T.P.R. Episode 5 - How to Simplify Your Company’s Social Media Marketing Strategy
Sam: Alright guys, today we're going to talk about how your company can plan and execute an effective social media marketing strategy. Let me throw some numbers here at you guys. According to a study of advertisers by AdWeek, 92% of businesses use social media to connect with their customers and prospective customers. According to another study published by HubSpot, 88% of marketers want to know, how to measure their return on investment from their social media initiatives better. 83% of all marketers are actively pursuing social media marketing initiatives. Six out of ten small business owners are not able to track return on investment from their social media activities or they don't know how to. So this tells me that marketers believe they need to be on social media.
Sam: But you know as far as getting there, in order to engage an audience to generate leads, to convert sales, but they are not quite sure on how to tie it directly to their company's performance be it sales, and effectively measure all the overall performance. Social media platforms are incredible channels to distribute content. Visual content is 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than any other type of content. Shocker there. Articles with an image every 75 to 100 words get double the amount of social shares. So images accompanied by texts perform way better.
Sam: 71% of online marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing. Researchers have found that colored visuals increase people's willingness to read a piece of content by 80%. People, they don't just want text anymore. There needs to be creative in there. So given these stats, Mikhail, we know our listeners, we know our viewers, believe in social media marketing. They are there actively. But what can you share, what insight can you share with them on their approach about social media platforms and how they can market their businesses there?
Mikhail: Well you know it's so interesting that you give us those stats and showing how visual each platform is becoming. In fact even the micro-blogging platform Twitter incorporated videos live video with periscope you can put gifs. So the first thing to think about is, thinking about the context in which somebody is going to be consuming your content. The way that somebody is on Instagram is completely different than how they're on Facebook. If you notice on Facebook, it's a lot of share my stuff. They're responding to video memes. Instagram is still, regardless to the fact that it's got video capabilities. It's still like highly favored toward great photographs. And now color blocking your own Instagram is getting very important. You know business insider-esque videos are really popular on Facebook. You have to speak the language of each platform. So I think that's the number one thing that people can look at. But in addition to that, you have to put together a strategy that's going to be consistent. The way it is now- If somebody expects you to be posting everyday on Instagram, you missed two or three days, you're missing a lot of engagement and Instagram's algorithm is crazy aggressive. If you missed three days, you're not getting the same index as you did last week. So you got to make sure that you have everything in place the way that you want.
Sam: Interesting. How do our viewers and our listeners approach measuring the return on investment with their social media marketing efforts?
Mikhail: Well there's a lot of different things. Number one before you start running Facebook ads, you have to make sure that your foundation is set up properly. Your foundation being your Web site. How many people have we run into where, they don't have a landing page set up or any way to actually capture it.
Nelson: Yeah definitely. That happens all the time so if you're building a house and your foundation is going to fall pretty fast- I think it goes back to actually overall business strategy for me. Because a lot of times nowadays if you don't already have a Web site, that means that the back of your house is probably pretty messy. So I recommend getting all that stuff organized, to make sure that your voice, your branding, everything is ready to go. Because if you just jump in social media right away, people are going to know that hey something's off. You're not put together and you know- make sure everything is consistent. And that's just going back to say make sure you're prepared and business practices before you even jump to social media.
Sam: A solid social media strategy is a byproduct of sort of doing the foundation work, the hard work before you just jump in social.
Nelson: Exactly. It's a representation of how you do business. You know, if your social media is all over the place, you're scheduling and say if you miss three days of world to me. That means that you're probably too busy to really communicate your brand to your consumers or your audience. That tells me that you're not paying attention.
Mikhail: So for your question. How are they going to track it after that? Foundation, really important. Facebook offers a Facebook Ads pixel. And that's going to help you 1) track audiences like in the last episode, we're talking about targeting people, that's really important for that. But also it's going to show you your conversions if they're set up properly. So your Facebook Ads pixel. And also Google Analytics is recognizing every single social platform, as a place that people are getting traffic.
Sam: Differing domains?
Mikhail: Yeah and as a reference. In fact it has social just in there. And also Facebook Instagram Twitter or whatever else you're using. So make sure that you're looking at Google Analytics and make sure that you understand what your advice is for specific campaigns. Too many business owners are like spend a couple hundred dollars on Facebook ads. Nothing happened, I'm like something happened. You know what I mean. But you just have to define what is your objective before you go into each campaign.
Sam: Gotcha. Interesting. So Nelson, it's clear that companies need to create visually stimulating content. I mean that's what people are engaging with. That's what they want to see. That's what they want to consume. What are some ways that our viewers and listeners can create great content effectively?
Nelson: I think it still goes back to definitely planning. A lot of the stuff is planned now. I think your brand identity system has to be ready to go, before you even tackle scheduling out your post. You have to go through and make sure that you have the same. Every platform has like the same kind of look and feel. You go ahead and adjust it per voice per platform. But you want to make sure you like your colors on point. Your voice is on point, making sure that all your fonts. If you plan to put fonts on your images and things like that. Everything is consistent. Because then you know exactly, when you go through the gallery and stuff like that, you know exactly what this brand is representing. A lot of times you'll see, you'll go through a page and immediately you'll see, oh this brand is new, you know they took a day off here. Because they just posted whatever they wanted to post and that really hurts your actual presence because, I feel like your gallery especially on Instagram right now which is, I think the best platform for marketing, is if you have one bad picture, I think it spoils in your mind and you're thinking like "oh they're not taking marketing serious to me". But I think as far as making sure you're catching that easy content. Its just you have to have a team especially, if you're a big brand, you have multiple people on your team creating content, all the time direct. So you've got guys still on video.
You got a guy doing pictures and you're collecting all this data and you're co-assigning with your schedule. Whatever you plan on especially if it's summertime and making sure that you're hitting all your summer holidays or your vacations.
Sam: Make it relevant.
Nelson: Yeah exactly. You want to stay on trends. We just had the eclipse for example, if you weren't prepared for the eclipse. I mean you missed out on Monday or Tuesday. Heavy social relevance.
Sam: Sure. You guys stay relevant. I mean how can our listeners and viewers create great original content relatively easily? If they are a big brand, then they have agencies that work with them. They may work with us. They may have people that are on their team, that are employed in their brand, that are creating content. What about smaller companies? Medium size small and medium sized companies, that they don't have. You know for marketing departments where they employ 8 to 12 people that are creating content for them on a consistent basis. What are some tips that you can give to them to sort of create great content great original content effectively, rather easily?.
Mikhail: Well if you guys have like a checklist out, on what you're doing. There's one device that's going to help you out quite a bit. And it's right in your hand. I can do the videos, the video editing, photos look great on this. If I really wanted to, I could read a blog on it but I want to not do that. You can record podcasts from this whole thing. Edit it and upload it all from your phone.
You know, so not having the right equipment. I mean, maybe get a light. Maybe that costs $50. But outside of that, not having the right equipment is not an excuse. You can do all of your marketing from your phone. In fact a lot of the marketing that we do even for our clients is from a phone. You know what I mean, you can barely manage Instagram from a desktop. There's a couple of third party platforms. But for the most part, it's from your phone.
Sam: Or mobile platform.
Mikhail: It's a mobile thing. And as time goes on you see it now, everybody that's in a Starbucks line, they're on the phone all the time. It's going more and mobile over and over and over again. So I think that's the first thing. And secondly creating original content. Start documenting what you're doing.
Stop wondering whether or not it's good enough but put it out consistently. Because being consistent is number one the most important thing that you can do, whether or not it's good that's not up to you. That's up to your consumer. You know what I mean that part is subjective. So don't worry about that too much.
Nelson: There's a very fine line.
Mikhail: You know but don't get hung up on it just.
Sam: I mean we're talking about being consistent right and having you know that brand identity, that's consistent that people are accustomed to seeing that they expect to see. And then you know using things like our smartphone to create content on great content that's branded and it's original on a consistent basis. How do companies plan for this stuff? How do they set up a way to sort of plan or schedule their posts ? or how would you sort of direct them to do that. And maybe how would you direct them to make improvements to what they're currently doing?
Nelson: I mean we we first take a 30 day calendar. We go ahead and go through all the holidays, important holidays to that brand. Make sure that we're more geared up in advertisement for that, and for posting. And then we go back and think about, how is that going to look together for us. How can you color block these 8 images with the brand's color identity. So you're making sure that you stay on point with that. And then back to what Mikhail said. I also think that you go back and you document while you're doing that. But I think you use more of a Snapchat or you use more of an Instagram on the back and while you're doing that, so everybody now feels they're connected behind the scenes as well. But it's important for a company to really hone in on what's special. Either holidays or national days or anything like that that they can use this leverage that day for engagement.
Sam: It's going to be relevant to their audience no matter where they are.
Sam: Content calendar, I mean we hear a lot about it all the time. They're obviously super important and it's a great way to structure your content distribution. How do you use a content calendar?
Mikhail: Just like Nelson said we do. We'll make sure that we knock out the at least the holidays the big things. But once we have all the content, you've got to look at everything from a 30000 foot view in a very easy way to do that is on your Instagram profile because that's, let's be honest, that's where a lot of people are. If you go to just your profile and I'll show it to the audience. Look at, how it looks when you're not in one picture. A lot of people are doing that to vet companies before they make a purchase. So as you're curating all your content look at it from 30000 feet. Does this look good? Does this look cohesive everywhere? And then at that point you can deploy that content.
Sam: Gotcha. So branding is huge. The way that you present yourself that consistency. Right. The thing that people come to expect and a brand is what people are is driving decisions. Now people are falling in love with brands and the why. What's an effective way that a company can brand themselves using social media?
Mikhail: I think the first thing is to understand. Nelson's going to debate with me on this one, but I'm a huge believer that your brand isn't dependent on the style of your photos or a color scheme. It's what people actually think about you when they're done consuming your content. When I think of Nike, I can't think of the last color swish that I saw, but what I do know is when I put on a pair of Nike shoes I feel like I'm more stylish, like I can dunk like Jordan. Who's the actual goat. That'll be a different episode. You know what I mean. And just have that it's a feeling that I get when you put on a pair of Nike's right. They don't want cookie me. So that's what I would say about branding. Like be consistent in your voice be authentic in your voice and understand who am I talking to and what do they want to hear. And then continue speaking that way.
Nelson: Yeah. I think in the case of Nike, they've held true with the logo though. That's that's the whole thing, is if you set up your foundation. You can run that and at times, I think that that's an important thing to make sure that you establish that really early and everybody will really know what color scheme. I think for me is like a graphic designer and I think I'm not getting an orange immediately I think of boxes of Nike.
Sam: Sort of like that internal and external right? The external is the logo right? This style is the font. Then the internal is how does it make me feel? How do I feel after doing those things? What does it make me want to do? What memories does it conjure up? Those are the things that are powerful.
So Mikhail, I mean as far as creating and managing a social media calendar. I know that we we sort of went into this. Is there a specific type? Is there a specific software program? Is there a specific place that they should they can use to manage a social media center?
Mikhail: OK. So do not use Hootsuite or any of those pieces of software. And the reason I say this is actually important, if you're posting from a third party platform on Facebook, like your organic reach is going to get crunched down even more than the one percent. But.....
Sam: Is it really. Well it's interesting.
Mikhail: But Facebook has a native scheduling platform as well. So when you're posting on Facebook, you can literally click post later or schedule type of thing. When you create the post and you can schedule it for a later date. Additionally Instagram has Onlypult, Grum.co, just do a little research and you can find places that you can actually schedule out your content beforehand to make your life a little bit easier. And I promise you that two three hours that you spend once a month to do that 30 days, will free up to you everything else that has to do with your business later on like fixing your landing pages.
Sam: So you know, as far as like there's Facebook, Instagram, there's a linkedin, there Snapchat, there's YouTube. What kind of companies should be where and how can they be laser focused? Do they need to focus on all of them? Do some brands focus on or do they need to focus on a couple? How did they navigate through that?
Nelson: I mean it's all about your bandwidth. Like if you have the bandwidth to be on every platform then definitely you're on every platform. If you don't the bandwidth yet to be real selective and I think if you're you know, depends on your genre or your demo. So your demo is younger than you're probably going to push towards Twitter and Snapchat but if your demo is a little bit older so 20 to 40 I think you're going to go more towards Instagram. But if your demo is like 55 plus and you're going to be on Facebook. So you've got to understand that and you've got to also go back to your analytics and see what the audience is and how they're perceiving it? How well they're perceiving video? How well they're receiving excellent photos? How well they're receiving just like fancy pictures? or whatever the case may be. So you've got to do a little bit of testing but definitely the data is out there for you to do some research.
Mikhail: Yeah. I agree with Nelson too. You don't have to be on every platform and post seven times a week to Linkedin, Facebook and Instagram. I would say that the staples for sure Facebook and Instagram like we can kind of agree that especially with Facebook's ad platform you need to be there, but with something like Snapchat musically you know anchor like all these other upcoming. Snapchats established right but like some of the other ones that are up and coming, it's important to have an understanding of how that works.
Mikhail: Because your audience that's like 20 years old really soon they'll be 30 you know if you plan on being in business in 10 years which I'm assuming some people are. So understanding how these platforms work is really important, how they communicate because you know it might not be important for your business to have it today. But you know the Internet moves fast you know that and understand how everything works for tomorrow.
Nelson: If it's a new app and you get on it early and use the fact that it's going to be important for your brand. You land grab a bunch of people are new users and you're unable to go out and get those analytics really early.
Sam: Gotcha. And as far as like posting day the week time of the day is there a formula. If there isn't a formula, how is it that you know our listeners and our viewers should consider when they post what days they post?
Mikhail: Sure. I mean Twitter for example is tough, you imagine the half life of any tweet is less than 15 minutes right now. You can actually schedule tweets too if you want to do something like that on Instagram. I would test a couple of different ways. But Instagram, Facebook everything else. It's not just based on the time of day anymore. It's not a chronological order feed. It's based on what your interests are. So don't think you're going to get away with like, oh I like a coffee shop I'll be up at 5. No your coffee pictures have to be nice. You know what I mean and it has to get a lot of engagements so more so than thinking how am I going to get the most engagement. Is it time. No. Think of how you're going to get the most engagement at a certain amount of times that you pop up more on your feet. The more comments and likes that you get within the first couple hours of your post going up, the longer it's going to stay in other people's feed and spread a little bit wider.
Sam: Gotcha. Wow. Wow that's great stuff guys. Hopefully our viewers and our listeners really kind of take a lot away from that.
Sam: A recurring theme that we hear on here, a number of our episodes is knowing who your audience is, knowing who you're talking to. It's so important that you are doing that foundation work to know exactly who you're for. And who you're looking to talk to you. Because when you know who you're going after, when you know who you're targeting, you know how to talk to them, you know how to create offers for them, you know how to create content that's going to resonate with them. And that they're going to be likely to engage with and at Replay we do funnel books and we do a free Buyer persona in every funnel book. Take advantage of that opportunity if you haven't already. You guys, this has been the fifth episode of the production room.
Thank you so much for joining us. We hope that you were able to drive a lot of value out of it. Again my name is Sam. I'm the head of Growth Operations here at Replay and your host. Thank you so much for joining us. And until next time don't stop growing guys. Don't ever ever stop growing.