Chapter 7

Social Media

Understanding Social Media for your business

In this chapter of the Web Rocket, you will be introduced to the importance of using social media for your business and the key roles it plays.

We will take you through planning your social media strategy, creating and optimising your profiles and posts, social engagement, networking, monitoring and much more.

In the Social Media chapter you will;

  • Establish and review your Social Media Strategy
  • Create and optimise your Social Media Profiles
  • Set a Social Media Schedule
  • Learn to create optimised Social Media Posts
  • Understand how to grow your Social Media Following
  • Learn to engage customers on Social Media
  • Become fluent with monitoring Social Media Metrics
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What is Social Media Marketing?

Social Media Marketing is the process of using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube (to name but a few), for the purposes of promoting your business online and engaging with a growing and diverse audience.

There are huge benefits to using social media for your marketing and promotion, but you should have a clear plan in place and a full understanding of how to get the most from the platforms.

 

How can I use Social Media for my business?

Social Media is an essential tool for businesses to reach a wider audience in an open and engaging context. It serves as a fantastic avenue to existing and potential customers and, if used correctly, can offer fantastic opportunities to promote your brand.

Social Media can be used for a number of key purposes, including;

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Understanding brand sentiment
  • Consumer engagement
  • Audience, competitor, and industry research
  • Driving website traffic
  • Gaining sales and enquiries
  • Providing more personal and direct customer support

 

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Step 1 - Review your Social Media Strategy

All effective social media starts with a plan

Before we move forward with Social Media, we MUST have a strategy. Bad social media practices can be damaging for your brand, so we need to make sure we have a solid plan in place before we open ourselves up to the online community.

In Chapter 2 of the Web Rocket, you will have created a Social Media Strategy as part of your Digital Marketing Plan >>

Let's review what we discussed in Chapter 2.

 

As part of your Social Media Strategy, you should have;

  • Social Media can be used for a range of purposes including, raising brand awareness, driving website traffic, promoting products and services, engaging consumers, providing customer support and much more. Have a clear idea of why you are using Social Media to benefit your business.

  • It's important to have a clear idea of what we want to achieve from our campaign. Identify a clear set of measurable goals to track the performance of your campaign. Choose social media goals that align with your business objectives. You can learn about social media goals over on Buffer >>

  • Don't post and run! These platforms provide valuable tools that allow you to track and monitor the effectiveness of your promotional activities. It's also a great way to engage your users and monitor their reactions in a qualitative way, using that information to adjust your activities accordingly.

  • From your target audience research, you should have an idea of which social media platforms your audience are most likely to be using. These are the ones you need to target. You can explore the trends and statistic for social platforms to find out more.

    You should also consider the pros, cons, and tools available on each social platform as to which hold the most benefit and flexibility for your promotional activities.

  • Check out what your competition is doing. Learn from their success and how to improve where they are struggling. You can also investigate customer engagement and feedback in the social media setting.

  • If you are already using social media, you should evaluate your current activities and effectiveness. See where you can improve and build on your promotional activities.

We highly recommend reading more about Social Media Marketing over at HubSpot >>

 

 
Step 2 - Create & Optimise your Social Media Profiles

How to create and optimise your business social media profiles

Just like your website, your social media profiles are an online representation of your business.

They are the forum through which consumers will learn about and engage with your brand in a social context. We want to make a positive, lasting impression and provide consumers with useful, accurate information. We also need our business to look the part in our social spotlight.

 

There are a few points to keep in mind when creating your social media profiles;

  • Choose a username that is aligned with our business and brand name
  • Ensure all company bio and contact information is complete and consistent across all platforms
  • Keep brand consistency across all social media accounts
  • Always include a direct link to your website
  • Use clear, correctly-sized images for profile photos, cover graphics and images
  • Link from your website to each of your official Social Media Profiles
  • Utilise specific tools to enhance your profile engagement, such as "call to action" buttons, reviews and messenger services

There are more specific guidelines for each Social Media Platform, however, these are the core principles you should keep in mind when creating each one.

You can read some great tips on social media profile optimisation on Search Engine Watch >>

You can find resources for individual platforms in the resources section, so please read each of these for your chosen platforms whilst you create or update your individual social media profiles.

 

 
Step 3 - Social Media Scheduling

Creating a posting calendar for your Social Media

As part of our Social Media Campaign, we will need to work in conjunction with our Content Marketing Strategy.

In the Web Rocket – Digital Marketing Plan, you will have put together your content strategy, identifying the topics and types of content that you will be creating and distributing.

You will also have created a Content Calendar to schedule when you will be focusing on each area. Your social media posting needs to tie in with the content focus.

Creating a social media schedule from the topics on your content calendar will allow you to plan ahead and research each subject to identify how and when to distribute this to the relevant social channels.

