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The dynamic character of social marketing – what platforms should you be using?

By Coleen Vilela

Social Marketing, Digital Marketing, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, WeChat, Blogging, YouTube, Google – are all these buzz words making you run around in marketing circles? For years Marketers and Social ‘experts’ have been telling us that we need to get develop a Social Marketing campaign and that it should be the major focus of our marketing plan.

So off we went and researched what Facebook is and how it can benefit a company to have a Facebook page. We then trained ourselves on the type of content our fans wish to receive from us, and just when we thought that we had got the formula 100 PERCENT correct, we started losing fans. Why?

Well, turns out our fans are now too impatient for Facebook. They now are active on Twitter or Instagram – far more reactive media that allow the public to interact with brands instantly. Which means a whole new perspective is required in order to make your social media marketing plan successful. Can you get your message across in 140 characters and do you know the rules of hash tagging, what do all those acronyms mean?

If you have been tuned into CNN and Sky News over the last couple of weeks you would have seen the speculation around Twitter’s drop in share price due to its numbers decreasing. Yes, you read right! Twitter followers are decreasing. Now what?

LinkedIn remains a strong platform for targeting corporates but one has to tread very lightly on this platform because if you pursue the incorrect audience or are seen as spamming users, your account will be de-activated and you will lose total credibility to an extremely important user base.

So what can you do to try and make sense of this complex, dynamic and ever-changing marketing medium? There are no guarantees of course, but below are some suggestions to help set you on the right path.

5 Steps to creating your Social Media Marketing campaign

1Who are you talking to?
In my experience, the only way to develop your social media strategy is to delve deeply into who your customer is. How old are they, what community do they live in, what interests do they have, what is their disposable income, are they family centric and what topical issues are important to them.

Once you have this information you will be able to ascertain which social media would best suit your audience.

2Where do I find my audience?
Now that you know who you are talking to you can ascertain if they have time to go onto Facebook to view your posts and interact with you or are they the Twitter types who have limited time but interact more frequently. Perhaps your audience is corporate-based and you would benefit from developing a targeted LinkedIn advertising campaign. Consider all the media available and find the one that best matches your audience. I think Jay Baer said it best ‘Activate your fans. Don’t just collect them like baseball cards’.

3When should I talk to my audience?
You may have the best content but, if you communicate it at the incorrect time, you might as well not communicate at all. For example, if your strategy is to develop a LinkedIn campaign based on your audience being primarily corporates, it would make no sense communicating to them on public holidays or year-end holidays as they are unlikely to see your content. And, even if they do, they will not be in the correct frame of mind to interact with you.

4Always ask yourself why
Do you have a reason to communicate with your audience or are you just posting content because you feel you ‘have’ to. An audience will only remain an active audience if the content is relative and interesting, so don’t make the mistake of posting for the sake of posting – your audience will spot it immediately and rapidly stop following you.

5Plan, plan, plan
Whilst social marketing should come off as spontaneous and topical, a huge amount of planning should go into your campaign. Decide on the platform/s you wish to use and develop monthly content calendars for these platforms. Naturally these are working documents that can be amended to suit unexpected new topics of the day but use them as a base to work from so that you are sure you are getting your targeted messaging across.

I am sure you have all heard it a hundred times before but I feel it cannot be said enough. The content theory is 20 percent product/service focused and 80 percent general interest – people do not want to be sold to all day long, so find creative interesting ways of keeping your brand alive.

Long gone are the days of the receptionist managing your Facebook page for you. Social Marketing has been around for a long time and it is getting more and more complex and the only certainty is that it will continue to change – the only way you have a fighting chance in this arena is to have a dedicated person managing your social marketing. Making an investment today will ensure success going forward.

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