Do you have a social media strategy?

Scrabble tiles spelling out social media next to a phone with the Facebook app open

Social media has exploded over the last few years, and has transformed not only how we interact but also how we do business. As a result of this massive explosion in interest, many businesses opened accounts with almost every social network that was popular, and a lot of the times this was done in order to be seen to be relevant – and not as part of a long term social media strategy.

How many times have you seen a poster in a small business saying “Like us on Facebook” or “Follow us on Twitter” and when you visit that page, you see minimal content and nothing that will entice you to press that like or follow button? I’ll bet it’s a lot. It’s important to embrace social media, but only as part of a wider marketing strategy and only after having researched where your audience is.

One of the common mistakes with social media is to create an account on every platform which seems popular, and then try to figure out later what to put out there. Whilst it is tempting to open a Snapchat account and start advertising that presence – but there are a few things to consider before opening accounts.

Social media should form an integral part of any marketing strategy, and it is vital that this is thought about and planned as much as any other aspect of your marketing actions. Careful research should consider the following aspects of any social media site before deciding whether to maintain a presence there:

  • Who the active members are?
  • What type of content is needed?
    • Text?
    • Videos?
    • Images?
  • Who will be responsible for updating the stream?
  • How often will it be updated?
  • Who are you trying to reach?

All of these factors should be taken into consideration before launching a new presence on a network, as well as the impacts on your wider marketing mix.

The benefits of this holistic approach to social media is that your marketing messages are consistent across all channels, and your message receive maximum impact. When planning a marketing campaign, give careful consideration to which social media channels you will utilise and in which way.

For example, if you’re launching a new project – social media can be used in the following ways:

YouTube:

Post videos to your blog using YouTube, Vimeo or other online video site of pre-launch teasers, and behind the scenes footage of manufacturing, decision-making or anything that will draw users in and excite them. These can be embedded onto your website as part of a wider post about the upcoming launch. Staggering these different posts across the days and weeks before launch will help to generate interest. By having these videos in two different locations it helps to create two different discussions around the videos as users can comment on the blog post as well as the YouTube page.

Twitter:

Use Twitter to communicate directly with customers as well as talking about products. Twitter is not a place for the hard sell approach so topics to tweet about should be centred around general fashion news and tips to create a perception of authority. Log in several times a day in order to check any replies and respond quickly to these, Twitter is not a medium to wait several days before replying. By communicating efficiently with customers it helps to build a relationship.

Follow relevant people within the industry to gain an insight into the current trends and issues facing the industry and use these to guide the topics of tweets. As well as following influential people within the industry, it is important to engage with them by replying to tweets and having a discussion about issues. These could then influence a blog post around a particular topic.

Facebook:

A Facebook page is another way of communicating with customers directly about the product launch, using the site to post teaser details and information about the launch, as well as the launch itself.

Due to the nature of Facebook, it is an ideal platform to create a gallery of people with the new product as people regularly post photos of social events so a community could be created around the photos and videos of users receiving and using their new product, as well as a medium for feedback.

It is important to respond quickly to any comments and messages to keep users engaged and to show that you care as a brand.

Overall, social media has now reached such a saturation point that it must be a significant part of your overall marketing strategy. If you can, have a dedicated person within your marketing team who is responsible for social media marketing who will ensure that that side of the business is working well and who will report back to the head of marketing. By embracing these networks, it provides an opportunity to speak directly with customers on a one to one basis which will provide the best marketing opportunities for your product or service.

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