 

For each content topic you add to your social posting schedule, you should consider;

  • What is the topic focus from your content calendar?
  • Which of your chosen platforms will you be distributing each to?
  • When are the best days and times to schedule the posts for?
  • What "type of post" will best engage users in the chosen topic? (Text based, Image, Video)

Let's do a quick social post example;

  • The content focus for the current week is a new product launch
  • We will create posts for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
  • We will opt for a Facebook, Monday morning and Saturday evening post, Twitter, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday afternoon and Instagram, Wednesday and Friday evenings.
  • As a product launch, we will be using high quality product photos, a video explainer and a “How-to-guide” – each of which include a launch discount code as an incentive.

Using a combination of media styles, post times and platforms ensures an engaging launch with an extended reach. The time-sensitive discount code creates an urgency for users to click through and visit the linked page on your website.

Explore some great ideas for Social Media posts over on Sprout Social – “21 Social Media Post Ideas”

Here is a great Social Media Calendar Template from HubSpot >>

 

Be flexible and adapt your social media posting schedule

Remember, when creating your content calendar and social media schedule, the world does not operate on our predictions alone. We have to keep our finger on the pulse for new trends, time-sensitive news and events, and adapt our posting accordingly.

If something crops up that is relevant for your brand to engage in, don't miss opportunities. Create the relevant topical posts, connect with your followers and claim your space in the action!

 

Automated Social Media Scheduling Tools

Whilst you are planning your in-house social media post scheduling, you may want to consider using automated scheduling tools, which allow you to create and preload posts to be triggered at your desired times.

These tools can be very useful for loading the content in advance, allowing you to focus your efforts on engagement and monitoring of your campaign.

Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have onboard tools which allow you to schedule your social media posts. There are also some useful 3rd party platforms that allow you to manage them all in one area, which can be a great time saver.

Here is a list of free 3rd party social scheduling tools >>

 

 

 
Step 4 - Creating Social Media Posts

Creating engaging Social Media posts and expanding your reach

Social Media platforms offer a range of tools for creating your posts. Whether you are pre-scheduling, posting as you go, or a combination of both, the content of your posts must be planned and created to maximise engagement.

Remember, the key goals of our social media presence are to connect with our existing and potential customers, raise our brand awareness and drive traffic to our website.

Always refer back to your social media strategy and overall goals when creating posts. Be sure that you are aligning your actions with your brand and the objectives of your social media presence.

 

Post prep review - In your social scheduling, you will have already;

  • Created your content calendar to identify "what" you will be focusing on and when
  • Decided "where" you will be posting your content
  • Set your posting schedule to determine "when" you will be sharing to social media
  • Identified "how" and which format you will be using to share your content

The next stage is to create a highly engaging post, utilising the relevant tools available to you on each platform. We don't simply share a photo with no context or purpose.

We must create a post that will gain the attention of users as they scroll through a never ending feed, and encourage them to perform the desired action.

 

When creating a post on social media, you should;

  • Create a grabbing headline and description to contextualise your post
  • Upload images in the correct dimensions for the social platform
  • Make use of hashtags to brand your post and improve visibility
  • Include calls to action such as direct links to the corresponding page on your website, enquiry buttons or click to call
  • Mention or "Tag" any relevant 3rd parties or collaborators that are relevant to your post
  • Ensure that each post aligns with your brand identity for recognition and consistency

Check out this useful article for more information - "How to create the perfect social media post"

Once you have a full understanding of these key concepts of creating the perfect social media posts, we can look at growing your social media following.

 
Step 5 - Growing your Social Media Following

Build your social following to reach a wider, targeted audience

Now we have a clear idea of the processes we will go through to engage our followers, we need to think about how to grow that audience.

Social Media is the ideal platform through which to extend our reach, if we make use of the resources available to us. Let's run through a few key concepts which will help grow your following and reach a wider audience.

 

As part of our Social Media Profile & Posting, we have already ensured that we;

  • Have a strategy in place for our social presence
  • Are consistent with our brand identity
  • Adapt our posting schedule with time-sensitive news, trends and topical content
  • Post regular, engaging, optimised content
  • Make use of hashtags and mentions

This gives us a solid grounding in place for people that visit our social media profiles. They are going to see a high quality, populated profile which is active and engaging.

But how do we get more people to our profiles in the first place?

 

Activities for building your social following;

  • Actively engage with your users – always reply to comments, messages, and reviews
  • Utilise Groups and Communities – extend your content beyond your own feed and, where available, post and engage in relevant groups to reach a wider audience
  • Follow and engage with influencers in your industry
  • Collaborate with related companies and brands
  • Offer customer support via social media
  • Get your employees involved – if your employees advocate for your brand, it builds trust and relationships
  • Make use of sponsored ads and promotional tools

These are some great ways to extend your content beyond your own social media profiles and reach people in different ways. Collaborations, groups, and ads are great to reach an audience that doesn't already know about you.

Check out this useful article from Search Engine Journal about "How to get more social followers" >>

 
Step 6 - Engaging Customers on Social Media

Keep the conversation flowing on social media, build relationships & provide customer support

As part of growing your social media following, we mentioned engagement. Whilst engagement is a crucial element in expanding your reach, positive engagement also serves a number of other purposes.

Here we will look at the importance of social media for customer care and support.

Just like you answer your business calls, respond to emails and attend meetings, your social media is another avenue of direct communication with your customers.

You should never just post an endless stream of content to your social feeds. It is more beneficial to engage your audience and build relationships.

As part of your social media activities, you should;

  • Always respond to comments and replies to your social media posts
  • Make use of direct messaging and private conversations
  • Acknowledge and respond to customer reviews and mentions of your brand online
  • Keep consistent with your brand voice when engaging
  • Be responsive to support queries and service enquiries
  • Keep responses timely
  • Have a clear route of escalation and procedures for following up enquiries, complaints and feedback

Your social media is a portal to customer service that should not be neglected. Not only is this an opportunity to build relationships with your customers, but it is in the public spotlight, so we need to get it right!

Check out this useful article from Hootsuite - Social Media for customer service >>

 

Engaging on Social Resources

 
Step 7 - Social Media Monitoring

Social Listening and Monitoring Social Media Engagement

As well as being proactive with our social media campaign, we MUST learn from our activities and the response of our audience.

We should monitor the status of our brand online at all times and be sure that our efforts are leading us in the right direction.

 

Some simple ways to monitor basic social media engagement include;

  • Shares or retweets
  • Comments on posts
  • Likes on posts and profiles
  • Followers, connections, and audience growth
  • Click-throughs to our website
  • Private messages and/or enquiries
  • Mentions or tags of our brand
  • Use of branded hashtags
  • Reviews and recommendations of our brand

Whilst these are the metric stats we are looking at, this isn't a numbers game.

 

Qualitative Social Media Metrics

On social media, we will need to measure quality, tone, relevance, and outcomes.

For example, we wouldn't measure just the number of reviews we have. We need to measure the number of positive / negative reviews we gain over a set period.

We can also enrich our demographic data with reach and insights, understanding the statistics of our engaged audience.

One of the most important factors is taking note of referrals and ROI from social media. How many visitors come from social media to our website? Subsequently, how many of those convert into customers?

You can check out this useful article from Spout Social on the Most Important Social Media Metrics >>

 

Social Media Monitoring Tools

There are a number of tools available to monitor our brand and our progress on social media platforms.

Most have their own insights built in for businesses. You will be able to see various metrics over set time periods and interpret these alongside your goals.

Google Analytics will allow you to monitor the number of visitors that have come from social media to your website.

You can also make use of 3rd party social monitoring tools >>

 

We should always be looking to achieve our campaign goals. These insights provide us with the information we need to adapt our activities and processes for better results.

 

 

Social Monitoring Resources

 
Step 8 - Create a SWOT Analysis

Create a SWOT Analysis

Now that we know how we're going to measure the performance and effectiveness of our marketing efforts, let's take a baseline reading of our current position.

It's important to have a grasp of how we are currently performing to guage improvement over time. Use the spreadsheet or table you have created to complete a baseline column.

GoalKPIBaselineJanuaryFebruary
Increase Website Traffic1000 Visitors per month598 VisitsTBCTBC

Once you have recorded all of the data for your current position, you will have a clear idea of where to focus your efforts for improvements and where you are currently performing well. This will allow you to assess any current marketing methods to evaluate where change is needed and what can be learned from successful metrics.

Here we may now consider doing a S.W.O.T analysis.

A SWOT analysis helps you understand internal and external factors that can make or break your success toward your marketing goals. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

You can look at your current performance and discuss with your team where you are performing well, where you need improvement, where those opportunities for improvement are and threats or challenges to moving forward.

You can begin the S.W.O.T analysis at this point and revisit once you have completed your competitor and industry research to add to and expand on your current view on the situation.

 

Measuring KPI Resources

Step 9 - Create a Digital Advertising Plan

Now we have assessed the Industry Landscape, we understand our customers and competitors, we can start to formulate our strategies for how we are going to promote our company, brand and services. One of our primary goals will be to drive traffic to our website.

There are 4 key types of traffic that we need to understand;

  • People who access your site directly using the website address.

  • People who find your website via search engines such as Google & Bing using.

