Social media as a marketing platform is a subject of widespread debate. Despite being enormous in terms of both power and influence, many marketers question whether the ROI is strong enough to justify the investment. Not to mention, the fact that social media marketing campaigns have traditionally been uniquely time-consuming for those handling them.
Combined with the challenge of effectively and accurately monitoring the effectiveness of a social strategy, the above factors add up to one very large question mark.
Platforms of Limitless Power
Realistically, the potential power and value of the world’s leading social platforms is no secret to anyone. Worldwide, hundreds of millions of consumers remain connected to their social media profiles on a 24/7 basis. Literally, never disconnecting out of choice. From a marketing perspective therefore, this can only be considered a platform of limitless power.
Not only this, but today’s consumer fundamentally expects the 21stcentury business to maintain a presence on social media. Even the smallest brands are expected to post regular Tweets, offer valuable information via Facebook and share inspiring pictures for Instagram users. If you fail to live up to these expectations, they’re unlikely to take you seriously.
So you find yourself in a position where irrespective of personal opinions, you needa social strategy. Great, if you have the time and resources to dedicate to the cause, problematic if you don’t. On the plus side, around 99% of businesses fall into the latter category. Watching over key operations of more importance, you simply cannot allow social media marketing management to take over your entire working day.
The good news being that you don’t have to. While an effective social media marketing campaign will always involve an investment of time and effort, it can always be simplified in a variety of ways.
A few examples of which you’ll find detailed below:
- Automated Listening
First up, the key to successful social media marketing lies in knowing who’s saying what about your business and when they’re saying it. As you don’t have the time to monitor even a single platform intensively, you might want to invest in an automated listening station. A good example of which being Social Mention, which can be left to its own devices day and night. Tools like these provide the respective user with an alert and a detailed report, each time the brand is mentioned. Armed with this information, you’ll be able to find out what’s being said about your brand and decide what (if anything) you need to do about it.
- Scheduling Tools
If your schedule is somewhat hectic and/or unpredictable, you may benefit by automating some of your posting requirements. By using an effective scheduling tool, you can schedule posts weeks in advance and focus your efforts on more important duties. It’s a case of making the best use of all available time, rather than attempting to fit social media marketing duties into your regular routine. You find yourself with a few free hours on a Thursday afternoon, script a bunch of posts and automate their release over the next couple of weeks. In doing so, you don’t need to worry about squeezing them in when you’re far too busy to get the job done properly.
- Reconsider your Chosen Platforms
One of the most common mistakesamong social media marketers worldwide is that of spreading themselves too thinly. It’s natural to assume that by restricting yourself to a handful of platforms, you’re missing out on potentially huge audiences elsewhere. The problem being that there’s little to gain by casting your net too widely and failing to reel-in anything at all. It’s up to you to determine which social platforms are most suitable for your business. At some point, you may find yourself hammering away at the likes of Instagram and Pinterest, only to attract little to no interest whatsoever. In the meantime, your Facebook and Twitter profiles are performing well, but could be taken to a much higher level. If you’re attempting to juggle too many social platforms at the same time, you could be stunting your own performance.
- Stockpile Images
It’s a familiar and highly frustrating hold-up at the best of times. You set out to post something interesting on social media, only to then waste far too much time searching for an appropriate image. Visuals have unique power and influence on social media, but only if they’re appropriate, impactful and unique. Hence, it’s when things are rushed that low-grade imagery is turned to out of desperation. So just as with the scheduling pointer above, it can also be useful to stockpile images ahead of time. Depending on the nature of your business and your intended target audience, you should have a pretty good idea as to the type of imagery you’ll be needing over the coming weeks and months. If time permits, stock up on inspiring imagery and allow it to guide the content you publish accordingly.
- Consider the Paid Option
If time is more of a factor than money, you might want to consider paid advertising. Paid ads on social media – particularly those in prominent positions – often pack a decent price. But at the same time, they can also work wonders. Paid social media advertising provides the opportunity to instantly reach a meticulously targeted audience with just about any message you can think of. This can be particularly useful strategy if looking to make an announcement, or reach out to any given audience with an urgent or important message. Costly as it can be in some instances, paid social media advertising is far faster and easier than hacking away at things organically.
- Recycle Content
Finding the time to produce and publish interesting posts can be the ultimate challenge. The good news being that a social media presence can be bolstered using recycledcontent. Just to clarify one point, you cannot expect to get away with this as an exclusivecontent strategy for your social media marketing efforts. From time to time however, there’s nothing wrong with linking to other websites, repurchasing old posts and generally working with what’s already out there. Just as long as it will be new and/or interesting and relevant to your audience, it’s fair-game. Unique and original content is always best, but doesn’t have to be the onlycontent you publish.
- Invite Guest Contributions
To invite guest contributions is to nail a handful of essentials in one fell swoop. First of all, adding different voices and opinions to your social pages can be a great way of keeping them interesting. Secondly, social media users always love to see and hear what their fellow users have to say about anything and everything. Added together, this creates the kind of engagement that can work wonders for your social profiles. The icing on the cake being that when you welcome and use guess contributions, you’re actually getting other people to do the hard work on your behalf. You’ll need to stay involved in the conversation and incentivise them to contribute, but you could still be looking at a winner with minimal effort required.
- Hire Help
Last but not least, it’s worth remembering that hiring help to handle your social media presence doesn’t have to mean taking on a fulltime member of staff. These days, it could be as simple as having a third-party in some distant location to give you just a couple of hours of their time each week. From freelancers to established social media marketing agencies, there are thousands of options to explore to suit all budgets. If you simply do not have the time or the inclination to handle things manually, hiring help could turn out to be the best possible decision for your business. Just be sure to validate the reputation and capabilities of the provider you take on, before signing on the bottom line.
Research has demonstrated how an effective social media presence can bring the average business multiple benefits. As mentioned previously, it’s no longer a case of a quality social media campaign being an optional extra. These days, consumers expect the businesses they work with to operate engaging and consistent presences on their preferred platforms. Something that adds up to a burden on paper, but nonetheless constitutes an extraordinary business opportunity.
The moment you begin seeing social media as mandatory is the moment you can start capitalising on its power and reach. If you cannot or would prefer not to hire help, there’s plenty you can do to boost your performance on the world’s biggest social networks. That said, the experience and expertise of those who live and breathe social media can be priceless in value.
For more information on social media marketing optimisation or to discuss your requirements in more detail, get in touch with the team at Tait Pollack today.