Get a coupon in the mail, drive to the store, and buy a product. That was the buyer’s process not too long ago. Now it seems like an almost antique concept. Online behemoths like Amazon have taken over as the go-to shops for everything from paper towels to Apple Watches. Following that trend, digital marketing and social media are taking over the marketing actions, but how to market your company through social media to use all the advantages that these new platforms bring nowadays?
Even searching for a product on Google or Amazon is starting to feel archaic. We all spend much time on social media; understandably, it’s leading a shift in the eCommerce buyer’s process. Social media is now proposing more efficient online marketing processes to reach consumers, and the eCommerce industry is taking note.
In this article, you will discover a step by step guide on how to market your company through social media to get positive results in your marketing efforts.
1) Identifying Needs and Wants
The buyer’s process always starts with information gathering. With social media, consumers can get instant results and recommendations from friends, families, and influencers.
It begins long before a decision is even made to buy something. A user will rarely log-in to Twitter or Facebook with the intent of purchasing something.
It’s more of an environment of hanging out and catching up on the news—whether formal or personal news.
However, within that environment exist brands with both organic and paid reach. If an ad or shared post happens to catch their attention, they can quickly grab product reviews and scroll through pictures.
The information required to make a purchase decision is right at their fingertips and can speed up the buying process.
2) Recognize Business Goals
How you will market your business on social media will depend on your business goals. Your goals will help you see the result that you want to achieve.
It will serve as your ultimate guide. Know your business’s overall needs and decide how you want to use social media to contribute to reaching them.
3) Establish Marketing Objectives
Your business goals will be worthless if you don’t have specific parameters that define when each is achieved.
Let’s say you want to generate leads and sales to your business. How many leads and sales do you need to make before considering your goal a success?
Your objectives define how you want to go from an unfulfilled goal to a fulfilled purpose. You can quickly identify your marketing objectives with a SMART approach: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
For example, you want to increase your leads and sales by 40%. That’s being specific. You can keep track of your objective by using analytics and tracking tools.
How about when you want to increase your leads and sales by 2000%? Leap of faith is not enough. Yes, that’s a specific objective but with your current resources, would it sound logical?
Pick a marketing objective that you can achieve.
Always make sure that your marketing objectives align with your company’s overall vision. If it doesn’t, stop and save yourself from wasting your efforts.
Set a deadline. When do you want to achieve your goal, a month from now, a year from now, or in 5 years?
You decide. Your objective to increase your leads and sales by 40% may be specific, measurable, achievable, and relevant, but without a deadline, you’re heading to another direction.
4) Establish Your Social Media Goals
After you have clear your business goals, your marketing goals, you can define your social media goals aligned with the one's decided beforehand.
Below the Comm100 list, some of the most common goals your company can have using social media.
5) Characterize Buyer Target
Learn your buyer personas. The more information and more specific you know about them, the better it will be for your strategies when marketing your business through social media.
What their age, occupation, hobbies, income, interests, problems, pains, challenges, obstacles, likes, dislikes, etc. are just a few of the information that you need to know about them.
6) Research Competition
When you research for your competition, you will find out which social media channels they are posting, when they are posting, and how they position themselves.
This information will help you learn the type of content they’re posting and how their audience responds.
You will also have an idea about their buyer personas, which could be the same as yours. Also, you will find out how you’re doing compared to them.
7) Use Strategic Channels and Tactics
Posting to all social media platforms is not a good idea. Hence, choose a handful of social media channels where your consumers are.
Avoid wasting your effort on the wrong platform. For example, if your buyer personas are professionals who are looking for jobs, It would be best if you did not spend a lot of your time posting on Tumblr or Instagram. Instead, use more often LinkedIn.
Know which social media platforms you need to focus on and exert a lot of your effort on them. Every social media channel is unique. Each tactic for these networks are different. If you want to know how to market your company through social media, understand the native environment of each platform.
To chose the best for your business, you can check this article where we list 8 great social media websites for your business.
Make sure you choose the right channels to spread your message. Some networks are better than others, depending on your buyer persona.
8) Craft a Content Strategy
Without great content, your social media efforts are meaningless.
