Updated: Jan 18, 2020
As individuals we may be using multiple social media platforms, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, Mix, etc. We may use each platform for different reasons and connect to different audiences. As businesses, we are growing to realise the importance of not only using social media but actively engaging with it in order to meet our marketing goals. Social media has become one of the quickest and easiest ways to connect with our target audience. What happens though when we are not really sure how to make the best use of social media for our business? Well, in this post we will be exploring the what, how and why of social media management for your business. To find out more just keep reading.
What has the internet, digital marketing, and social media brought to business? They’ve brought radical change not only in marketing channels but also in how marketing activities are carried for both B2C (business to customer) but also B2B (business to business) transactions (Mehmet and Clarke, 2016; Michaelidou et al., 2011 in Gruner and Power, 2017, p. 73). The confluence of the internet, social media and marketing has created a “dynamic space to reach customers, interact with them and leverage their voices for greater impact” (Hewett, Rand, Rust, & Heerde, 2016 in Tafesse and Wien, 2018, p. 732). But it’s not enough to simply use social media platforms for business. Companies need to actively use social media as part of their overall digital marketing strategies rather than viewing it as a negligible or frivolous addition to it. Social media strategy can include but is not limited to: - brand posts and social media ads (Hewett et al., 2016 in Tafesse and Wien, 2018, p. 734) - comments, reactions, sentiments, and user-generated content (Gensler, Volckner, Liu-Thompkins, & Wiertz, 2013 in Tafesse and Wien, 2018, p. 734) - WOM or brand communities (Dessart et al., 2016 in Tafesse and Wien, 2018, p. 734).
The goals you set for your business on social media are by and large the same as the overall strategic ones for your overall business. Makes sense, right? You need to be clear on the following things in order to be sure you have a solid strategy. These are: 1) Knowing exactly who your target audience. This doesn’t mean “everyone human being between the age of 20 and 70 who likes the colour blue”. This is way too vague! 2) Knowing what channels you want to use These will depend on your distribution objectives and tasks (e.g. gather info on your target market, promote a new product line or create awareness regarding new website features)
3) Knowing what your goals are See above 4) Knowing what your company policies are For example, what’s your return or refund policy.
5) Monitoring your activities in different markets
6) Creating and curating content for your target audience
Social media is all about presence. As a company or brand, you need to keep reminding your audience you exist and the only way you can do this is be creating and curating content. This isn’t a once in a while, cavalier type of thing but rather a daily task that needs to occur. The content you create needs to be strategic in the sense that it needs to increase your exposure to the right audience and allow for the greatest amount of connection to it. You need to actively create the conversation, influence it and keep the momentum of these conversations going to best make use of your marketing appeals. Your responsiveness will engender trust and loyalty in your audience. If you’re not actively present, you can be quickly ghosted and replaced by your audience.
Customer engagement activities
To engage your audience, you need to give a reason to care and continue caring about your company and its activities. You have a great product or service so how do you keep your audience interested? You do it be employing some of the following 1) special offers (e.g. two for one deal, percentage off deal, etc) 2) competitions (e.g. guess our new product? name our new product, follow our account and in 25 words or less tell us…” 3) rewards (e.g. gift with purchase, etc) And as mentioned previously being quick to respond to queries and questions and not giving generic responses.
Important information can be collected through interactions with your social media accounts. This website analytics or social media insights can help you gain insight into the following: - the number of times your profile was viewed (aka interactions) - the number of unique accounts that have seen your posts (aka reach) - the total number of times all your posts have been seen (aka impressions) - the number of followers you have for specific periods - the top countries or cities your audience is from - the age range and gender of your audience - the hours or days when your audience most frequently engages with your content - the top referees (e.g. Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc) - the top operating systems used This information can give you a clearer picture of how to interact with your audience and how best to provide high-quality content to your audience. After all, it’s important to know what your audience preferences so that you can keep them interested and inspired.
The success of your social media management efforts can be split into two categories: an online category and a sales category. These are things like: - a customer subscribing to a social media page, engaging with its content or clicking on a link, staying on the website for an extended length of time (Tafesse and Wien, 2018, p.739) - new customer acquisition, customer satisfaction, customer services, sales and customer loyalty (Tafesse and Wien, 2018, p.739) So, how do you go about developing your social media management strategy? By using a clear framework.
The Framework The way in which companies can develop a strong social media management strategy is by first clearly determining four different areas of activity: messaging/projecting, monitoring, assessing and responding.
