Social Media Marketing: Creation of a strategy plan for SMMStarting an online business
27 October 2019
Social Media Marketing: MEANING, PROPOSAL, TIPS
Social media takes an important place in modern society, and we, as marketers, just can not miss this opportunity to promote a brand. Such big social media monsters like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter are used by 90% of our target audience, so why do not catch them in the place where they belong. But what is Social Media Marketing?
What is social media marketing?
Social Media Marketing (SMM) - is a form of e-commerce marketing that uses various social networks as a tool to create new traffic flows to the targeted resource. This is achieved by creating an interesting type of content on social resources, which people will want to share in their circles of friends, thereby you building the brand name, dramatically increasing the brand recognition, as well as creating a reputation for the company that is well versed in this niche.
Marketing is not an accurate word because SMM is about promoting your company, so you may be heard that this approach is also called as Social Media Promotion or SMP.
Social media is an excellent environment for creating content for your users, which will be distributed by the same users. In our time, the level of trust in advertising companies is declining fastly, but with SMM the content is distributed naturally, by the users themselves. In the end, it turns out that the level of trust in your brand is growing and the chance that users will remember about you, at the moment when they need your service or goods is greatly increasing.
Most popular social media platforms for SMM
Social networks are so entwined in our lives that it is impossible to imagine a week without using them. Through social networks, we:
- Learn the latest news in the niches of interest to us.
- Discover what happened to our friends.
- Share our ideas and interesting observations, articles.
And that is why we must use social media in e-commerce, it is enough only to interest users in your brand and they will spread the word among the all friend list.
We have plenty of popular social media sites, and you need to do some researchers to locate the most preferred one for your audience (TA). Here I will only highlight the most popular and provide a short description to them.
Twitter is a good platform for constant communication with customers, and getting to know them with the innovations of your business. Blogs cannot be published on it since the maximum length of one tweet is 140 letters, but tweets can contain absolutely anything from an image to a video.
Some companies use Twitter to help customers and some even provide 24/7 support through that social network.
Facebook can provide greater usability for your company, and you can create a group there and use it as an addition to your blog. Collect the opinions of users, encourage them to subscribe, proposing them small gifts. It is in your interest to expand the base of clients and via Facebook, you could expand the overall coverage of the company.
LinkedIn is a perfect platform for B2B companies. Here you can create a professional profile for business and yourself, and find the customers that may be interested in your product.
LinkedIn allows generating sales leads and business partners with maximum efficiency.
WhatsApp is a social platform that is used for communication with customers for solving urgent issues and as a marketing tool used to offer personalized discounts and offers to customers. In 2014 WhatsApp joined Facebook but still has a dedicated app, that is using as a messenger.
Instagram is a social media platform where users all over the world post millions of photographs per day. In marketing, you can use it in those cases, when you have something to show. A great example is the special page of the Starbucks where they post a lot of appetizing and simply beautiful photos of an assortment of goods.
SOCIAL MEDIA PROMOTION IN E-COMMERCE
First of all, you must understand that SMM requires a lot of time and dedication, you need to work on it without weekends, at least at the beginning of your journey. Social media is a constantly evolving environment, and your job is to regularly monitor the changing trends and adjust to them. Firstly you need to choose the right strategy, but it is not necessary to allocate only one, if you have enough resources and time, then you can select several from the following list:
- Brand community
- Reputation management
- Personal branding
- Unstandard tools
Brand Community is the term of e-marketing, meaning a community united by a love for a brand or product. An excellent example of such a community is Apple. People are ready to pay more only to receive a product from their beloved brand.
Brand Community was firstly represented at the annual conference Association for Consumer Research in Minneapolis, Minnesota by Albert Muniz Jr. and Thomas C. O'Guinn in 1995.
In 2001 was published the magazine Consumer Research with the article "Brand Community" where they identified the brand community as
Specialized geographically unbound community based on a structured set of social relations among fans of the brand.
Interestingly, this quote was recognized as one of the most cited works in the field of "Economics and Business".
This is a collection of all community blogs, including social media networks. Today we have dozens and hundreds of millions of different blogs that are closely related to one particular topic. These bloggers refer to each other in their articles, read and comment on their colleagues, creating a certain subculture.
