Social media has changed the face of advertising. Of course it has, because never before have marketers had the kind of reach that social media gives them to directly access users across demographics, borders and cultures.
Let’s just look briefly at some of the numbers associated with social media. Facebook – that is behemoth of social media connectivity – has an estimated 2.4 billion users as of 2019. That’s out of a total world population of 7.8 billion, with many of those too young to even know what a social media account is.
YouTube can now undoubtedly be classed as a social media platform, and has approximately 1.9 billion users worldwide. Instagram – popular with the younger, trendier demographic perhaps – has a billion users, as does WeChat, which is predominantly used in China.
But how do you successfully reach out to this vast audience with your content marketing? Here are ten top tips so you can do just that.
Understand Your User Intimately
Some things in marketing never really change, and it all begins from the same concept as it always has done: know your user.
For example, “Our users are predominantly male.”
Okay, that’s a start, but is nowhere near detailed enough. From here you need to move into many more specifics, starting with age and social-economic background, moving onto purchasing and spending habits, and even delving into the psychology of what motivates them to buy. So, are they male or female? Then, young or old? How does this demographic then particularly purchase goods – by card, cash, and a voucher? Do they typically buy your category of product only after a free trial or sample, after further information or just go ahead and order it, then potentially avail of returning it, if dissatisfied? Are there any particular times of year that they favor purchasing certain types of goods? What is the need to answer those specific users? You just need to understand all these details to start plotting your social media content marketing approach.
And then the next step.
Choose Your Medium Wisely
As you saw in the introduction to this article, the reach of social media is staggering. Whichever social media platform you choose to utilize, and you may plump for two or three different options, you are going to get significant access to users.
However, you will also have noticed that these social media channels don’t necessarily attract the same demographics. To use a blindingly obvious example, if you don’t sell in China, why would you use WeChat for your social media advertising focus? You wouldn’t!
Although not all examples will be that cut-and-dried, it is certain that different social media channels attract different demographics, and now you have identified your user in some detail, you can not only target the right social media platform in which to engage with them, but you can start to plot your content too.
Generally speaking, Facebook is favored by the slightly older demographic of 25+. Certainly, if you are looking to engage with males and females in their thirties then this would be the place to start.
With a younger audience, perhaps 21 and younger, it’s all about Instagram. Twitter has a much smaller reach in comparison – estimated to be somewhere around 330 million users – and is particularly active amongst users in the United States.
Although generalized, even this information can help you make informed choices about which channels to use in your marketing.
This is an obvious point to make in light of what we have just discussed, but the most successful content marketing approaches take a multi-channel approach. So, although your main activities may focus on one platform, take a multi-channel approach for maximum exposure. And remember to repurpose your content for this very purpose. Also have a look at a few different options such as LinkedIn (for B2B advertising) or Reddit.
Plenty of alternative or specialist companies are surprisingly active on Reddit, in direct public dialog with their customers about specific features their products have. Customers even request features for the companies’ future products in this way. These businesses are thriving from this channel of advertisement and communication – selling very specific products to very specific people.
Adapt Your Content According to Channel
This is another obvious point, but it is still surprising how many businesses continue to churn out the same content across multiple platforms. Not only have we seen that the channels engage different demographics, but they also encourage different forms of content. Facebook is certainly a little more multi-disciplinary in that you can use video, image or words as you choose, but certainly Instagram is more attractive to video and image content designers, while Twitter could work with snappy slogans.
Failing to adapt your content across channels is failing to recognize the inherent benefits and audiences of those channels. It’s akin to sending out the same resume to a bunch of different companies across sectors: what is attractive to one is not going to be the same for all. Tailor your content, it’s as simple as that.
Maximize gains with custom audience targeting
Most social media channels now offer tailored audience features which you can take advantage of, to more accurately target your advertising. Both Twitter and Facebook are prime examples of this type of feature, and this can really give you an added boost in terms of connecting with the specific audience you are looking for.
Optimize Your Content in Terms of SEO
Are you using a smart SEO approach? The crawler bots employed by the most important search engines are evolving and becoming more sophisticated all the time, and in terms of the social media advertising, the data that is deemed significant by the search engines is also shifting away from the traditional likes and reposts (which are still significant, of course) but then also factoring in organic click-through rates, bounce rates, and even dwell time).
What does that mean for your social media advertising? It means that it’s not just about racking up the views, but racking up the relevant views. That means engaging with the specific audience you have identified, which in turn means selecting the right medium, and repurposing your content accordingly to appeal to that demographic. This is all connected.
