This week’s blog post is based on a scenario that I have been given. My friend Mike is about to launch an online store for sporting gear. He wanted some recommendations of some social media marketing tactics that are suitable for his product line. He currently has an official website and a Facebook account for his business. I will start with defining what Social Media Marketing is and why business should use it.
What is Social Media Marketing (SMM)?
Roberts & Zahay (2013) define Social Media Marketing (SMM) as an activity in which businesses and organisations interact with their customers through selected social media platforms in order to communicate and collaborate in ways that lead to achievement of marketing and business goals. We live in a society where we have been connected and influenced by social media. The evolving environment of social media is becoming an increasing part of companies’ marketing communication. Businesses use social media as communication to enhance customer relationships, support sales and build their brands.
Figure 1 Lindlle 2018
Why businesses are using SMM?
There are some significant benefits that social media brings to businesses, such as cost efficiency, broad visibility, narrow visibility, Pulse of the market, increased trust, self-made community and increased revenue (Miletsky 2010, p81-81).
A successful SMM is not only a carefully planned strategy but also integrated into the firm’s business strategy. There are many opinions on this topic, a framework (Robert & Zahay 2013) will be used to analyse this scenario.
Figure 2 Robert & Zahay 2013
Step 1: Listening to the target audience
Marketers and business owners must listen to their customers to identify the social habits of their defined target market. Knowing the target audience and how to make connection with them is the key to creating content that they will like, share or comment on. In Mike’s case, both women and men are sports fans these days. The key segment element here is lifestyle and interests, not demographics (Robert & Zahay 2013, p. 230).
Figure 3 Cain 2017
Step 2: Setting SMART goals that aligns with marketing communication strategies
This step wasn’t in the original frame work, however, we have established in a post (week 3 blog entry) that organisations have no way to measure the social media performance without setting a SMART goal, they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound (LePage & Newberry 2018) similarly, York (2018) also believes that goal setting is a crucial and fundamental element of business strategy. Take my friend Mike’s case, one of his goals is: increasing brand awareness by 10% before 20th October 2018 on Instagram.
Step 3: Communicating with your audience in social space
Target audiences are likely to interact with a business if it communicates in ways that meet their needs and expectations. Johnson (2018) states that creating high-quality content is always important. I recommend Mike keeps an eye on how many users are tweeting or hashtaging his competitors’ brand name to understand what’s expected by consumers in his industry and use this way to communicate with them. By doing this, he can also discover some opportunities. For example, maybe one of his competitors is dominant on Instagram, but only put a little effort into Facebook or Twitter. In this case he should try to win fans from the platform where his target audiences are not fully served. He will need to change one of his goals if he decides to change his approach and use different social media channels.
Step 4: Engaging your audience
Communication needs to be engaging to be effective. As a new business in a saturated market, Mike’s business should pick an extra two (he already has a FB account) platforms and do them well instead of trying to take all social space because social media promotion it is hard to succeed with either too many or only one channel (Robert & Zahay 2013, p.234). I suggested Mike use Instagram, Facebook and YouTube to reinforce the content, particularly, using relationships with external partners who can guide the conversation, such as personal recommendations from influencers or celebrities. They will refer directly to a particular product because fitness is a visual industry, we suggested that he distribute his products to some influencers who are suitable for this brand and ask them to post pictures on their Instagram feed using #brandname.
Step 5: Collaborating with the brand
Businesses need to be responsive, put consistent effort and attention with honesty to lead consumers to collaborate with businesses in a dialog. Fitness is a virtual industry, using Videos and Ephemeral content such as creating Instagram and Facebook stories will provide the best engagement rate to collaborate with consumers. Wade (2018) states that 80% of all online consumer internet traffic will be taken over by video by 2020.
Digital marketing tools and the associated technology platforms change regularly, a great social media strategy needs to evaluate and adjust regularly to be able to optimise for any products and business.
Cain, A 2017, ‘Strategic Planning: Step 1 – Build SMART Goals’, image viewed 19 September 2018, https://naviant.com/blog/strategic-plan-smart-goals/
Johnson, Z 2018, ‘4 Strategies For Explosive Social Media Growth In 2018’, Forbes, viewed 18 September 2018, https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2018/05/11/4-strategies-for-explosive-social-media-growth-in-2018/#791a1e5e34f4b
Lepage, E & Newberry, C 2018, ‘How to create a social media strategy’, Hootsuite blog, web log post, 15 May, viewed 19 September 2018, https://blog.hootsuite.com/how-to-create-a-social-media-marketing-plan/
Lindle, L 2018, ‘Free webinar: Building Local Communities with Social Media’ image, viewed 19 September 2018, https://www.districtdispatch.org/2018/02/free-webinar-building-local-communities-social-media/
Miletsky, J 2010, Principles of Internet marketing: new tools and methods for web, Cengage Learning, Boston.
Robert, M & Zahay, D 2013, Internet Marketing: integrating online and offline strategy, 3th end, Cengage Learning, Mason
Wade, J 2018, ‘ Social Media Marketing Trends 2018, Smart Insights’, viewed 18 September 2018,https://www.smartinsights.com/social-media-marketing/social-media-marketing-trends-2018/
York, A 2018, ‘7 Steps in Creating a Winning Social Media Marketing Strategy in 2018’ Sprout Social Blog, web log post, 19 February, viewed 19 September 2018, https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-marketing-strategy/