We are currently living in the digital marketing era. Ways to attract the attention of the public, characteristic of the marketing of the “old school”, began to be perceived as intrusive. The modern consumer has often begun to ignore traditional advertising. His “knowledge” allows you to easily bypass the established channels for the dissemination of advertising messages. Social networks have given people the opportunity to interact directly with society, sharing their opinions and sharing useful information.

Initially, network communication services allowed to unite a certain kind of online community of friends and acquaintances. But business quickly recognised the benefits of social media. Today, almost any company considers it justified by the need to be present in a relatively new environment of the “Internet habitat” of the target audience.

How social media influenced marketing

Social media has allowed private entrepreneurs to reduce the cost of attracting potential customers. This is perhaps the primary criterion for small businesses – to increase the economic efficiency of the advertising budget, aimed at expanding the coverage of consumers.

Social media provided a unique opportunity to establish direct contact with the target audience. Consumers are interested in acquiring a new “valuable experience”: independently choose the necessary content, share it and express their opinion. People try to unite in communities where they will be heard and understood. At the same time, they actively defend their individuality.

Technological innovations support the rapid growth of the social media audience. You can communicate through computers, smartphones, tablets, game consoles, televisions. The Internet is connected, probably, everywhere, and for it, there are no borders. It has become, practically, accessible to everyone, and you can keep in touch in real time.

Social media has changed the way people communicate. This fact is hard to ignore. Therefore, digital marketing must learn to use the opportunity to directly contact with the potential to transform its visitors into a virtual sales team.

Top targets for social media marketing

In the modern interconnected world in which customers shop online, share their impressions of the service provided and easily receive advice and recommendations from friends and participants of communication, it is essential to have a bright and interactive presence in social media. Therefore, from the very beginning, it is necessary to determine the goals of advancement and outline an effective strategy.

What do you want to get through social media? How will you use them to promote? You need to determine what is required for your business in terms of growth. For example, you can set the following targets:

  • increase brand awareness
  • improve interaction with your audience
  • distribute coupons and special offers
  • drive traffic to your website
  • launch a new product line

Your goals should be short and realistic. They must be specific and describe the state you seek to achieve.

Answer what you want to achieve? How much time can you spend on it? How should this affect your income? Your answers will allow you to set measurable indicators, and you will know for sure that the goal has been achieved.

To assess success, you can use the primary key SMM performance indicators: the number of subscribers, the number of views, comments, reposts, or website visits. They will show you the degree of coverage and involvement of the target audience, the correctness of your chosen strategy of promotion in social media.

Traditional marketing is based on costly marketing research, which will tell you which advertising channels to invest in the advertising budget. Today, small businesses can take advantage of more accessible information about how consumers use social media. Knowing it is an integral part of developing an effective SMM strategy.

Critical points for building a social media promotion strategy

1. Understand your audience

The most important aspect when planning policy on social networks was and remained the knowledge of its audience. A business should have a clear idea of who the messages are aimed at, what channels on social networks your consumers prefer, what they read, what they share and what topics they discuss. Try to find their pain points. social media audience

These means of communication can be represented as “two-way streets”. It is essential not only to be able to speak beautifully but also to listen carefully. It’s because of the viral nature of social networks, one-time interaction with your audience can quickly spread throughout the Internet. The right message published at the right time for the right person will increase the effectiveness of the advertising campaign.

2. Decide on categories and types of content.

The content you decide to share depends mostly on your business and your stated goals. Your message must be relevant and fresh. It is necessary to focus on the interests of customers, and not on your company. Remember, social media is an exchange, not just an advertisement. Forming a broad base of loyal fans is a critical task of social media marketing.

Content must be divided into categories and types. Classes are topics that you will cover in social media. In this case, you need to decide on the format of the presentation of your questions: photos, videos, statuses, articles, links, polls or quizzes. It’s a type of content that should affect the “pain points” of your audience.

3.Set the frequency of content placement.

Along with defining the categories and types of content that you provide to loyal fans, you must determine your posting frequency. This is the critical point of the promotion strategy. If the number of your subscribers and fans grows regularly after two training articles posted every week, then you should not change the frequency. Publishing at random can adversely affect your business. You may seem unreliable and disorganised. The interest of even the most loyal fans can disappear. Placement of content should occur on a regular schedule. It will help you stay on top of your subscribers.

4. Match the degree of influence with your goals.

Social media influence consumer decisions. Your subscribers and fans can have a significant impact on your customers. Consumers will consult with their friends and family when they need to purchase.

Your ability to influence decision making depends on two factors: ( a ) trust in you and ( b ) your reach. A strong, professional and attractive presence in social networks increases your credibility. You can reach beyond the number of fans and subscribers with the links they have when they share your content.

5. Determine the contractor for the project

As your Internet presence evolves, you will find that you no longer have the time (or energy) to devote yourself to social media. If you are lucky enough to create bright and active social network profiles for your business, maintaining them can lead to full employment. You may need to hire a manager.

The social network manager is responsible for monitoring daily social media activities. His responsibilities are likely to be very specific to your situation. The task of the manager is to update accounts, add new messages and images, respond to user comments, including responding to complaints. He must collect data and analyse the results to find out where to concentrate on increasing the return on investment in social media marketing ( SMM ). The specific role that your specialist will play depends on the current business needs and may change as you grow.

6. Choose optimal social platforms and schedule their coordination.

If you have defined your audience and formulated content categories, you need to take the time to find out which social networks your chosen group of people prefers. The research data of the active audience of social networks in Europe can be found here.

There are dozens of social platforms that you can use to connect with your current and potential customers and have a presence everywhere, and it is better to focus your energy on several carefully chosen networks that fit your goals and audience. Each platform has its unique features; your content and attendance may be suitable for one system, and not match for another.

What social media will remain in the future support of marketers?

If you treat every social network as an isolated channel, your success will be limited. The platforms you choose should work together to help you promote your business.

And remember, on the Internet, your website is the base of the brand. You need to coordinate your efforts in social media to push people to the site where they can buy your product or service.

7. Analyse the results achieved

The final stage in the formation of a promotion strategy is the most critical point to measure and analyse the effects of SMM.

Tracking total data is the best way to determine the effectiveness of an advertising campaign tactic. This makes it possible to evaluate what content is working and what is not.

Most social networks have built-in tools for tracking and measuring promotion results. Regular analysis of the performance of the media plan allows you to make operational adjustments to the strategy for each channel. Monitoring the coordinated efforts of selected social platforms that provide traffic to your website will enable you to spend such favourite resources as Yandex Metrika and Google Analytics.
Final thoughts
It is important to remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. We need to plan the time, money and effort that will bring strategic success. Contextual advertising is more suitable for the sprint, but it’s another topic.

In today’s digital world, it is becoming evident that social networks are diverse and there is no shortage of platforms for marketers to advertise brands. In your opinion, what types of social media will remain marketers in the foreseeable future?