14 Nov The 6 Cs of Social Media Marketing
While Social Media Marketing has become an integral part of a marketer’s arsenal, it’s still a struggle to balance the networks, messages, actions and interactions needed to build, grow and sustain a social presence. While large corporations have cadres of professionals managing social strategies, accounts and activities, many organizations still struggle with both WHAT to do and HOW to do it. Here are the six Cs — Customer, Channel, Content, Community, Calibration and Competition —that impact your social media marketing efforts and some actionable tips on how best to address them.
When you’re selecting and setting up your social media presence, think about WHO is your target customer/audience, WHICH networks they use, HOW they interact in those networks and WHAT kind of content do they like to share. When in doubt, search for your current customers across social networks and see where they ‘live’ online. That will give you a clue as to where and how to invest your social resources.
Now that you have some idea of which social networks your target customers use, select the channels that are BOTH the most popular with your audience AND provide the most ROI for your time investment. You also have to consider IF you have a source of content that you can regularly share on those channels (e.g. videos for YouTube); if not, it might be better to select (or at least start with) channels where content is more easily sourced.
Your content is your social presence. People engage with you on social networks because of the content you share–an image, a quote, a blog post, a meme, a cartoon, a video and more. To be successful, you need to develop a cadence that fits with your social audience. Regular posts on a daily basis, specific posts on specific days, and even fun content on a Friday afternoon…these are the hallmarks of your social content calendar. Determine your cadence, deliver upon it and measure your results. Then, experiment to see what is optimal for YOUR audience.Each social media channel has specific best practices and preferred content. Today, visual content is absolutely necessary to capture attention and captivate your audience. Each content post you share should include some sort of visual, if possible. And while many people think that all or most social content needs to be original, curated content that speaks to the interests of your target audience is a valuable way to gain credibility, build community and establish your brand as an authoritative source for information and inspiration. (NOTE: I will be writing more about content creation and curation in the future. Stay tuned!)
SOME VALUABLE RESOURCES
- Visual content: Here’s a great infographic on Social Media Today that gives you a detailed list of Social Media Image Sizes
- MOZ has a simple Beginners Guide to Social Media Best Practices that has great, practical advice on how to operate your social presence
- Puzzled on which tools to use to manage and monitor your social media marketing? Amongst my favorites are HootSuite for general posting and management of social accounts, Canva to create simple, sharable graphics, and Evernote to save and organize the content that I want to share (their Web Clipping tool is awesome!).
Social media is not about broadcasting a message; it’s about being a member of the communities you serve. Instead of just posting updates or content, try to begin a dialogue with your social contacts. How?
- Find thought leaders you admire and share their content. Mention them in your social posts. Ask them questions or comment on their blog.
- Ask your current customers, partners and constituents to connect with you and share your content.
- Search through your more traditional contact lists to see how you can connect with and more deeply engage with in your existing communities.
- Use Twitter lists as ‘breadcrumbs’ to find and engage more of your community and target customers.
Even though you might have high-level information on the health of your social accounts, do you know how much you’re growing? Do you know what kind of content (and which content) has performed the best? Had the most shares or likes? Continues to be shared and passed along? Do you know the rate of growth of your social audience? Is engagement growing?
These questions—and many more—should be answered on a regular basis. Most social networks have basic (and even in-depth) analytics to tell you what’s happening on your social channels. By tracking your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), you can get a sense of whether your social efforts are drawing visitors to your website, driving signups or revenue, growing your audience—WHATEVER your goals may be. Without this data, you’ll never grasp the value of your social efforts.
Finally, use your competition as a barometer. Are they ahead of your social efforts? Are they lagging? What is working for them? What can YOU do better?
Learning from your competition—including how they are addressing and capturing similar audiences—is a great way to gain insight into new social strategies, find new content to share, new influencers to engage and so much more!
What issues are you facing with managing and growing your organization’s social media presence? What topics would you like me to address? Please leave a comment below.