The diffusion and easy accessibility to social media platforms led them to become an excellent communication tool. If used correctly they allow companies to obtain a wide spectrum of benefits: the increase in brand awareness, direct contact with your target audience, up to the collection of new leads.
With an ever growing number of registered users on social networks, implementing a successful marketing strategy allows you to promote your business and get a large number of advantages.
Nowadays social media are an integral part of our everyday lives, statistics say. Data from the Global Digital Report 2019 created by Hootsuite and We Are Social reveal that last year there were 5 billion active users on the Internet and about 297 million people created a new profile on at least one social network. These exponential numbers reveal that having a profile on social media is a must for a company that aims at developing and promoting its business.
However, although social media are considered to be the most successful communication channel, more and more we find ourselves in an environment saturated with information and advertising. It therefore becomes essential to develop a targeted marketing strategy and make the most out of the advertising formats available on the several and different existing platforms.
Before talking about how to set up a good social media marketing strategy and illustrating the advantages that a company can derive from it, it’s important to avoid two common mistakes:
1 . Think that you can manage a company profile in the same way you manage your personal account. The latter represents your private online space associated with your real identity, where you can interact with acquaintances and relatives and freely publish any content you want. This changes if you want to use a social network as a visibility tool for your business. In this case, you must remember that managing a company profile is a demanding activity that requires a lot of time, study and planning and plays an important role in terms of the success or failure of a company.
2. Think that one social is worth the other: each platform has its own rules, characteristics and audience. Therefore, it is essential to take into consideration and dedicate yourself only to those most suitable for your objectives, target audience and, last but not least, the available budget (that is, if you intend to integrate an organic strategy with paid advertising campaigns).
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing (SMM) is a branch of digital marketing that deals with the development of strategies that allow a company or a brand to achieve certain objectives on social networks, such as strengthening a company’s reputation, establishing a direct dialogue with existing and potential customers, gather new contacts and expand the customer portfolio. It includes planning, management and control of marketing and communication activities on social media.
What advantages can you get by implementing a targeted marketing strategy?
1. Increase Brand Awareness
This term indicates the consumer consciousness of a company and measures a potential customer’s ability to recognize a brand or a certain company’s product or service. The Aaker pyramid defines the four levels of notoriety in which your company can be positioned. It is an excellent tool to start from, as it allows you to understand the current stage of awareness of your brand and to evaluate the first steps to take.
At the base of the pyramid there is the so called “unaware of brand” level, i.e. the absence of brand awareness which denotes that your potential customers do not have the slightest idea of the existence of your company. On the second step, a company leaves total anonymity, but the knowledge of the brand is still too superficial.
The third step indicates a fairly strong and consolidated level of notoriety, but which has not yet reached its peak. This means that your brand may come to mind to a certain number of consumers who are looking for one of the goods or services offered by your company.
Finally, the top of the pyramid, called top of mind, shows that your company is the first alternative that comes to mind when a person needs a certain good or service.
To identify the level on which a certain brand is located within the Aaker pyramid, you can use some tools available online that will allow you to have an objective evaluation. For instance Google Analytics, a web analytics tool provided by Google, allows you to view detailed statistics on the behaviour of visitors on a website. In addition to this, taking for granted that those who run an online business will have a Facebook page, this social media platform provides a tool called Insights, which provides information on the performance of your page, such as the demographic analysis of your target and how people engage with your posts. This data, if intertwined with Analytics statistics, can help you understand the level of awareness of your brand.
2. Increase users engagement
Social media are the communication channel that allows you to increase the level of engagement more than any other medium. However, you have to keep in mind that social networks are not born with the aim of expanding the knowledge of a brand or promoting a company, but that of involving and connecting users. For this reason, it is essential to create an authentic bond with your audience, promoting direct interaction, responding to comments, questions or to any criticism, in a constructive and “human” way.
3. Increase traffic on your website
Incoming traffic to your website is usually generated by users who are already familiar with your brand and products. To achieve this goal, social platforms are an excellent tool as well; in fact, to drive new customers to your website, you can take advantage of both organic posts and the different advertising formats offered by the platforms.
4. Gather new contacts and turn them into potential customers
Another benefit that your company can derive from the implementation of a good social media marketing strategy is the collection of new contacts potentially interested in your brand and products.
The collection of new contacts is one of the basic principles of traditional marketing and an activity that in the past required a lot of effort. Salespeople had to go from one shop to the other, collecting names and information to create a specific database that would come in handy for future marketing purposes. Today, as social media are a feature in the lives of most people, this activity has undergone a radical change. Like offline marketing, on social media every company must find the right way to attract the attention of its potential customers and to convince and encourage them to leave their contact information (name and surname, email address, telephone number, company name and professional role are usually requested). In digital marketing this is called lead generation.
From theory to practice …
Now that we have theoretically seen what are the advantages of a good strategy, let’s move on to practice.