A successful content strategy on how to effectively market your business over social media has three critical components: post type, post time, and post frequency.
Your type of post is dependent on its form and context. When you say form, it pertains to how you present your information. Is it the image, link, video, or plain text? Moreover, when it comes to context, it’s the voice and personality of your business. Is it serious, funny, educational, or emotional, for example?
At what time do you need to post your content? There are many pieces of research and recommendations over the internet about when you should post your content but use them as your guideline. It would be best if you still did your homework by finding out the best time to post your content for each social media channel for your audience.
After knowing what to post and when to post, the third ingredient is to set the frequency. You don’t just post your content like a mad man, and if you do so, you might get your fans bored or annoyed. They will even report you as spam. It’s imperative to find out the perfect posting frequency for your business because it’s the difference between creating more engagement or losing fans when they either unlike or unfollow.
9) Assign Budget and Resources
Do you have a budget, and do you have the resources to roll out a social media marketing strategy for your business?
Before you answer this, review the tactics that you’ve chosen to achieve your business goals and objectives.
Then make a detailed list of the tools that you’ll need and their projected annual cost. Some business owners set a budget first before setting up the strategy. However, I recommend the opposite, set your plan first, then determine your budget that fits your approach.
10) Share Roles
The truth is that you can’t run a successful social media campaign on your own. You will need others to help you execute your marketing strategies.
It’s also crucial to know who’s responsible for what to increase productivity and to avoid confusion and overlapping efforts.
Assign roles for each team member. There are tools, such as Basecamp or Trello, which you can use to manage your team effectively.
These tools will help you save a lot of time and money.
11) Facilitate the Purchase
Social media and brands have begun to innovate together to remove unnecessary steps in the buyer’s process.
You’ve likely already seen the example of Domino’s and their program where a pizza emoji tweet will automatically order delivery to your house.
That’s an insanely simple path to purchase. There’s only one step needed to go from “hungry for pizza” to ordering pizza.
Social networks are working on more ways to cut out steps from interest to purchase. Twitter and Pinterest have both introduced buy buttons, allowing consumers to make purchases right from the social network.
There’s no need to exit an app to go to an external merchant website to make a purchase. It’s a more straightforward process for the user and keeps them on the social network longer. It should be a win-win for those who take advantage.
12) Manage your Customer Service With Efficiency
One of the best parts of social media, especially for brands, is the ability to connect directly with individuals.
That one-to-one connection allows for more personalized customer experience. You can send a tweet to an individual and can be tailored to their exact needs and expectations.
There’s no guessing about whom you’re targeting—they are right in front of you. Although it’s a great thing, it can also add some extra burden on brands.
Consumers expect brands to be extremely responsive. If you’re not responding to social messages within a few hours, you could be frustrating to your customers.
So after purchase, brands need to be prepared for questions and complaints. Someone who buys a product online is likely going to want online customer service as well.
Having a responsive social media team can go a long way in retaining customers and building loyalty.
13) Data, and More Data
What else is social media doing for the eCommerce buyer’s process?
It’s informing brands with truckloads of data. You can break down who follows your brand with a simple look through social analytics — using that to build buyer personas and useful targeting tools.
It’s also effortless to use social to gather data straight from consumers with surveys and polls.
Social media can help take the guessing game out of online marketing strategies and save brands valuable time and money.
Without running surveys and polls, brands can also get valuable data just by listening. Social listening allows brands to gather useful customer insights without being intrusive.
Social media users are talking about brands online. If you listen, you can learn a lot about yourself and your competitors.
All of which will help identify the messages needed to sell even more products—like if you should be using more pizza emoji.
Understanding how to market your company through social media is a great start…
There’s no concrete strategy on how to market your company through social media. Over time, you will discover that some of your tactics are not as effective as you thought they would be, and you’ll find new and more effective tactics.
Always adapt quickly to changes and try these changes out to your overall online marketing strategy.
Many business owners and managers are ignoring completely or partially these steps, and they’ve been using social media the wrong way, not defining the right goals and therefore, not measuring ROI adequately. As a result, they’re wasting their money, efforts, and time while leaving money on the table.