When I first stepped into the world of social media marketing, I thought it was as easy as putting together a list of Facebook posts and hitting publish. I was dead wrong.
Good social media is evocative and connects with your specific audience on a deeper level. Just as businesses add value to customers’ lives delivering products and services, the best social media campaigns add value to their demographics.
If you want to truly stand out from the rest, here are the eight secret avenues I have learned over the years that can lead you to big success with your social media strategy:
1. Know yourself
Most marketers overlook a very basic principle when it comes to social media: understanding their own company, its strengths and weaknesses and its desired place in the market. Being open and honest with yourself on what you are good at is the most important thing to not just social media, but all aspects of business. You must first identify the following before becoming successful on social media:
- Your goals and intentions with social media
- Your audience
- What your audience cares about
- What you know a lot about
- What content type matches your team’s personality, culture and capabilities
Once you know all of these things, you’ll be able to effectively craft a social media and content marketing plan. But until then, you’ll likely be like most organizations, blindly attempting to mirror the social media success of another company. Beyond the secret of “knowing yourself” is the power that comes with understanding the overlap of what you are good at and what your audience truly wants.
2. The content plan and dashboard
Social media should be looked at like any other facet of business. In operations, you have a process and structure to deliver your products/services. In finance, you have a comprehensive annual plan, with weekly and daily checkpoints to ensure success. In sales, you have targets, action plans and specific checkpoints and quotas to meet top line goals.
Social media is not unlike these arenas. To be successful, there must be clear plans and clear intentions that are metric driven and add real business value. So before shelling out significant social media investment or even hiring a social media manager, first create a structure, an annual plan and a dashboard that shows performance metrics.
In your content plan, you should map out annually all the content you are going to make. You should also figure out what formats your content will take, how you will distribute, the marketing funnel from the content to sales and your final KPIs to present in a dashboard. All this information can be done using a marketing automation tool or simply in a spreadsheet that you make.
Regardless of what you decide, if you are equipped with a content plan and dashboard, you’ll be able to quickly and effectively judge your social and content performance. This is key to making investment and hiring decisions. Don’t be caught blindly spending and guessing on your social performance. Plan it out, prepare for social media trends and link the results to valuable business metrics.
3. Meaningful interaction
When people comment on your Facebook posts or tweet at you, take it seriously. A huge secret to success with social is truly looking at online social interaction as an opportunity to make a significant and meaningful relationship with the user.
While it requires extra time, and some good amount of creativity, thinking of unique ways to respond that are personalized to audience can make huge payoffs.
Whether it’s sending them a gift in the mail or just crafting a clever direct message that relates to something on their profile, taking the extra time to make a personalized message can go so far in building brand advocates.
4. LinkedIn sales navigator
In B2B social sales, you need to be able to connect with the specific decision-makers at the accounts you are aiming to win. Finding these people can be tough, but with the LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you’ll have access to an incredible amount of information.
Not only can you use this paid tool to access all the accounts of people at companies you want to sell to, but you can see who has recently changed jobs, have access to their other social media accounts and gain a ton of other valuable B2B social insight. You can use this social information to interact with your decision-makers and build real interactions with them on social that can translate to in-person relationships.
5. Facebook groups
Facebook groups are an overlooked social media tactic, and using them properly can yield huge social and business payoffs. If you’re B2B, you can create groups for the type of professionals you’re selling to.
The key is starting with a niche that aligns with your audience and products, then building it organically by curating great content and encouraging engagement. A great example of this is Tai Lopez, who has been able to share his exciting and inspirational views across social media channels.
You should create posts that ask questions that are relevant to the audience. Go “live” while in the group to chat directly with people or implement other video marketing trends in the group for maximum engagement. Many marketers have successfully built large groups with thousands of target demographic users.
This is a long-term game. Pushing for the sale too quickly can result in loss of trust from your initial group members, so be sure to slowly and authentically build trust and demand for your products and services. Always focus on building a community that is valuable for everyone in the group.
6. Facebook dollar a day
While Facebook groups are a slow game to building a community, the paid Facebook ad is an incredibly powerful tactic that can rapidly grow your audience and social reach on demand. The dollar-a-day tactic is a simple way to start with Facebook advertising. Basically, you start by identifying an audience, then create a few “lighthouse” clients and pieces of content and boost these posts to your audience continually for a dollar a day.
This, at the very core, is the stage one structure of success in building a successful paid ad strategy on Facebook. While a simple paragraph can’t do the justice of the potential and complex nature of paid ads, the dollar-a-day strategy is a good way to start. Dig deeper into this topic and you won’t regret it.
7. Track success
Knowing what content is working on social can significantly improve your social strategy. Track the specific posts so you can report at the end of the year which posts performed best and why.
If you do this, over time you’ll be able to determine what types of posts your audience are most interested in and be able to create more of that and less of the posts that didn’t create interaction. So you might find that the unique 360 VR video you created got the most comments. Or maybe it flopped. But either way, knowing can help you make smarter choices next year.
8. Cold call sharing
Once a year, go through your customer database and give people a call. Ask them to follow you on Twitter, like you on Facebook and perhaps leave a review or share one of your articles. You’d be surprised how many of your existing customers are not a part of your social mediacommunity and are simply a call away from being an active member.
The “ask” is key in life, and definitely in growing your social media presence. If you’re B2B, gaining a few new reviews can be huge for your online reputation. And if you’re B2C, a tasteful call to your customer could be a great touch and help get many people engaged. This artful secret combines customer service, account management, sales and ultimately social.
Now get to work and implement them before your competition does!
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors.