How to Plan a Rockstar Social Media Marketing Strategy
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
With the emergence of social media platforms, the whole marketing landscape has suddenly changed. In fact, social media opened a new dimension of marketing which was was not even conceivable before. In just a second, people have the opportunity to share different pieces of content in form of information, ideas or interests via virtual communities and networks all over the world. Apart from using social media for personal purposes, it can be successfully incorporated in marketing strategies in order to achieve business goals. As social media marketing is a very broad umbrella term, a precise definition is lacking. However, it generally describes interactive, internet-based applications where users have profiles, can generate content and interact in forms of sharing information or chat with each other. Besides virtual games worlds, it also includes virtual social worlds like social networking sites, content communities and blogs. Currently the five most powerful social media platforms are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, and Pinterest. With more than 2.3 billion users, representing more than 30% of the world’s population, social media provides communication channels marketers cannot ignore. Bearing these facts in mind, is goes without saying that the usage of social media technologies is not just favourable, it also comes along with considerable risks and disadvantages for businesses.
Opportunities and Advantages:
- Possibility to address a broad public
- Low costs for great advertising ranges
- Opportunity for viral spread
- Simplicity of selective advertising according to customer profiles or communities
- Gain of direct feedback from customers
Risks and Disadvantages:
- Risk to be annoying
- Risk of social media backlash
- Need for an active management and control of ads and social media appearance
- Restriction of reach on primarily young till middle aged people
THE MOST IMPORTANT SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
As mentioned before, the world wide web provides a great variety of social media platforms. For today’s business people, the usage of social platforms is very important in order to stay relevant and offers an emerging number of opportunities. Therefore, it is very interesting to know the TOP 3.
Twitter is a very simple online news and social networking platform with around 350,000 tweets sent per minute and 500 million tweets per day.² Users of the “number one platform” can write posts with a maximum of 140 characters or can post a link, share an image, or even share thoughts with their favorite celebrity. Twitter’s interface is very easy to learn and use. Furthermore, the platform is very user friendly since it only takes a few minutes to set up a new profile. A survey conducted by eMarketer.com estimates the number of twitter users around 368,8 mio by 2020.
With 1,788 million³ users world wide every month, Facebook ranks second amongst the most important social media platforms. On this network, users are able to find and communicate with friends, colleagues, and relatives from all over the world. The platform itself provides the opportunity to share photos, links, and personal thoughts but more than that, individuals can also show their support to brands or organizations by following their Facebook page. Nowadays, it is used a lot by companies to promote their brand and products and to communicate with current and potential customers.
The online application Instagram is owned by Facebook and was launched on October 6, 2010. With around 500 million4 active users, this visual social media platform allows a quick, convenient connection between the camera feature on your smartphone and all your social profiles. In general, the platform allows to share photos and videos around the topics of travelling, food, art or private life with the online community in realtime via Twitter, Facebook, and the Instagram website/application. It is also distinguished by its unique filters together with special photo and video editing features. Since the beginning of 2016, companies also have the opportunity to make advertisements there.
LinkedIn is a business and employment-oriented social networking service with 450 million members.4 It’s main purpose is professional networking: recruiting new employees, meeting and connecting with customers or salespeople and receiving the latest news in business or industry. Nearly everything that is related to your company or career can probably be done on LinkedIn.
ADVICES FOR THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
For years, scientists as well as practitioners think about strategies for successful social media marketing. Even though a “one-size-fits-all solution” cannot be given, Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) present 10 pieces of advice for enterprises which decide to use social media.
5 Advices on Being Social:
- Be active: Social media is about sharing and interaction. So, ensure your content is fresh and engage in discussions with customers.
- Be interesting: Listen to customers and find out what they would like to hear and talk about. Figure out what they might find interesting, enjoyable and valuable and develop and post content fitting those expectations.
- Be humble: Discover and learn about history and basic rules of an application before entering it. Start participating only once you have gained the necessary understanding.
- Be unprofessional: Avoid overly-professional content offerings.
5 Advices on Using Media:
- Choose carefully: Using a big network like Facebook is not always the most effective way to advertise. Choose your media referring to your target group and message. Sometimes, concentrating on a small specific group brings bigger benefits.
- Make or buy?: Benefit from the user base and the popularity by joining existing social media can accelerate the participation process, but sometimes appropriate media for your purpose are not available yet. In this case, it may be better to build up an own community.