The blogosphere is used as an environment for the study of public opinion. A blog is a platform for public discussions, and due to this, information written in them spreads rapidly and uncontrollably.
In business, the blogosphere can be used for:
- Keyword monitoring on the Blogosphere;
- Blogger relations. Creating relation with various bloggers that are connected with your thematic;
- Blog's creating and promotion;
- Promoting your blog through the blogosphere.
As you can see, you have a lot of ways of using the blogosphere, for example, live chat Astratalk uses second and third approaches, we have our blog about eCommerce, SEO, and SMM. Also, we are promoting our company through various social media like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Nothing could stop you from using several ways, so do not hesitate to combine them in any form you want.
Reputation management is a set of measures aimed at finding factors that damage the reputation of your company with the subsequent analysis and correction of these problems. The main goal is to reduce the influence of negative information on the reputation of a company or a brand.
In simple words, reputation management is an attempt to change the angle of view of users so that they see the company in the way you want them to see it.
Reputation management consists of the following steps:
- Monitoring, collecting, and analytics of all the available information about your business;
- Work with the negative data and testimonials;
- Creating a favorable atmosphere for the natural occurrence of positive references and reviews;
- Search Engine Reputation Management - SERM, the widest theme that is worth a separate article.
The main goal of Personal Branding - is creating a means by which people remember you as a person and the face of the company that will guarantee the quality of the service or goods. This is a rather laborious process of creating a positive and trustworthy image in the minds of consumers, with the mere mention of your Brand.
Personal branding means creating an inextricable link between your name and brand. Perfect examples are:
- Steve Jobs = Apple
- Bill Gates = Microsoft
Following this path, you show your customers that the guarantor of the quality of your product is you, and not a faceless corporation or company. If you chose this path of promotion, then remember that you automatically find yourself in the spotlight, whenever the conversation comes about your company.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING: PLAN CREATION
Your priority goal is to provide high-quality content to the audience in social media networks and to help them to find the right solutions to various problems.
Forrester research shows that today’s B2B buyer will find three pieces of content about a vendor for every one piece that marketing can publish or sales can deliver.
So let's make a step-by-step plan for compiling the Social Media Marketing strategy and then we'll look at each point in detail.
- Set goals;
- Choose the communication style;
- Content Creation;
- Content Optimization;
- Social Media Optimization;
- Conversion Rate;
- Analyze the results, make changes.
Remember that you need to create the whole social media marketing plan, and only after creating it on the paper, bring it to life.
First of all, you need to decide on what goals you are aiming for when you are creating SMM-strategy. It is important to set achievable little goals and to break out particularly important tasks into smaller ones to track the success of the chosen path.
Also during this stage, you need to find your Target Audience. For whom you create your product and the following content? What is the best way to reach them and their attention? How you can attract this attention, and how to evoke in them the desire to distribute your unique content.
The final point in this issue - is to find the right social media platform where your TA is located and that is highly preferable.
Choose the communication style
The second step depends heavily on the choice of your target audience. For example, if you create a massively accessible product for customers aged 18-35 years, then it is better to use an informal type of communication. But if you chose B2B strategy, and your TA is other Entrepreneurs then it will be better if you use a formal style.
Content is the foundation of everything, even Bill Gates noticed that the "Content is King" and it needs to be provided to your customers with an uninterrupted flow of information. At this step, it is important to determine the time of your audience's activity, to release content on time.
Spend some time on social media analysis, to know what is important to the audience today, and which forms of content is valuable at this moment. Use different types of content, like infographics, presentations, video marketing, these are all your marketing tools and you need to know how to use them correctly.
Analyze how your audience relates to different types of content, improve unpopular articles by adding more infographics or video materials. Closely monitor your visitors, because they leave you a lot of useful information about your work without even leaving comments.
Write the headers that will attract peoples, but do not use the clickbait-headers. Maybe they will work for some audiences but your reputation will be stomped.
Optimize your content for search engines. Today, SEO has become an indispensable step in the promotion, and if you still do not use it, it is time to learn how.
