2.8 billion people – that’s 37% of the world’s population – use social media.
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat…
All are being used daily by Millennials, Baby Boomers, and of course, Generation Z…
Safe to say, a one size fits all approach isn’t going to cut it.
Each platform works differently, and each platform appeals to different demographics. It’s essential that brands understand where, when, why and how users interact with each platform if they are to tap into their potential, maximise time and resource, and garner the best results possible through social media.
Building a social media strategy that helps your business drive more sales, improve engagement, and increase brand awareness is contingent on consistent diligence and an understanding of the inner workings of social media marketing. And this is far from traditional marketing. With heightened competition, and users who are savvier and more present than ever before, a subpar social media strategy could cost you.
In this post, we’ll look at some techniques that can help brands hone their social media strategies to exceed competitors and users’ expectations.
Make demographics work for you
Let’s begin with some stats:
- 64% of 18-19 year olds use Instagram.
- 68% of adult social media users use Facebook.
- In 2018, 62% of Facebook users were female and 74% were male.
- And while 8% of 65+ users use Twitter, 32% of Twitter users are 13-17 year olds old.
Some of those numbers might be familiar, some might be a surprise. But we can go even deeper than age. For example, did you know that 32% of Twitter uses graduated college? Or that 32% of Twitter users make over $75,000?
Most social media platforms publicly share their demographic data, but demographic data drawn from your own audiences is even more powerful. These insights will empower you to build a more tailored strategy, with the knowledge of who and where your audiences are.
Once you can paint a picture of who your audiences are, you can research into those demographics. For example, how do 13-17 year olds interact with media today? Do they prefer video? Do they access content from a desktop or their phones?
A successful social media strategy is built on comprehensive research into audiences: what they want, what they expect, and how they react to different forms of content. These insights can help form everything from language and terminology, topics and type of media.
We’ve known for years now the power of visual media. Ever since Instagram propelled itself toward to forefront as the king of influencer and business marketing. Now, social media simply wouldn’t survive without visual media. We’re talking video, infographic imagery as well as professional photography. If you haven’t already, now might be the time to start harnessing the photography skills of your office intern or employ a videographer. Visual media appeals to the masses, and overlain with subtitles and graphics, it opens you up to a wider pool of potential engagers as it broadens the inclusivity and accessibility of your communications. But competition is rife, and there’s a building pressure to produce visuals that are professionally produced and edited to perfection. Do the best you can, and where necessary, call in the help of a professional.
Take advantage of social listening
Social listening involves analysing conversations and interactions with users happening on your own pages or pages relevant to your brand and industry. The reason it’s called social listening, as opposed to social monitoring, is because it’s kind of like ‘eaves-dropping’ – eaves-dropping that’s totally allowed, of course. You see, the comments and conversations happening online are completely public, and that’s because people want you to see them.
People often use the comments section of a social media post as a soundboard for their biggest frustrations, challenge and goals surrounding a topic. Yes, free for taking – you can obtain mountains of qualitative data from social media platforms to help shape and align your own strategy.
User-generated content (UGC)
User-generated content has been hugely popularised since social media has blurred the barriers between brands and their customers. Customers and prospects are now actively taking part in marketing products, often without even realising it. Smart brands have harnessed this in the form of UGC. But this is reliant on building a loyal fan base with genuine brand advocates who can vouch for your products and speak to other viable prospects.
You might also wish to work with an influencer. We’ve previously written a post about the proliferation of micro-influencers and how you can make them work for you. So, consider a micro influencer as a part of your social strategy, if and where appropriate.
Measure, tweak and repeat
Paired with consistent analysis, the above techniques can see you form a strategy that overtime, becomes watertight and provides tangible results.
In order to dominate on social platforms, one must measure consistently. This way, you can spot peaks and troughs and identify the problems and the ‘whys’ behind them – knowledge that can see you excel beyond competitors.
Continually assess trends within your data to ascertain what works for your brand and your audiences, and of course, why. Planning, measuring and analysing arms you with the tools to you to integrate emerging trends, seasonal changes and competitor analysis that shapes your strategy into one your audiences will engage with. If your goal is to improve brand awareness, consider what your brand means to your followers and how you leverage your personality, your tone of voice, or visual media against this goal.
Businesses on social media need to set realistic and measurable goals that are in alignment with their business objectives. This is the biggest secret to making your social media strategy work for you.
Social media is a prolific marketing tool, and when used correctly, can see businesses grow exponentially. But no two social media strategies are the same. What works for your competitor may not work for you. Take advantage of your USP, your personality, and your visuals. Know where your audiences are, what they’re saying (and how), and what their biggest goals or accomplishments are.