Traditional marketing such as television, newspapers, radio, and magazines spent years relying on a one-way broadcasting system. They would make their money by having advertisers pay for the privilege of inserting their ads into their broadcasting content. The conversation format was very one-sided, and not interactive or conversational at all. This is how social media marketing got its start. Businesses were posting content to generate traffic to their websites to promote sales, but social media marketing has evolved into much much more.
In today’s world, businesses use social media in a myriad of different ways. There are 5 core pillars of social media marketing: Strategy, Planning & Publishing, Listening & Engagement, Analytics & Reporting, and Advertising. Incorporating all 5 pillars is essential for creating an organic online following and making sure that your online voice has maximum reach.
Pillar 1: Strategy
There are 5 key questions you should ask yourself when you start posting content to your social media platforms.
What are my goals?
Who is my target audience?
What social media platforms should I focus on?
What type of content do I want to share?
What is the personality of my business and how do I want to portray it?
It is important to determine all of these before starting your social media marketing campaign because they work in conjunction with one another.
Pillar 2: Planning and Publishing
Social media marketing for small businesses starts with a plan. More importantly, is the execution of that plan. Consistency is key to creating a social media presence. We see tons of small businesses post a few times a month, or none at all. We get it. This stuff is time-consuming, but we feel it is important to post AT LEAST once a day to maintain consistency, and to post your content at certain times of the day when you reach your target audience.
Pillar 3: Listening and Engagement
This is where social media marketing starts to become more conversational. As your brand grows, so will interactions with your content. How do you want to handle these conversations? People are talking about your brand; it is your job to listen. Everyone knows that the internet is a good place to complain, so it is important to make sure you listen to people’s complaints before the situation gets worse. Equally as important though is responding to positive comments and interactions.
Pillar 4: Reporting & Analytics
Making sure you are keeping track of how your social media marketing is performing is also important. It is the best way to assess what is working and what is not. Seeing what content has the best engagement with your audience is the best way for organic growth. Imagine if you were trying to gain or lose weight but didn’t invest in a scale. You would have no way to track your progress along the way.
Pillar 5: Advertising
Organic growth is what everyone strives for from their social media marketing efforts. As they should! Organic growth is free, and a great way to talk to people already a part of your audience. How do we reach people outside of our existing audience though? That’s where paid social media advertisements come into play. They allow you to reach a wider audience based on your target market that you can control. It’s great to communicate with people already supporting your business, but advertising efforts are a great way to complement and expedite organic growth.
As you can see all of this is important to creating a good social media marketing strategy. Making sure you are being strategic with your time and efforts will get you to the finish line faster and more efficiently. We wish you all good luck with your efforts and are always here to help if you need it!
President, Minnesota Social