By Tahir Akbar
Social media dominates modern marketing. Given the soaring popularity and growing user base of social networks, businesses are investing more in social media. In 2015, 88% of U.S. companies were using social media for lead generation and the percentage is expected to reach 89.4 percent by 2017. Despite the fact that 7 in 10 people are active on social media, businesses are finding it hard to achieve their marketing goals on the social networks.
If we calculate brand’s engagement rate on different social networks, it is 0.007% on Facebook, 0.003% on Twitter, and 4.21% on Instagram (Source). The same source claims 64 percent marketers agree that engagement is crucial to their social media success.
After studying these reports, we have come to the conclusion that social media strategists need to change their approach towards social media marketing. To help them make the most out of the campaigns, we are listing 6 tips to maximize social media outreach and drive engagement.
1. Set SMART Goals:
According to a HubSpot study, 92% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses. Similarly, 84% (in the same study) agreed that social media efforts have directly impacted on their web traffic and increased it. But one thing is common when it comes to these successful campaigns; they all had clearer goals.
Goals drive actions and we have goals for social media. However, many digital marketers fail to make smart goals. S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Rational, and Time bound) goals give you a clear vision of the path. You cannot and should not plan to achieve leads, traffic, engagement, likes, shares, and follows from every single campaign. Ideally, each campaign should have one clearer goal and its real ROI should be calculated as per the same.
2. Brevity is the Soul of Wit:
Twitter’s popularity lies in its brevity and 140 character’s limitation. It is probably the hottest selling point of the social network that differentiates it from the rest. Recently when the Twitter management decided to increase character limit to 10,000, it led to criticism in technology circles. As a result, Jack Dorsey and team had to shelve the idea.
Now have a look at another stat, from the source mentioned in 2nd paragraph. Facebook posts with less than 250 characters get 60 percent more engagement than the longer ones. Similarly, Tweets with around 110 characters get 17% more engagement.
Did you get it?
People want brief, to-the-point, and striking content on social media. They are not eager to read articles. If you plan to write longer posts, Facebook and LinkedIn aren’t the right platform; use your website, blog or Pulse.
3. Work on Visual Content:
Your content mix is vital to successful social media marketing. A balanced content mix ensures that people do not get bored of similar posts every other day. A content calendar can streamline this process for you. Having said that, never forget the power of visuals when planning content mix. Numerous studies endorse visual content being the key to engagement.
Have a look at the following.
- Tweets with images receive 150 percent more retweets
- 87 percent of Facebook engagement happens on photos
- Facebook images that were posted together as photo album post receive 12.9 times more clicks than single photo posts
- Brand’s engagement rate on Instagram stands at 4.21 percent
- Facebook photo albums receive 5 times more reach
Every bullet endorses the statement we made earlier (about visual content). Therefore, work on your social media engagement and start that with content plan.
4. Be Honest with Prospects and Audience:
Being honest means adopting fair practices. This starts with a commitment to avoid spam. Secondly, many organizations tend to rely on fake profiles and ambiguous dealing to increase their exposure. Remember, there are tools and platforms like Free Background Check, HireSafe, TrustDale and Check People where customers can easily get the background information about you. So playing this card can lead to distrust among the loyal fans.
Another elements of being honest is to be transparent in your information sharing. This has a lot to do with marketing ethics that need to be followed on social media. Don’t hide essential information on the pretext of terms and condition.
5. Exposure Is Paid – So Invest:
We all know that just like search engines, social networks (particularly Facebook) keeps changing their algorithms. Due to the same changes, the organic reach of the pages (read brands) has gone down to just 4 percent of the total following. Therefore you have to invest in social media and utilize sponsored posts/advertisements to gain exposure.
On Twitter and Instagram, you can use the power of hashtags. Using proper hashtags or posting in the trends can also increase your outreach. Another way to increase post engagement and outreach is to use visual and funny content. As we noted in previous point, visual elements can help drive engagement.
6. Be a Good Listener:
The last but not the least point is to be a good listener. Success with social media requires effective listening and less talking. Read out what people are writing and pay heed to their concerns. Trends and popular forums should be regularly monitored for better content ideas. This enables you to start and develop conversation as a brand.
Take example of Peter Stair. He was trying to highlight the benefits of a virtual office for businesses but his push strategy was not working well. He altered his campaign and adopted another strategy. Now, he prepares content on the basis of findings from social intelligence, forum discussions, and popular trends. Regular analysis of top tweets/posts in favorite hashtags has enabled him to take the right piece of advice and prepare the perfect content.
Finally, digital marketing is all about making consistent efforts. If you are unable to seal the deal in the beginning of the campaign, don’t worry. All you need is to keep working in line with your strategy. Just keep customers and their feedback first when designing your strategy map. In addition, add some KPIs and do regular performance analysis after every campaign or quarter. This might look uneasy in the beginning but when adopted as a process, will help in striking the deals.
This article was written by Tahir Akbar from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
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