It’s Social Media, Stupid! A Professional’s Guide to Correctly Utilizing Social Media

Posted: May 21, 2015

Topics: Digital Marketing

We’re going to go ahead and say it – sometimes social media gets a bad rap.

Lately, it seems as though you can’t go through a day without seeing an article or a blog post knocking it. We’ve heard all about the infamous Facebook algorithm that’s cutting organic reach, Twitter spambots that are giving us quantity and not quality, and the list goes on.

Nobody is denying that there are downsides to these platforms when they’re used incorrectly, or maliciously, or when people are trying to “trick the system,” but isn’t that the case with most things?

Believe us, the benefits of social media are vast when you’re utilizing it in the right way.

Discover Who Your Audience is and Then Grow it
Your social efforts won’t work if you’re pushing out content that doesn’t resonate with your audience. The good news is that some of the biggest social platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, will give you free insight into your followers and which ones are engaging with your content.

Take a look at these metrics and see if your current audience lines up with your ideal audience. If your fans match up with the target you want to reach, keep doing what you’re doing. If not, look at ways to create different content to attract your ideal audience. It may be as easy as putting a spin on how you’re positioning your product or service in the social space.

Once you’ve got an idea of your ideal audience, you can begin developing a personalized and applicable content plan for them. When you’ve got a solid grasp on the type of content you need to create and publish, consider putting some money behind a few of your posts. Boosted posts and Facebook ‘Like’ ads provide you with the opportunity to precisely target by age, gender, interests, and more.

Social media allows you to optimize your marketing, in real-time, to find out what’s resonating and what isn’t based on who you’re reaching. Utilize these platforms analytics and targeting capabilities to reach and grow your ideal audience.

Use Your Social Networks to Increase Website Traffic
Many brands already attach their website URLs to their social content, but the key is to make sure that you’re being smart about it.

If you have a budget to put towards paid social support, boost only the posts that drive traffic to your website. We’ve seen brands put dollars behind posts that don’t include a URL or, even worse, drive traffic to a completely unassociated website.

Don’t use your marketing budget in a way that doesn’t encourage the viewer to learn more about you.

The benefit of using your social media networks to increase traffic is that there’s no guessing about whether or not your audience is interested. If they’ve liked/followed your channels, they’ve already taken an active step in saying that they want to see what you’re publishing. Make sure that you’re posting strategic content that resonates with them and encourages them to explore your website and brand further.

Create Advocacy With Your Fans
Now that you’re identifying and creating content for your ideal audience and you’ve strategically encouraged them to learn more about your brand, it’s time to get personal.

We cannot stress this enough – your fans are incredibly important to your business.

You have to give people a reason to care and a reason to share because, after all, that’s the main purpose of social media. Make sure that you’re communicating and engaging with those who post and comment on your page. Even more, try asking your fans questions through your social media channels.

For example, “Would you rather learn more about ______ or ______? Let us know and we might write a blog post on the topic!”

When a fan feels as though their opinion is wanted and appreciated, they’re more likely to trust you and tell their friends about you. Peer recommendations go a long way.

Social media allows you to easily and quickly conduct these conversations, encouraging relationships building between the brand and consumers.

Encourage Creativity to Increase Engagement
Social platforms today are not what they were years ago, that’s for sure. Many brands are going above and beyond to really highlight their messaging and make it unique.

Take a look at, “Long Drive Home” from Mazda and JWT Canada. They uploaded three posts at a time to the Mazda Canada Instagram channel. In doing so, they were utilizing the grid format of the platform to showcase followers, sponsorships, and cultural events.

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Another interesting example is from Acura. They launched an interactive campaign that allowed users to build their own version of the TLX without ever leaving Twitter. Seriously. How cool is that?

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Now, we don’t all have marketing budgets like the major automakers do; however, it shouldn’t stop us from thinking outside of the box. Stretch your mind and see how your brand can take advantage of the creativity that social media offers.

Social media can absolutely have its downsides but from a brand perspective, the good outweighs the bad. Figure out how to best showcase your brand and your content in a strategic way with an audience that’s already in the space. Go above and beyond the typical and you’ll see how these platforms can assist you in generating leads and creating loyal fans.