Tuesday 25 October 2016

Social Media Marketing: How to Choose Your Channels & Create Your Strategy

Ian Dodson

Published 22/05/2015 | 09:55

Learn how to create an engaging social media strategy your customers will love.
Learn how to create an engaging social media strategy your customers will love.

Social media has never been more important for brands to master.

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Social media has a 100pc higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing, while 24pc of companies using social media saw a direct increase in revenue, according to a recent QuickSprout report.

Below, I’ll take you through how to choose the right social media channels based on your target audience, resources, company type and competitor activity. I’ll also share my top tips for maintaining your social media presence with free and easily accessible tools. Read on to discover how to keep your audience engaged through the creation of a well-planned and perfectly-timed social media strategy.

1. How to Choose Your Social Channels: Audience & Competitors

Before you choose your social media channels you need to ask yourself two very important questions: ‘Where your are my customers?’ and ‘Where are my competitors?’ To find out where your customers are you will need to research the demographics of the main social media channels. You can then choose the channels that are best suited to your target audience’s demographics, interests and online behaviour. Most social media channels will give you a breakdown of their target audience demographics so take a look through this and also keep an eye on industry reports and surveys that can reveal valuable information to help guide your decision.

2. How to Choose Your Social Channels: Resources, Time & Company Type

Other factors can affect your channel selection such as the staff resources you have at your disposal, the time you have for social media management and the type of company you run. For example, if your company is B2B focused you might want to create a LinkedIn presence and target your content to the professional world. If your company is B2C, on the other hand, you might want to consider creating a Facebook page. What if resources are tight and time is an issue? it’s best to create one or two relevant social media accounts and manage them effectively rather than creating multiple accounts that you may struggle to keep updated with quality posts.

3. Tips for Maintaining Your Social Media Presence 

Choose a suitable staff member to manage your social media channels - ideally someone with a good command of the English language and a friendly and engaging manner. They will need to effectively handle any comments or complaints your company might receive. You can use a social media management tool like Hootsuite to monitor all of your social media activity and help you create and schedule posts for your preferred publishing time. Buffer is another handy social media scheduling tool you could trial - you can even set up your account to post at the times when your target audience is most active.

4. Engage With Your Target Audience: Strategy, Calendar & Content 

Create a solid social media marketing strategy complete with a content calendar to help you engage with your target audience. Your strategy should include the engagement metrics you would like your social media activity to achieve. For example, do you want to increase your social shares by 25% in a quarter? Next you will need to outline the tactics that will help you achieve this. This could include creating inspiring, relevant, educational content that your target audience would love. You will then need to decide if you’re going to allocate a budget for paid promotion. The final step is the creation of your content calendar which you can update once a quarter. For your content calendar you need to highlight key dates for upcoming promotions and campaigns and the dates you plan to share blog posts, etc. Remember that if you just post about your products or sales, people will get bored quickly. A good ratio to observe is 80% useful / value add posts to 20% promotional posts.

Now that you’ve mastered your overall social media strategy, next week I’ll give you an in-depth insight of Facebook marketing and reveal my top tips for improving your organic and paid reach.

Ian Dodson

Co-founder and Director, Digital Marketing Institute

Ian Dodson is Director and Co-Founder of the Digital Marketing Institute. He has been at the forefront of the Irish digital industry for the past 10 years and has been instrumental in the setup and success of a number of groundbreaking online businesses. Ian writes for various well-known digital and marketing journals on all topics digital.

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