- Ensure Alignment: Make sure that all your different social media activities are aligned with each other.
- Media plan integration: Make sure that your appearance on social media and traditional media fit together and suit your corporate image.
- Accessibility for employees: Make your social media applications accessible for your employees and define a group of employees whose primary objective is the management of corporate social media.
PLANNING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA APPEARANCE
As already said, it is important to plan and manage your social media appearance. In this context, a Social Media Editorial Plan can be helpful to continuously plan interesting topics and posts for social media communities.
A Social Media Editorial Plan Should Contain:
- Date of publication
- Deadlines for providing pictures, texts, etc.
- Short description
- Authors and responsible persons
- Channels: Where should the advertising be published?
- Processing status
- Defining the Seeding: On which platforms should the advertising be indicated? Who should be motivated to seed?
Finding the Right Time for Posts:
Apart from planning adequate content and the date of the publication, especially on social networks, the timing of the posting counts as well. In the following, you can find a short overview of convenient time slots for contributions on the most common social networks.
- Facebook: Post at least once a day, using photos or graphics as well as hashtags, questions or exclamation points. (1pm-4pm)
- Twitter: Tweet relevant content at least 5 times a day, using 1-2 hashtags as well as images. (1pm-3pm, Monday-Thursday)
- Linkedin: Post content which is appropriate to a professional audience, about 4-5 times a week. (7am-9am, Monday-Thursday)
- Google+: Post at least once a day. Being a Google network, posts can start to rank on the search engine. (10am-2pm)
BEST PRACTICE EXAMPLE OF A SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN
Dove “Real Beauty”: The Embodiment of a Successful Social Media Campaign
Dove uses social media not just to sell and advertise products, but to change our society’s views and thoughts about beauty. For more than 10 years now, the “Real Beauty” campaign helps empowering women with self-confidence and positive messages.
Why is the Campaign Successful ?
The success of this campaign is based on the consistency of the “real beauty program” that Dove channels on different social media platforms, as well as their presence – Dove is very timely in responding to followers in order to engage conversation. Moreover, Dove consistently creates new content, aiming to make women feel truly good about themselves. But it also does a great job with its strategy of incorporating products into social media only if appropriate. By doing this, people do not feel the bad effect of advertisement on them. All in all, the “Real Beauty” campaign is outstanding by its power to trigger conversations with women.
Dove’s Social Media Strategy – Facts and Figures:
Facebook: More than 25 million likes
Dove uses Facebook to influence the desire for new products and to create conversation with followers by inviting them to share their #BeautyStory.
Twitter: More than 179 k followers
Dove has a very consistent timeline for posting tweets. Every tweet is related to one campaign or one hashtag like #SpeakBeautiful.
Instagram: 167 k followers
Dove’s instagram account is filled with inspiring quotes, portraits of women and their touching stories.
YouTube: 85 k subscribers
“Real Beauty Sketches” is the most viewed commercial short film of all times, with 67,227,794 views and 60 million impressions after it was released. It is a very emotional video to prove women that they are more beautiful than they actually see themselves. Overall, Dove’s YouTube channel is one of their most focused on-selling channels.
What were the Outcomes of the “Real Beauty” Campaign ?
The “Real Beauty” Campaign became one of the most famous success models for marketers on how to generate positive viral impressions and conversations around a brand and represents an example of how to revitalize a brand through social media. “The real beauty sketches” video in its own has reportedly helped boost Dove sales by 30% and attained $4 billion revenue sales.
WORST PRACTICE EXAMPLES OF SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
Obviously, there are also numerous social media campaigns which missed their target and ended in a severe social media crisis. For more information on this topic, please read our article on “How to survive a social media crisis”.
Let’s be honest, it is 2016 and most of us already have a pretty good understanding of social media and know how it works, right? But still: ‘‘Social networks are one of the fastest growing industries in the world’’. As it is definitely time to start investing in social media, what is your social media strategy like? Are you ready to start reaping the benefits of social media for your business?
No matter what you sell and who you sell it to, using social media as a marketing tool can help you to grow your brand, pad your wallet and keep you up to date. So get your social media strategy ready and start on social to grow your business – today!
Stay tuned and don’t forget:
by Marine Legouet, Julia Lutz, Lisa-Marie Mayer, Eva Maria Miller, Corinna Wolff
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