitor the same set of keywords on a tool that covers more area – like Google Alerts, because it will help you man the front on multiple platforms and catch opportunities from all around the web.
4. Influence is the current in-demand currency
To succeed on social, you need influence, as social media influencers have proved. The great news is that social networks don’t differentiate between experts and regular people. Friends and family can be just as influential on social networks as anyone else, when it comes to recommendations and purchase decisions. This fact is corroborated by Edelman’s Trust Barometer 2017.
Source: 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer
You can reach your target audience by activating influencers who already have access to them. Tech and electronics based companies have been doing this for years. They give influential Youtubers exclusive access to their tech before official release dates banking on the fact that they will speak about them on their far-reaching Youtube channels.
The key is identifying the influencers who are connected to your target audience. If you a B2C business, your employees could also act as your advocates because their social media connections are your consumers. If you are B2B, you can have client facing employees represent you on social media by sharing your content and create your own employee advocacy program.
Either way, you could partner with expert bloggers, vloggers, Instagram and Twitter influencers or anybody who has an engaged following that matches your target audience.
5. Optimum frequency is key
Each year, we create more content than the last. Social networks are constantly upgrading their data hives and algorithms to keep up with increasing content, but our minds have limited capacities. The objective of social media marketing was never to overwhelm your audience with content.
Test your social media accounts to determine the best times for posting. Don’t go by what general guides tell you, every author has his/her own social platform and audience reference. Schedule one post to go out during different times of the day and on different days over a few weeks. Use the analytics dashboard on each social network to establish the best times and days for posting (based on engagement received), and limit your posting to those times.
Don’t spam your fans’ feeds. If someone follows you, there’s a good chance your brand interests them. Avoid sabotaging that relationship by appearing on their feeds way too much. Create a content plan, and post only when necessary. Never post something just to fill your page.
Disha Dinesh is a Content Writer at Godot Media, a leading content agency. Her interests include social media and content marketing. When she’s not writing, she’s on the hunt for social media trends and inspiration.