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6 Effective Ways to Make Sure Your Social Media Marketing Works

Yazmin Gray, Contributor

Marketing on social media is a great option for self-employed entrepreneurs, small businesses, and large companies alike. It has huge potential to be both extremely targeted and to reach hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people. It's generally cost-effective and you can do it from anywhere which can improve your bottom line by allowing you to save time. It takes dedication to make it work, however, so you have to follow certain strategies to launch a successful social media campaign.

Drive Traffic to Your Product

The entire point of marketing is to get someone interested in what you're offering and the point of social media is to help build awareness, share your brand’s personality, develop relationships, and nurture your existing loyal fans. To succeed at these things on social media, relevance is key. The content you share must be relevant to your audience and their interests as well as your brand. You don't want to include links to merchandise or blog articles with every status or tweet, because your audience may get bored, overwhelmed, or disappointed that their news feeds are full of the same thing all the time.

Figure Out Your Target Market

To drive the most traffic and figure out what sort of posts work best, you need to know your target market, remembering that different platforms target different users. For example, when you want to target the coveted 18-34 bracket, build a successful, entertaining YouTube channel. If your ideal target is older than 45, use Google+ and Facebook. See which demographics are most popular on each platform, then start your own tests to see what works for you.

Setting up social media focus groups is a great way to collect data and appeal to a more targeted demographic. In addition to knowing your target audience, you also need to know what their content preferences are. In fact, infographics have tremendously increased in popularity in the last two years, with an 800 percent jump in Google searches. This could be because visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text or that 65 percent of the population is visual learners. Either way, it’s something to take into account when assessing content preferences.

Expand and Explore

Because there are so many social networking platforms, you should spend time expanding your reach and exploring once you have a strategic social and content marketing plan in place. You should also continue experimenting with the type of content you share and keeping up with Internet trends. Some examples of popular, shareable material include:

  • Status updates that contain a question or call to action

  • Videos that are relevant and entertaining; occasional popular videos will help as well

  • The occasional meme, as long as it has relevance

  • Quotes and photos, especially if they're designed to inspire

  • And shared items from other pages and users

You also can explore platforms that allow you to cross-post to different networking sites. It saves time and increases your reach for important announcements or updates.

Time It Perfectly

Each social media network has peak hours. They're not always the same, but they often overlap, especially since smartphones and tablets make it so easy to read and share on social sites. Discover the peak hours for your target groups on your preferred sites simply by experimenting. At first, share items at different times each day, paying attention to how many likes, shares, comments, and re-tweets you get during particular hours.

Social-Media-Posts-Timing

Image via Flickr by Michael

 

This is also where it helps to schedule posts ahead of time. If you're looking forward to taking the weekend off or want to share some late night updates, you can do it ahead of time. With programs like HootSuite, Crowdbooster, and GrabinBox, you can streamline your social media activity, schedule automatic updates, and keep your accounts active even if you’re away from them. This puts the power in your hands and makes you your own social media manager.

Create a Budget for the Long-Term

Though joining a social media platform is typically free, there are other areas of investment to consider for incorporating social marketing into your digital marketing plan. Social marketing resources/experts, tools for social listening and social analytics, and oftentimes a social marketing agency will all be cost factors to consider. In addition, social advertising is also a budget line item, especially as gaining organic reach is becoming more challenging. Paid Social Advertising has become a front and center way for brands to gain and maintain visibility among crowded News Feeds.

When you're promoting especially great deals, you want to reach as many people as you can. In these cases you may find that it's worth the investment to pay for your marketing through social media. Think about how much you're willing to spend and how many sponsored or paid posts you're likely to need, then come up with a budget for the year.

Monitor Your Metrics Closely

social-media-metrics

Image via Flickr by Denis Dervisevic

Things change over time. By next year, your business could be marketing itself to an entirely new demographic. As more people become aware of your brand, you'll need to tweak your strategies. Pay attention to how many clicks, shares, likes, and traffic you get, but look beyond that, too. Cater to what your audience wants, even if you have to update your strategy, content or tactics from time to time.

Everyone uses social media these days, so the potential is enormous. Do you think marketing on social media could work for you?

Yazmin Gray

About the author: Yazmin Gray

Yazmin Gray is a graduate student at the University of Tampa. On her free time she loves to write and go to Crossfit. She enjoys sharing her tips with other business professionals and promotes healthier lifestyles.

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