First, in social media marketing it is necessary to distinguish between organic strategy, which is based on activities carried out on social networks without investing money on paid advertising; and paid advertising campaigns. It is natural to wonder which of the two lines of action is more effective, but the answer is only one: to get good results and set a successful strategy, you need to combine both.
How to increase awareness and traffic on the site
As we said, social media present an excellent opportunity to significantly increase the visibility of your company profile by reaching new customers, and to consolidate your image and retain existing customers. To do this, you need to publish quality content and interesting news, remembering that whatever format you choose to use, “content is king“. The creation and regular publication of fresh, interesting and valuable content will allow you to get more clicks, comments and shares, increasing the probability that your post reaches even those who were not part of your community and will get in contact with your brand for the first time. These users, if attracted and driven by curiosity, will click on the post to deepen a certain topic and will be directed to your site, increasing incoming traffic. Remember always to include a link or a specific call-to-action to ensure that they are driven to a specific page of your website.
In order to increase the visibility and notoriety of your brand and drive more users to your website, you can also create paid advertising campaigns designed specifically for a targeted audience according to different criteria (i.e. demographics, personal interests, current geographical position, working position, user behaviour, etc …).
How to increase the engagement
The term is self-explanatory: the key is involvement. To make your audience active and generate more interactions ask them for an opinion on a particular topic through questions or surveys; actively respond to comments and create a relationship with them; offer prizes through competitions and giveaways; and humanize your brand so that it is not perceived as “faceless”: try to take your company as close as possible to the life of consumers and to make them feel free to communicate with you.
How to do lead generation
Our last point was lead generation, i.e. marketing actions to collect interested contacts. The most successful method for this activity is to offer a lead magnet, that is, a prize (such as free ebooks, trials, discounts, samples, gadgets or access to tutorials and webinars) that the user will receive after leaving his personal contact data. Whichever prize you choose to offer, it is necessary to clearly highlight its advantages in order to convince the user that it is worth leaving their data. The creation of contests and giveaways is another excellent tool to involve users in participating and gain leads.
Although lead magnets immediately attract a lot of attention, there is also a downside: the leads you will obtain are not always qualified, since many contacts could click and provide you their personal information only to obtain gifts and offers, without then converting to real customers. It is therefore better to use them only after having carefully evaluated the situation.
Finally, also in this case it is possible to create specific paid social campaigns for each target. In this regard, Facebook has developed a specific type of advertising called Facebook Lead Ads, which allows, through the release of a lead magnet, to quickly reach the audience you have selected.
How do you set up a good social media marketing strategy?
Before moving on to practice, it is good to set up a strategy: without the right doses and the right ingredients, it is almost impossible for our recipe to be successful. In Social Media Marketing, just like in the kitchen, there is room for a bit of improvisation and above all to review the strategy in progress (indeed, it is a duty!). However, bringing the image and brand of your company into play without first carefully evaluating objectives, tools, methods, timing and content is a risky and counterproductive behaviour. So, let’s see some useful ideas to set our strategy:
1) Define your goals: why do you want to do SMM? What do you want to achieve? Always try to set S.M.A.R.T. objectives: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based.
2) Analyse the behaviour of your main competitors: which platforms do they use? Do they invest in social media advertising? What kind of content do they publish? What tone of voice do they use, i.e. what is their style and how do they communicate with their interlocutors?
3) Choose the social network that best suits your business. If you are wondering if there are privileged platforms to make SMM, the answer is NO: it all depends on your goals, on the type of goods and services your company offers and on the target audience you want to reach.
4) Create your editorial calendar: once you have chosen the platform that best suits your objectives, put on paper the strategy, the objectives identified and the contents to reach them, possibly including also social media advertising campaigns. Then choose how often to publish the content, in what format, on which platform and when.
5) Be active: publish and respond to comments to establish a relationship with already acquired or potential customers.
In SMM there is no universal recipe that guarantees the success of one strategy over another or that ensures that one course of action is better than the other. There are infinite variables and aspects that must be taken into consideration: social media and the internet itself are in constant change, the channel you have chosen may turn out to be the wrong one for your objectives and it is often not possible to predict user behaviour a priori.
Rule number 1 is to be present (but not necessarily on all platforms) and make sure that users can find you with a simple click!
Social networks now play a fundamental role in our lives and the trend is perpetually growing. However, it is clear that to the question present in the title, that is, what are the advantages of a targeted social media marketing strategy, there is only one answer: if our audience and potential customers are active on social media, then those who have a business must also be there. And to foster brand recognition and loyalty, to increase traffic on your site and to ultimately reach our audience and get in touch with potential customers, it is essential to be able to count on a targeted, effective and well-planned strategy.
Are you interested in promoting your company on social networks, but do not know where to start? Find out more about our digital communication and marketing consulting services. Together we can work on the right strategy to grow your online business.