Use Remarketing Tactics on Social Media
Do you employ a smart remarketing approach?
Remarketing not only means rehashing old content (which can be a really resourceful way of continuing to deliver relevant content), but targeting users who have engaged with you before in a way that is specific to that engagement.
The numbers in terms of remarketing success are appealing. It can boost your engagement rates by up to 300%, can double your conversions, and it’s incredibly cost effective too, because you are not spending time manufacturing new, original content. This is what is known as a win-win situation.
For example, Coca-Cola often very successfully remarket their old holiday season-themed advertisements involving the red truck, year after year, on TV and also across their social media. Their approach really doesn’t often involve creating much new content, merging a few of their more successful ads and perhaps only changing the year featured at the end, but this works because very little about their product has changed since this ad was first aired and because their original ad was so successful. In fact, since very little has changed at all, they appear to change the video to look more old-fashioned than it ever was originally, filtering it to have more washed-out, flickering colors and editing scenes to focus on some more old-fashioned winter clothing. Of course, they do change the ratio of the video to portrait, to better suit social media’s portrait screens, and trim it down to a few seconds in some versions, to quickly show the most appealing parts as people potentially scroll past it.
Encourage User-Generated Content
Remember that social media channels are so successful because they facilitate engagement and dialogue in a way that conventional advertising could never do. How can someone interact with a magazine advertisement, or a TV commercial?
Not only should you encourage engagement in any way that you can, but also encourage user-generated content that you can use to further boost your engagements. But how can you go about this exactly?
As well as the normal competition approach (offering a prize to the best content generated, such as using their post across your channels) you could also offer enticements to anybody who engages in this way through discount coupons.
User-generated content essentially automates your content creation.
Use Paid Advertising in Conjunction with RLSA
Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) is now a commonly adopted approach which enables marketers to tailor ads for those users who have already previously visited your site. Combined with paid advertising, this means that you can customize your bids (the price you pay) and the content itself for these users when they are searching on Google.
Not only will you get way more bang for your buck this way than simply paying for ads with no measured approach, but also engage with those who have a pre-existing interest in your brand.
However, social advertising that is used in conjunction with this approach will raise your brand profile with those who have never previously heard of you. Although they not be ready to buy at that moment (because the need isn’t there), when the need arises in the future, those same users are much more likely to recognize you, and ultimately convert.
How can you stay relevant in a world that moves on at a breakneck speed? A simple solution is to see what is trending on social media, and tailor your ads accordingly. Remember that different things trend with different audiences too, so always bear that in mind when rolling out content across channels.
There are many unique tools social media platforms offer for everyone to keep track of trends – for example, Twitter has an “#Explore” tab, letting you see which of its famous hashtags are most recommended for you near you and under News, Sports, Fun and Entertainment. You could easily take a look at these once or twice a day and use a couple of the day’s social media hashtags to be the theme of your company’s social media posts, greatly increasing your company’s exposure to people who are scrolling through the hashtag.
For example, a popular hashtag on Twitter recently was #DuvetKnowItsChristmas. Bedding companies and other furniture companies got much popularity on their posts that cashed in on using this hashtag. This somewhat boosted sales and page follows and other user interaction in general.
Measure and Analyze Results
This tip is one of the most crucial ones. Are you measuring the success of everything that you are already doing across social media channels in terms of your marketing?
This is doubly important if you are using paid ads, of course, but should apply to free content too. Just some of the metrics you should be considering are the reach and engagement rates, and then different factors such as likes, reposts, retweets, impressions, views and interactions, depending on the channel you are using.
Unbelievably, 40% of businesses still fail to track their ROI on social media advertising. How can you ever hope to improve your reach, engagement and ultimately click-through and conversion rates, if you are not measuring the relative success of the different content? So many factors are relevant here, such as the type of content, the time of day you post, how frequently you post, and so many more besides. Evolution is key.
Any time you put out a new advertising campaign, beginning to measure its success immediately after it goes out is important. Based on the campaign’s success, you could alter it to remove an element your customers objected to, add something that they commented they requested or even potentially have to axe the campaign completely, if it doesn’t start to yield more sales and user engagement almost immediately. Analyzing your marketing results in this way should save you a lot of money.
These ten tips will go a long way to seeing a more profitable return on your social media content marketing approach. Everything is connected, because when it comes to marketing, nothing operates in a vacuum. Stay relevant, stay in tune with your audience, and measure what you do.