Developing a winning social media marketing strategy is all about choosing the right channels and leveraging the right social tactics right?
That’s what everyone says – and it is true that when it comes to social media marketing, there is no such thing as one size fits all.
It’s fairly obvious that your success depends on tailoring your strategy to your target audience then using content strategies that your audiences are most likely to respond to.
It’s true that developing a presence on the channels your audience (and potential customers) are most likely to be active on makes sense too.
But the MOST important research to do if you are going to be BUYING traffic – with ads or with incentivised promotions – is to determine what mindset and stage of buying your audience is at.
Customers are made not just found!
What the heck do I mean?
Well would you agree that someone who is searching for a specific product type on Amazon is more likely to be buyer than someone who is checking out their buddies’ Facebook posts?
And someone who has been looking at product reviews comparing specific products has a pretty good idea of what they want, but they need to narrow down their choices first?
Just because someone is on Instagram and sees your ad doesn’t mean they are in a buying frame of mind. They may be a long way from it. This kind of advertising has long been labeled as “interruption marketing”.
Three different types of audience:
They are browsers, shoppers & buyers.
Browsers are the people who are not in buying mode (yet). They may be soon, but you’ll need to side track his or her attention to get him or her interested.
Shoppers are the person who’s interested, but not decided on a specific thing yet. They may be confused or unsure or just plain still doing their research thankyou.
Buyers are the guys who are ready to buy – the only question is from whom are they going to buy. You better be able to convince them you’re the best choice. That can come down to the price, quality, shipping cost and time, free bonuses all kinds of stuff to tickle their fancy.
Wooing all 3 types of social media audiences
So if you think about these three classifications of people – where are these people in your marketplace? What do they want, who do they love following or reading about, or listening to their podcasts and why?
The answers to these questions give you clues to how you can deliver value to your customers before they buy.
If you can make them feel good, relate to you and trust you because you’ve shown them why you can, through your content and HELPING THEM FOR FREE, they will be much more likely to convert later on when they become a shopper.
Choosing Channels Wisely
So – When developing a social media marketing tactics, the first thing you need to do is figure out who is who in your target audience.
Are you targeting B2B business or B2C consumers.
Research shows that B2B consumers are most likely to be on LinkedIn, followed by Twitter and Facebook.
By contrast, B2C consumers are most likely to be on Instagram, Facebook, followed by Twitter and YouTube.
Most marketing “gurus” will say something like “If you are targeting B2C consumers, you will need to consider demographics and existing online behaviors to ascertain what channels your target audience is most likely to be using.”
They may also give you a whole heap of statistics like:
Facebook has the most monthly active users, but Instagram is more commonly used than Facebook by people under the age of 25. While only 18 percent of online adults use Twitter, 31 percent of online adults between the ages of 18 and 29 report using the social media site regularly.
While 38 percent of people with a college degree use LinkedIn, only 12 percent of people with a high school diploma or less use the site.
Ultimately, the big takeaway here is that choosing the right channels is key to maximizing your reach. The more closely you align your own presence what stage your audiences are at in their buying process, are they a browser, shopper or buyer?
If you figure out what each of these groups want and where they are likely to be hanging out on social media, the higher your ROI and the more successful your overall social media strategy.
While generalizations can be made about what demographics are most likely to be using what social media channels, ultimately, it is their INTENT that will determine how engaged they are with your content.
Social listening tools can be incredibly valuable in helping you to identify social audiences, allowing you to decide which social media channels it is worth maintaining a presence on and which ones it isn’t.
I love using Ubersuggest by Neil Patel for keyword research, and you can watch my rather serious (sorry) but still helpful video on how to pick audience intent.
Leveraging the Right Channels and Content For Your Social Channels
Make a chart like the one below for each social media channel so you can visualise what type of content would suit the three audiences types.
You might run a series of posts that talks to different stages of the buying process.
Don’t try and take a browser directly to the checkout – they’ll get annoyed! Instead, help them in some small way and show them you know your stuff through your content.
Choose your social channels
This chart lets you map our what type of content might suit them at each step. By doing it this way, you will have chosen your channels that are most likely to engage your target audience successfully.
It may seem like a backwards to do this first, to use a content chart – but it’s actually a really good way to “mentally and hypothetically test” whether your content will be of use to the people hanging out on that channel.
If you can’t think of anything good to write or offer maybe that channel is not the right one to focus on right now – read this post about how to condition more people onsite.
So, how can you leverage the right tactics? Let’s take a look.
If you’re going to cultivate a presence on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram it is important to keep in mind that you’ll likely need a someone available to respond to Tweets or messages. Twitter tends to be the first place customers go to complain about a product or service, ask companies questions, or just give a shoutout to their favorite brand.
In order to make the most out of the platform, responsiveness is key. When it comes to succeeding on Twitter, great content is only half of the battle. You also need to make sure you have the time and resources to engage with customers promptly.
Instagram & Pinterest:
Platforms like Instagram don’t have as high of engagement requirements. Most of it is visual, but I am surprised at how many people have made contact via Instagram more recently.
The platform you should be using will also depend on the type of visual content you’re publishing. If you’re planning to develop a presence on Instagram or Pinterest, you will need a visually driven content strategy, while developing a blog will require long-form content.
It may very well be that your brand and its offerings are better suited to a certain form of content than another. For example, food brands tend to be well suited to visual content, as do apparel brands. Yogurt brand Chobani, for example, has developed a tremendously successful Instagram strategy that entails posting pictures of tasty dishes made with Chobani yogurt.
This tactic of visually driven content marketing is incredibly well suited to Instagram and Pinterest, which helps explain the strategy’s success.
Pinterest allows you to link back to more content which makes it a favorite for me for recipes and how to’s.
Obviously some types of brands aren’t as well suited to this kind of content. For example, a company that provides a very technical product or service might be better suited to long-form, informative content.
In this case, it might be better to invest time and resources into blogging or into a channel like Facebook, which is better suited to a more diverse array of content.
Facebook and LinkedIn:
Linkedin is very corporate and work driven so it is a good B2B business to business medium. It’s great for posting useful blogs and updates on tools available to business employees and owners.
Facebook is more social, and more fun some would say. I have found that Facebook has a very low conversion rate for interruptions ads, but good for remarketing to people who are at the shopping or buying stage.
Align intent with your channels
Ultimately, once you’ve figured out where your target audience is, you need to sit down and figure out which of those channels are best suited to marketing your brand, and tweak your strategy accordingly.
When you align reader intent, channels, and audience, you’re giving your social media strategy the absolute best possible shot at success.
Therefore, it is important to invest the time and research into getting things right.
Understanding How Many Channels You Can Manage
In conclusion, it is critical to choose social media channels and tactics with your target audience and where they are at in the buying process in mind. Once you have a clear idea of where your target audience and what tactics you can use to reach them effectively, you will need to decide how many channels you can reasonably manage.
Remember, it is critical to have a consistent and sustained presence on a few channels rather than a sporadic presence on many channels. The key here is the balance. It’s not a good idea to spread your resources too thinly across a dozen channels, but at the same time, one channel probably isn’t going to suffice to showcase all that your brand has to offer.
As a general rule of thumb, it is probably best to invest time and resources into developing a consistent presence on very select channels, those that you feel give you the best opportunity to build trust and demonstrate value to your audience.
It’s better to provide a content funnel giving all three types of audiences a chance to get to know you and want to buy from you on one to three platforms so you maintain a high standard of quality content.
IF you can deliver value to your audience on a consistent basis, then you can broaden your reach to more channels.