Many business owners know they should be utilising social media in their digital marketing strategy, but knowing where to begin can be a daunting task. A good place to start is to identify what you want your social media strategy to achieve, understanding and identifying clear objectives from the beginning will help you devise a strategy, monitor the campaign and measure return on investment.
Generally businesses want their social media to drive sales, raise brand awareness, drive traffic to their website, drive data capture from key landing pages on their website i.e. newsletter signups and act as a tool to communicate with existing and potential customers.
Social media provides businesses with the ability to market their products and services directly to their target audience via paid for advertising and organic activities. One of the biggest benefits of social media marketing is that every activity is measurable, each interaction is recorded and that data can be used to review your strategy and continually improve results.
With new platforms emerging all the time, it can be hard to know which platforms are best suited to your business. Having a good understanding of your business and target audience is key to choosing which platforms to use. Knowing the difference between the different platforms will help you make an informed decision, lets take a look at the most established and popular social media platforms.
LinkedIn is great for for recruitment, networking and for businesses that have B2B service offerings. If your business is B2C then LinkedIn isn’t the right platform for your business. Examples of industries that LinkedIn is perfect for include recruitment companies, internet service companies and marketing agencies.
Twitter is great for businesses with both B2B or B2C service offerings and has proved to be an effective networking and recruiting platform. Later this year tweets will start to appear in Google search results in real time, after Twitter and Google reach a deal to make tweets more searchable online. This latest development means that tweets have the potential to have an impact on your businesses SEO visibility.
According to research the optimum length for tweets to encourage interactions and retweets is 120 – 130 characters and shortened URL’s have a higher click through rate than tweets containing longer URL’s.
Probably the biggest and most widely known social media platform, Facebook like Twitter is perfect for businesses with both B2B and B2C service offerings and is also a good networking and recruitment platform. Paid for advertising on Facebook is very targeted and cost effective and can be used to drive traffic to your website, likes to your business page, video views and app installs.
Research shows that posts containing images encourage higher levels of interaction compared to text only posts and the optimum length for posts is 100 – 140 characters.
As the masters of web search, you would expect Google’s social platform Google+ to have a larger user base than it does, but don’t let that put you off. Although engagement levels are typically low, it is worth maintaining a presence on Google+ for the SEO benefits; Investing time and energy into your business page on Google+ can mean improved local search visibility, especially for a small to medium-sized business.
Use social media to market your business, as you would use traditional advertising methods. The main difference being that social media marketing is targeted and trackable.
When writing your content think about the objectives you want to achieve and include a call to action in your posts, for example a link to your website or a link to sign up for email lists. Posting times are also important, think about your target audience and when they are likely to be online.
Probably the most important part of your social media strategy is to analyse the data monthly using analytic tools such as Google Analytics, Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics. Use these findings to implement changes to your strategy, continually improve results and measure ROI.
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