Undeniably, social media places itself as one of the most vital means of advertising in the current business milieu. As global technologies have developed in tandem with both the desire and need to communicate more regularly, a plethora of digital advertising opportunities have emerged.
Below we explore five discussion points to raise during your social media marketing planning, to ensure you connect with the people whom you want to.
1. How can social media help you channel your goals?
Primarily, planning and setting goals are the essential first steps when targeting your audience through social media marketing. Adam Jones, marketing manager at Andrew James, emphasises the significance of distinguishing whom you’re trying to influence.
“Appreciate whom you are trying to connect with when advertising via social media," he notes. "Identify your target audience and effectively consider how you will reach them by acknowledging their demographic, lifestyle and location”.
Once an audience has been recognised, target objectives and outcomes can follow. This can be measured by a number of ‘page likes’ or ‘followers’ over a specific timeframe. It’s important to contextualise and meticulously examine your goals (before finalising them) as creating too big targets may leave you feeling like your underperforming.
Next, creating a channel-specific strategy will help in accomplishing your desired audience. We are truly spoilt for choice concerning social media channels, in today’s interconnected world. Bloc Eyewear recognises the unique benefits of using differential platforms, with marketing manager Russell Godfrey explaining which channels they use and their relevance to their business.
“We find that social media channels are ever changing and their value to our business is also ever changing. Twitter for example seems to have become a customer services platform for most of our customers, whereas on Instagram we can identify our customers by encouraging them to share images of them using our products. We hope this has almost a snowball effect in reaching out to more customers”.
2. How will you create/source valuable content?
Concerning the functional ways to target your audience, many businesses choose to create valuable content. This can be in the form of a blog feature, a social media post or a wider campaign, with the end goal of generating some much desired brand awareness.
Considering the actual content itself, it’s imperative that your consistent with the theme of what you’re creating. Sticking to brand guidelines, tone of voice and brand style will ensure that a connection with your audience will be made.
For instance, take Paddy Power’s current social media strategy. Despite being a business that offers a very specific and somewhat stigmatised service (online gambling) they frequently target their audience by regularly posting current and relevant sport themed content. Their comical photos and videos, tailors to the trends of their market thus provoking interaction. If your content is truly spectacular, then it may even go viral. The infamous ‘viral’ content proves to be a popular and somewhat guerilla way to locate your audience, particularly those outside your social proximity.
3. Where does paid content fit into your strategy?
When the number of your social media followers is few and far between, paid content is a worthwhile activity to get a message in front of a targeted audience. Directed advertising through platforms such as Facebook and Twitter allows you to acquire attention and gain exposure external to your social realm.
The head of ecommerce at Jules B, Tom Jeffrey, describes how using paid targeted advertising is crucial as a clothes retailer. “For a company like Jules B targeting specific groups is invaluable because we sell such a variety of brands that cater for a range of age groups, tastes, interests and backgrounds,” he explains.
If optimising visibility is the objective then perhaps look at promoting accounts/tweets on Twitter. As a result your tweets or page will appear at the top of targeted users timelines. If you’re looking for a more personal experience for your customers/users, look no further than Snapchat. Granted, regular visibility is potentially sacrificed in comparison to the other channels, however Snapchat offers sponsored Geofilters and Lenses, thereby offering a located form of targeted marketing that users can directly engage with.
Whichever service your using, it’s important to be open to making adjustments throughout the campaign. It’s rare that you’ll nail it on the head the first time accessing your target market, thus monitoring your spend during a campaign is vital, as efficient management of social media guarantees the budget is used effectively to connect with wanted users.
4. How are you going to drive engagement?
Interactive content is one the most successful methods of targeted marketing. The most basic kind of targeted interactive advertising can be presented as competitions, where businesses giveaway products encouraging participants to ‘page like’ and ‘share’, in return. This can generate awareness for emerging start-ups, however this tactic can become monotonous for an audience.
Over the past five years, video and reactive content with social media has become increasingly prominent. With the arrival of Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Instagram Stories, and Snapchat Stories, companies are tapping into unseen resources to connect with a certain demographic. In particular, Facebook shows all of the live streams happening around the world currently, exposing brands on a local and international level.
Additionally, it has the feature of seeing the quantity and type of impressions (like/dislike, love, amusing etc..) come in as the content is streamed. Consequently, companies can analyse what’s popular, there and then.
If you’re company is heavily involved with interactive social media, don’t forget to let your (current and prospective) customers know. One relatively underreported progression in social media technology was the artificial intelligence feature from Pinterest. Users are now able to take a photo of an item and it will recognise what you’ve seen and find where you can buy it online. Whilst their visual search tool has the potential to attract more customers and funnel commerce directly to your business, the lack of publicity surrounding the tool has arguably hindered its usability.
5. How can online and offline marketing be connected?
Offline social media marketing I hear you say!? That’s right, going offline can be an incredibly effective method to targeting specific groups. Many companies like using offline marketing as a catalyst to get people accessing their businesses social media page. For instance take the everyday feature of scanning QR codes from tickets, billboards, leaflets, etc. This is an easy method to get people on your page in a matter of moments.
Additionally, more traditional forms of offline marketing can lead to people to viewing your social media channels. Events, conferences, publicity stunts or simply some old-fashioned networking can encourage previously inaccessible customers to your social network. Real-life impressions are far stronger than those online, despite several millennials and some tech-savvy adults inevitably disagreeing.
Finally, it’s important to not disregard the technophobes or those who are less confident using the internet living amongst us. Organising offline events into how you can use social media can generate brand awareness amongst specific demographics. A great example of this is Barclays Digital Eagles scheme. They offer guides and one to one lessons in learning how to use social media and Skype, as well as banking safely online.
About Seb Burchell
I currently work as an Outreach Executive at Visualsoft. Visualsoft helps retailers to expand their businesses online by offering all forms of digital marketing. I have previously worked in social media marketing and most recently have turned to writing articles about the wider e-commerce sector.