Social Media Optimization
Social Media Optimization or SMO is an optimization of your resource: web site, blog, online-shop, etc., for the needs of social media. Your first task in applying the SMO strategy is to create a strong bond between your resource and other social media resources. In most cases you need to add four simple features on your website:
- Create a special space where you could tell the whole world that your resource now can be found on social media resources, like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.
- Add "Share on Social Media" button to all your articles, so visitors could spread your material in natural ways with the easiest way possible, by clicking one simple button.
- Add the "Retweet" button. When your readers will use it they will automatically create a tweet about your article in their micro or personal blog.
- Visitors must be able to comment on your articles without registration, or by logging on your website with social media profiles.
- Do not force visitors to register on your resource, it will be much better if you will allow them to log-in with their social media profile like Google+, Facebook, and others.
This list can easily be extended, just use various proposals for social media marketing and analyze which of them brings the best results.
Views, likes, and reposts are certainly wonderful for your SMM strategy, but you have to think about how you will convert all these social media network users.
Collect their data, by giving free stuff for subscribing to a newsletter, or propose personal discounts for a phone number. Later you can use all this data in the targeted email marketing.
Leave in the articles links to your landing page, but be sure that all these links ideally fit into the subject matter of the article.
Do not leave your visitors alone. Become an interesting interlocutor for them, discuss topics not only concerning your field of activity, find out opinions about the product, in other words, just be online and work with visitors. But do not overdo it and do not seem too intrusive for them. Find that fine line of perfect balance and people will trust you as a friend, not just the product supplier.
One of the best platforms is Disqus, that could give a certified comment section that could guarantee that all these comments about your product are not pre-moderated.
Remember that in SMM marketing your workplace is not only in a separately created group, but the whole social media platform. Earn an authority in thematic groups, invite authoritative experts to test your product.
To track your SMM campaign you need to learn how to use UTM marks, and Kissmetrics created a great article, with a video instruction about UTM-marks:
After you connect the UTM tags, you can monitor the number of your subscribers, reposts, comments and other indicators that will show you the quality of the content. Use this data to develop not only your blog but the whole website. Another great usage of these tags is to track traffic from social networks to determine the success of the chosen strategy and, if necessary, make the appropriate adjustments of the chosen path.
Do not forget about the basic KPI that any entrepreneur in the field of e-Commerce should follow.
TIPS FOR SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
Unexperienced SMM marketer can do a lot of mistakes during a promotion, so I created a little list with a few tips, that will prevent you from repeating these mistakes in smm promotion:
Do not post too much information in a short period, If you have a lot of information that you want to share, then use a schedule function;
- Lack of mutual contact.
Always keep up a lively conversation with your audience, respond to comments, questions;
- Unethical behavior in response to negative feedback and comments.
Remember that you created this product not to enrich yourself, but to improve the lives quality of your customers, and if they do not like something, then you must listen, and quickly fix their problems;
- Deletion of the negative commentaries.
If users will notice that you delete negative comments, then they will lose their credibility in your brand. Believe me, it is much easier to fix a product than to fix a spoiled reputation;
- Informational content / entertainment content proportions.
If you supply your regular readers with only dry information, then you probably will not get the attention of the audience, and if you put too many entertaining moments in your posts, you can lose the status of an authoritative source, you must find the golden mean and strictly follow it to the end;
- Publications at the wrong time.
Find the time at which your subscribers are most active, so that the notification about a new article will not be lost in the news-feed, but appeared just at the moment when they are most active on the network.
Social Media Marketing is an extremely useful strategy for all kinds of e-Commerce activities, from small businesses, and restaurants to giant companies.
SMM is a direct dialogue between the company and the people, and in the modern world, it simply can not be ignored. At a time when people spend most of their free time on social networks, you need to adapt and find your place in this niche. Now you know the basics, starting from the meaning of social media marketing to drawing up a strategic plan for SMM.
If you are interested in using SMM strategy and want to learn SMM more in-depth, discover many social media marketing plans, uncover different tips for SMM and obtain various tools for SMM to easily import it into your project, then you may be interested in next social marketing books: