It is doubtful if there is any serious marketing executive or business owner who has not heard of the enormous business building opportunity presented by the advent of social media. From blogs to agencies meeting rooms, one of the staples of marketing prescription for business promotion and building in Nigeria is Social Media. The buzz about social media marketing in Nigeria notwithstanding, is it suitable for your business? and if yes, how can you leverage it to achieve your business goals?
In this post, we aim to equip you with step by step process for developing, building and executing a purposeful and result-oriented social media marketing program for your business. The post will cover both the strategic and the tactical aspects.
What is Social Media Marketing?
First, let us try and understand what the term “social media” means. Social media is media (words, photos, videos, etc.) that is spread through social interaction chiefly using individual communication networks. Popular web-based social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, Google +, Instagram etc. Unlike the traditional advertising paradigm that spreads information from one source to many, social media promotes peer-to-peer communication and gives individuals the choice to opt in, or out, of virtual conversations. With social media, consumers of media turn into producers of media—through photo and video sharing, blog posting, or other forms of content dissemination.
So, social media marketing means actively starting conversations, pushing content, asking questions, driving traffic and expanding visibility through social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Nairaland etc).
Social Media In Nigeria
It is estimated that there are over ten million active social media users in Nigerian. According to Internet World Statistics, Facebook alone has 6,630,200 users in Nigeria as at Dec 31/12. In fact, according to Alexa, five of the top ten most visited websites in Nigeria are social media sites.
How Social Media Can Benefit Your Business
By implementing a thoughtful social media campaign you can:
Buzz is all about riding the current wave of media—and creating buzz means adopting the latest media
to promote your message. Today this means leveraging social media. Building a
legitimate social media voice and developing influence within your community will create buzz for your business.
Having a well structured social media program will increase the probability that people will pass along your message, product or website through online social networks. This opens the chance of your message being disseminated to new and diverse crowds and thereby help generate new visitors to you.
It is customary that in every sector of the economy, there are people at the center of the conversation – the agenda setters or influencers. Social media gives you the opportunity to win over your industry’s influencers by engaging and building a relationship with them. Build and nurture a direct relationship with them and if you are successful in winning them over, these influencers will pitch your company and products online on your behalf in subtle and not so subtle ways. With their blessing, qualified leads will start to come your way.
Join the Conversation
A well designed social media program will include social listening and with this, you can identify social networks where consumers are already talking about your brand and engage in the conversation to learn how your brand is perceived and accepted. And if you discover that no one is talking about your business, take this as an opportunity to research and test which channels respond best to your product or business; which will invariably help you in focusing your effort on those channels that are most effective for you.
Whether you like it or not, your customers are already online. So, it is only logical that you are active in the same community so that you can relate to them better.
It is very likely that most of your competitors are doing a very bad job with social media ( In reality most companies are), which gives you the chance to stand out. And the flip side is that, if you avoid social media, you leave a big opening that allows your competitors to capture your audience.
Building a Social Media Strategy
The way to marketing success starts with a plan. This means before going into tactics, it is important that you devise a strategy for your marketing. Same applies to social media marketing. All successful programs are built on a deliberate and well-defined strategy.
The following are the strategic questions you need to answer before you get started:
What are your goals? Are you trying to build awareness for your product or brand, drive traffic to your site, attain leads, or convert leads to customers? It is even possible that you have multiple goals that are not mutually exclusive. Even so, decide which one is your primary goal. This will frame your focus and will drive all other planning decisions.
Who do you aim to reach? Potential customers, current customers, influencers? Before you decide on channels or create content, it is important that you define whom you will be marketing to.
Choose your social media marketing channels
Will your campaign be a comprehensive one focusing on multiple social media sites or will you devote your activities to one channel such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.? You need to decide on which channels will work best you. Of course, this will depend on a properly defined target audience. For instance, if your target audience is undergraduates in Nigeria universities, Twitter and Facebook will probably be ideal for you than say LinkedIn.
What type of engagement will you do? What is the crux of your message? Is it a hook, an offer, a direct product placement, or perhaps a thought leadership lure? What format will your engagement be: blog posts, photos, graphics, and videos? Are you going to be promoting other brands or only your own? These are all things you need to decide upfront and these should tie back to the goals that you’ve got.
Define a project timeline
Does your plan cover a week, a month or a year? This will surely affect the frequency and types of messages you plan to deliver.
After defining the goals, you need to find a metric that aligns with your goals and set an ambitious target. Metrics that you can use include: number of impressions, visits, leads, tweets, likes, retweets, etc.
Track and Monitor
Once a campaign is up and running, determining a return on time and money invested in the obvious next step for any social media marketing effort.
It’s critical to find out just what kind of results your online efforts are having. Has traffic grown with the volume of Twitter feeds? Has the new corporate Facebook fan page expanded the conversion rate and generated leads overnight or taken two months? Social media monitoring answers these questions.
Useful Tips For Effective Social Media Engagement
– Monitor the web for conversations about your industry, product and brand. Do so via RSS feeds, Twitter, Google alerts, and other social media tools.
– Join the conversation–don’t be promotional, be helpful—and earn trust.
– Make a personal connection–become a face, not just a name. Use the same name (use it always), post a good picture, be as transparent as possible, and always be honest.
– Offer help.
– Be Clear: Draft, edit, share internally and revise your content for best result
– Expand your network, including fans, followers, and subscribers. Make it easy for people to find you and to join your network.
– Create relevant and targeted content. Create the right content based on what you are hearing, and be generous with your content and links.
– Be patient
– Use Imagery: You have heard that a good picture is worth a thousand words. Well, it is probably worth more on social media. Use images, videos, and illustrations to make any piece more digestible.