Social media is often touted as a valuable marketing channel for SMEs and large corporations, but how exactly do you go about engaging larger audiences? Especially on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube.
Avoiding the trap of deploying direct response advertising in favour of organic content is the first step.
A study released by Forrester shows that companies are pulling back on ‘performance’ marketing. This is because consumers are not receptive to a bombardment of posts that are not relevant to them. Marketing experts believe that this is one of the reasons why business owners struggle to maintain steady relations.
Being too aggressive can actually undermine everything you are striving for.
Proof Analytics CEO Mark Stouse notes: “In rocky times, everyone is looking for anything that removes friction and risk from the equation. Those concerns are addressed by brand – awareness, confidence, trust – not by how many emails or texts you can pump out every hour to people who may or may not want to receive them.”
The combination of content and effective social media management is an excellent way to nurture this awareness, confidence and trust.
Map the journey
You will find it difficult to achieve success with social media if there are blind spots in your knowledge. You need to understand how your customers will engage with your content. It’s worth noting down what you want the consumer to do once they have watched a video, or clicked through the links in your blog post.
A few questions to consider here include:
- How can social media posts change how your audience thinks and feels about your brand?
- Where do you want to send them afterwards, and is it important that the journey continues after this point?
- How can content on social media support the different stages of the buying journey?
- Do you want them to sign up to a newsletter or an email?
Being clear on how you expect social media campaigns to have impact on your customers is the first step to achieving success. You will be able to create a clear journey that you can take consumers on. Perhaps more importantly, you will be able to support them through the added value of relevant content.
Now that the groundwork has been done, you can start looking at how to create the content that will engage your target audience. If you need help with this, you can call on the expertise of an agency that has a team of writers and editors at its disposal.
Whether you decide to produce something internally or go with an agency, you first need to decide on your preferred content format. It could be a blog post, a video or an infographic.
This content should draw in users and prompt them to take some sort of action. You want them to be ready to learn more about your brand, and any products or services you offer. However, you need to do this by skirting around the ‘direct’ form of messages that consumers are tiring of.
You can do this by building from the added value nature of content marketing materials. You’re likely to have heard it before, but content should always be catered to the needs of your audience. Just speaking about your brand is not enough.
Content should be ‘hyper relevant’, in that it speaks to a consumer in a way that is sympathetic to where they are at that specific moment.
Are you a company with a physical store that is preparing to open up again in the near future? You could create a blog that details some of the precautions and measures you are implementing to ensure that everyone can shop safely.
This content will appeal to consumers in the first stage of the marketing funnel where piquing interest is crucial. Additionally, it will appeal to customers who may have bought something from you or interacted with you in the past.
Build an audience
Your first article is the enticing incident that sets the subsequent journey in motion. Following up with another article and video that can move them to the ‘action’ stage of the funnel is preferable.
You can use social media in this way to move customers through their respective buying journeys in the most seamless way possible.
If you have enjoyed success with a recently published article on Facebook, there are probably plenty of people who are waiting for another piece of engaging content from your brand.
These hot leads may be just a click or two away from completing a purchase.
The content and what is covered therein should be tailored to their needs. Do they need a link to a guide covering different product options, or would a case study be best? You can use the basic building blocks of a marketing funnel to help you decide on what content types are preferable.
Be persistent, not pushy
The Forrester study shows that endless communication can frustrate consumers. But, you need to be persistent to get people to take the next step. Unlike a barrage of emails and texts, your content will inform consumers, so you should only see positive actions thereafter.
To sum up, using content on social media can be seen as an extension of the marketing funnel that is widely used by companies to get customers from A to B. Engaging, personalised content works better than floods of voucher codes and product listings that may not be of interest or use to your target audience.
Social media can not only aid the purchase process but also enable you to build long-lasting relationships by putting content in the front of customers exactly when they need it. You cannot put a price on that.