Figure: Social Media Management Framework (Parsons and Lepkowska-White, 2018, p. 83)
Messaging or projecting is about projecting a certain image and certain message in just the right way. It’s about creating conversation by engaging in activities that result in community building, customer retention, service personalisation, feedback, and two communication. This is done by using: - ads, social media posts, photos, videos, infographics - events, deals, product offerings, news - incentivised questionnaires Why do all this? These activities evoke emotions (Parsons and Lepkowska-White, 2018, p. 83) in your audience which is why your activities must be of practical use to them or provide added value (Parsons and Lepkowska-White, 2018, p. 83) to them. Not only that but these activities must be carried out Goldilocks-style, not too rarely, not too often but just the right amount of times.
Monitoring entails keeping a watchful eye on what your competitors are doing, what the marketing environment is like and what trends are current within social media. This might include: 1) economic variables 2) competitive variables 3) sociocultural variables 4) technological variables 5) legal variables
It’s great to have information but if you don’t know what to do with it than its pretty much useless. For example, assessing the success of your social media management can be done along two lines: assessing the volume of engagement with your target audience or assessing the content of your engagement. One might tell you the general level of interest on the content you are producing while the other might tell what exactly about the content you are producing is of interest to your audience. The responses of your target audience may vary from platform to platform so noticing patterns is important.
What response you give is as important as when you give it. Leaving responses too late can leave an impression of carelessness but respond too quickly and it can be detrimental too as the response may be perceived as cavalier or tone-deaf. Using the right language and asking the right questions can make all the difference to how your target market receives your marketing message. Careless responses can reflect badly on the organisation especially if they have been communicated in the heat of the moment. It can lead to loss of trust and credibility in your company. Building trust and loyalty takes time but can be lost in an instant if your actions are impulsive. It’s crucial to think strategically.
The scope, culture, structure, and governance of your company will affect how you manage your social media accounts or profiles. They will determine when what and why your company communicates information to your target audience.
Scope The scope for the marketing of your product and service will entail data about: - tasks - deliverables - deadlines - goals - features - functions - costs This is the work your company needs to do to deliver on your product or service offer as it was marketed to your target audience.
Your company culture includes things like: - values - standards - behaviour - expectations - work ethic - codes of conduct - social norms - risk tolerance All of which impact on what type of content you create, which type of individuals or companies you associate and collaborate with and how you respond to your target audience.
The structure of your company might be: - vertical functional - divisional - horizontal - team-based - network All of which will decide who is in charge of social media management and represents your company and its interests online.
Governance This includes the following: - policies - regulations - functions - processes - procedures - responsibilities All of which will determine how your social media will be managed in order to meet the greater goals of your business.
Need some help with your digital marketing or social media management? Talk to us.
References: Gruner, R.L. & Power, D. 2018, "To integrate or not to integrate? Understanding B2B social media communications", Online Information Review, vol. 42, no. 1, pp. 73-92, viewed 04 April 2019, https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.lib.swin.edu.au/docview/1984682363?accountid=14205
Kaur, P. Dhir,A. Rajala,R. & Dwivedi,Y. 2018, "Why people use online social media brand communities: A consumption value theory perspective", Online Information Review, vol. 42, iss.2, pp.205-221, viewed 04 April 2019, https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-12-2015-0383
Parsons, A.L. & Lepkowska-White, E. 2018, ‘Social Media Marketing Management: A Conceptual Framework’, Journal of Internet Commerce, vol. 17, iss. 2, pp. 81-95, viewed 04 April 2019, DOI: 10.1080/15332861.2018.1433910
Tafesse, W. & Wien, A. 2018, ‘Implementing social media marketing strategically: an empirical assessment’, Journal of Marketing Management, vol. 34, iss. 9-10, pp. 732-749, viewed 04 April 2019, DOI: 10.1080/0267257X.2018.1482365
As businesses, we are growing to realise the importance of not only using social media but actively engaging with it in order to meet our marketing goals. Social media has become one of the quickest and easiest ways to connect with our target audience. In this blog post, we’ve discussed social media and the importance of strategy, active presence, customer engagement, and firm performance. We’ve discussed the social media management framework of managing, monitoring, assessing, and responding. And lastly, we have discussed the focus of your strategy which is the scope, culture, structure, and governance of your company which all your efforts will be based upon. May this information help you in making better decisions regarding your social media management in the future.
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