  • People who find your website through 3rd party platforms such as social media, other peoples blogs, review sites and forums.

  • People who see your advert on search engines, social media or 3rd party websites and click through to your website.

We will be placing a huge focus on driving direct, organic and referral traffic to your website through SEO, Content Marketing and Social Media. We will look at this in the next stages.

However, it may be that you will be considering some paid advertising to generate leads and sales. There are a great number of opportunities online that prove successful when it comes to paid advertising, such as Facebook Ads, Google Adwords, YouTube and other social media platforms. It's important to understand the types of advertising available to you and which will best suit your campaign.

A few key points to consider include;

  • There endless opportunity for paid promotions online, but we need to look at the most effective tools available.

  • It's important to reach your customer base, so using our previous target audience research, we now can make some informed decisions about where to invest in any paid promotions.

  • This is where content meets advertising. If we know that a large portion of our customer base are actively using YouTube, then we need to consider creating video versions of our content to promote our message and brand.

  • Budget is a huge consideration and we need to think about our return on investment (ROI).

Whilst we want as little expenditure as possible, it's important not to dismiss the benefits of paid advertising for generating leads and sales. The resources in this section will take you through what you need to know if you are considering paid promotions as part of your campaign.

Advertising Plan Resources

Step 10 - Decide your SEO Strategy

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is one of the most critical parts of your campaign to consider.

SEO is how we manage our website structure and content (both on and off-site) to rank higher in search engines such as Google & Bing for key terms and phrases that best represent our company, services, products and information. The ultimate goal is that our website pages are ranking high in results as people search for what we have to offer.

Before we can begin our strategy for SEO, we need to understand the key factors involved that we MUST pay close attention to. This information will be important through the stages of planning your content and website so, whilst much of this will come into play when your website is created / evaluated, let's just get a brief understanding now.

6 key factors for SEO;

  • This includes setting up diagnostic and reporting tools such as Google Analytics.

  • Understanding what your customers are searching for in relation to your products and services. This will be the core focus of this section.

  • Ensure that your website is well-structured, clean-coded, accessible to search engines, mobile friendly and optimised to load quickly.

  • Writing informative, descriptive and interesting content that engages the user and is easy to read. This process is relevant to everything on your website, from your home page copy, blog articles, product and service descriptions. Your content is key to reaching your customers for a wider selection of key terms and phrases related to your offering.

  • Crafting each page on your website to include information that search engines will read to index, rank and deliver your content.

  • Getting relevant, high quality links from other websites that indicate to search engines a connection between your content and the source website. These types of links can indicate that your content is useful, beneficial, and authoritative.

The key factor we need to consider at this stage is Keyword Research. To plan our strategy, we need to understand what people are searching for. These resources will focus on conducting the keyword research that will provide you with this information, so you can actively plan your content and website structure with these key terms and phrases in mind.

SEO Strategy Resources

Step 11 - Formulate your Content Marketing Strategy

We bring you Web Rocket. A step by step walk through of your digital marketing process, designed to help you prepare for your new website development project.

From preparing your business and branding, to building your website and planning your content and social media strategy, we take you through step by step with a process check list in which you can save your progress as you complete each stage.

Content Marketing Resources

Step 12 - Decide your Social Media Strategy

We bring you Web Rocket. A step by step walk through of your digital marketing process, designed to help you prepare for your new website development project.

From preparing your business and branding, to building your website and planning your content and social media strategy, we take you through step by step with a process check list in which you can save your progress as you complete each stage.

Social Media Resources

Step 13 - Create a Website Plan / Evaluate Current Website

We bring you Web Rocket. A step by step walk through of your digital marketing process, designed to help you prepare for your new website development project.

From preparing your business and branding, to building your website and planning your content and social media strategy, we take you through step by step with a process check list in which you can save your progress as you complete each stage.

Website Planning Resources

 
 

Your very own FREE Digital Marketing Checklist

Are you a new start-up, looking to prepare for your digital marketing journey? Or an existing business ready to review and improve your current online presence?

We bring you Web Rocket. An interactive, step by step resource, guiding you through your digital marketing process. This FREE online resource is a collaborative project brought to you by industry professionals, sharing expertise in their relevant fields.

Web Rocket covers every aspect of your Digital Marketing, from preparing your business and branding, to building your website, implementing SEO, and planning your content and social media strategy. We also look at Search Engine Marketing, website analytics, email marketing and much more.

We take you through the process with your personal check list, reading lists, guides and downloadable resources in which you can save your progress as you complete each stage. Web Rocket ensures you cover everything you need to know when getting ready to launch a new business or review your existing presence.

 

Web Rocket will be launching February 2022 - if you would like to pre-register for the course, please enter your details below and we will email you when your free account is ready to access.

 

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