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An effective social media strategy with regular activity can let you build awareness for your brand and reach new audiences that you are unlikely to touch through other forms of advertising. It can also help you to build strong relationships with your customer base, developing loyalty and promoting a strong brand image. Especially in the current climate, businesses are discovering the strong results which follow from a strategic social media presence: more sales, more new and returning customers, better return on investment and more awareness for their brand, resulting in stronger growth.

Social media is not only a strong marketing tool in itself, it also supports and assists other marketing activities and will help you achieve broader results. Here are five ways that social media can support and promote other marketing efforts;

1. Public Relations

PR will give you external news articles which can be shared across your social media channels, effectively increasing your brand’s credibility. Social networking enables instant sharing of information and can be easily picked up and posted by other bloggers and online journalists. This offers you wider coverage of your news and ensures it reaches a larger audience. You can also help nurture your business relationships by tagging the sources in your content.

2. Customer Service

Customer service can be enhanced with a click of a button through social media. Nowadays, customers tend to enquire about products and services through DM (Direct Messaging) and comments on posts. Social Media gives you the ability to reach your customers 24/7 and offer first-class customer service in the palm of your hand. Make sure you’re fully up to date with settings on all of your social media platforms so that it’s easy for your customers to get hold of you, for example, set up ‘auto messaging’ where your customers will automatically be prompted with an acknowledgement message if they contact you out of office hours.

3. Case Studies

Highlight your key stats by sharing some example Case Studies. One way of doing this would be to share a link to a case study and tag the customer in the post. The trick here is to post your case studies in a way that attracts the right people to click through, rather than just a generic message. LinkedIn is a great platform for getting your case studies noticed by fellow businesses. Add your case studies to your list of publications and/or share them in relevant LinkedIn Groups.

4. Pay-per-click

Successful PPC marketers know that testing is key, so bring that concept over to your social media. For example, use Facebook Audience Insights to get a better handle of your best-performing demographics and share some of your results.

5. Events and Sponsorships

Attending and sponsoring events are a great way to network with other businesses and will allow you to discuss your services face to face with potential suitors. Many of these are being moved online to ‘virtual networking events’ but can still give you the chance to connect with your new contacts via social media. Connect with each other on LinkedIn and post lots of Instagram stories throughout your event.

In order to get the most out of your social media, you need to make sure that your social media plays the right role in your overall marketing plan and spend your time and energy in ensuring your social media management backs this up. If you don’t have the time to do this in house, then hiring a social media agency can take care of the whole process for you.

Having a coherent, clear social media strategy became even more essential during the whirlwind of 2020. Since social media is constantly changing and evolving, the methods in which we make our company’s events, initiatives, and information available to our audiences must constantly change as well. As the world of social media marketing grows, it is more important than ever to have a robust strategy in place to try and ‘woo’ your audiences on a consistent basis and grow their trust as part of your social media strategy in 2021.

While there are many things to consider, the experts at South Coast Social provide an overview of 5 important tips to ensure you start the year on top of your social media game…

1. Prioritise quality and authenticity

This should have been your number one priority since day one, but it can never be said too much. As tools for creating engaging content become more popular and readily available, more and more companies are upping their game, making it harder to “stop the scroll.”

As consistently as you can, post high-quality, engaging visuals. If you have an important message for your audience, do not sell yourself short with easy or poorly executed content. Go the extra mile to acquire scroll-stopping videos, images, and relevant captions….

…Especially video! According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index, it was estimated that around nearly 80% of all internet traffic is now video. Social media platforms are increasingly prioritising video, as this format appeals across all demographic lines.

Authenticity? This goes hand in hand with quality. Users are growing tired of fake content and while more is being done to prevent the spread of misinformation since the Covid-19 pandemic began, it is more important than ever to be authentic. We know that creating authentic content isn’t always easy, but it will encourage your audience to have a growing trust in your brand.

2. Do a Content Audit

A content audit is the process of collecting and analysing all the assets you have available on your website or otherwise, in this case – any relevant for social media use. When planning social content, knowing what is already readily available will save you time and effort and will help inspire you in creating new content, or knowing when to invest in a professional photoshoot (or start experimenting on your own!)

Assess what can be repurposed, tweaked or deleted, and then categorise each of them by where that content falls in the buyer’s journey. Don’t forget to add notes, as context is always key.

3. Utilise stories… like there’s no tomorrow

Most social audiences (not all, but most) are on Instagram. If they are not on Instagram, they’re definitely on Facebook. Instagram and Facebook have few things in common, but one stands out screaming, “Hey! Look at me!” – and that’s Stories.

Stories have legitimately taken over social media since their launch in 2016, with over 500 million users watching them every day. One third of the most viewed Instagram Stories are from businesses – and you absolutely want to ensure you are part of that percentage! If you are having a hard time deciding what type of content to post to Stories, think quick, easily digestible, and memorable. Any content that requires your audience to ‘lean in’ and digest should be a Post. Everything else? Post that baby to a Story (and then add it to a Highlight!).

 4. Spend time online

Conversations online spread like wildfire. It’s likely that you won’t be able to keep up with all the topics of conversation around your niche that occur on a daily basis, but it is important to keep an eye on them, if and when your audience is taking part in them.

If you are utilising a social content scheduling tool like Hootsuite or Buffer, it is essential to check in weekly – if not daily – and make sure that the content you have scheduled is still appropriate.

You do not have to be on all social platforms!. With several big-name options to choose from – including LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok, and YouTube, it is not feasible in terms of time or resources. Focus on the platforms your target audiences may be using…. 

LinkedIn: Most users have a college/advanced degree, and their incomes tend to be higher.

Twitter: 63% of all Twitter users worldwide are between the ages of 35 and 65.

Instagram: Instagram skews more towards younger users:

– Age 18-29: 67%

– Age 30-49: 47%

– Age 50-64: 23%

– Age 65+: 8%

Snapchat: Most users are under the age of 34.

Facebook: Facebook, while not as popular as Snapchat or Instagram with younger users, does span a wide range of ages.

Pinterest: 25 percent more women use Pinterest than men.

TikTok: Although TikTok is fairly secretive about its user demographics, one analysis revealed that 40% of TikTokers are under age 20 and another 26% are under 30.

YouTube: Everyone seems to use YouTube! Set up a channel if relevant to your business.

By being aware of your platform selection’s most prominent audiences, you can make the most of your time and effort – and reach the right people in the right places with your social media strategy. Don’t forget to keep up to date with the latest trends for each platform.

5. Meet to discuss ‘Crisis Communication’

This is not exactly a revolutionary social media strategy. However, it is a fundamental one. 2020 has taught us many things but if there is one we need to take away for the upcoming year, it’s that a timely response is absolutely paramount.

Now, more than ever, what your company stands for is incredibly important to your audience. Try planning an internal meeting or a team Zoom to discuss the issues that occurred during 2020 and how you could have responded better socially. Based on what you find in that meeting, decide your company’s stance and plan ways to communicate quickly about similar issues. You may never need to use these responses externally, but knowing these things will help your brand’s focus either way.

This list only scratches the surface, but if you follow the five steps outlined here, it is highly likely that you will have a robust social content plan matched by an audience that trusts both your online presence and your brand in 2021, but we know it can also be rather time consuming…

See more from South Coast Social here – Consider hiring a social media agency for your business today.