Social media is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. Facebook alone, the biggest and arguably the most powerful of the platforms, reached 2.45 billion monthly active users in September 2019. That’s a lot of eyeballs and wallets to win.
However, you can’t just jump in and post without a plan. The critical ingredient for successful social media marketing is having a strategy. A solid social media marketing strategy will allow you to connect with your target audience and tap into this stream of social media users. Below, we’ll dive into five straightforward steps to creating a powerful and effective social media marketing strategy so that you can stand out in this very large crowd.
Step 1: Define Your Why
Before you start setting up your Instagram or scheduling posts, take a second to define why you’re using social media in the first place. How is social media going to help you accomplish your business goals? That’s the point of marketing, to help you grow and move closer to the business you want. If you’re simply doing it because you’ve heard it’s necessary these days, get more specific. What do you want to accomplish with this stronger social media presence?
There are a number of general goals you might be interested in. Maybe you want to increase brand awareness or drive more traffic to your website. Perhaps you’re hoping to increase mentions in the press or generate new leads. Where possible, set S.M.A.R.T. goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. For example, you could have the goal of increasing traffic to your website by 15% in the next 6 months. This way, everyone on your team clearly understands the goal and can analyze your progress.
Step 2: Identify Your Audience
If you try to speak to everybody, you speak to nobody. Knowing who you want in your audience allows you to speak directly to their pains, wants, and needs. When picking your audience, focus as narrow as possible. The more specific you are the more valuable your feed will be to the community.
Amidst the hundreds of thousands of products available in the industry, this personal knowledge enables you to direct your resources to distributors (if you are a supplier) or end buyers (if you are a distributor) with high potential for sales growth, interest in your products, and loyalty to your company or brand. The more you understand about the people buying your products, the more you can cater your products to meet their needs.
Step 3: Pick Your Platforms
You don’t have to be on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, and LinkedIn. You’re probably breaking out into nervous sweats thinking about trying to execute on all of those channels. These big platforms all present opportunity, but that doesn’t mean they’re all a good fit for your business. No businesses, not even Fortune 500 companies, are a great fit for every social media platform. Instead of spreading yourself thin, choose and create your presence only on those platforms where your target audience spends their time.
Pick platforms that fit your audience, resources, and company strengths. If you hate being in videos, don’t launch a YouTube channel.
Once you’re comfortable managing the basic marketing tactics for one or two large platforms, you can consider some creative experimentation. For example, you might create a “haul” video on Youtube that shows off the top ten promotional products you’re carrying this month. Create a Facebook group where you can interact with, build more trust with, and house your audience. Publish helpful content on LinkedIn, where most users are busy professionals who have a high purchasing power. In the promotional product industry, we’d suggest giving Pinterest a serious look. Pinterest is essentially a visual search engine with 291 million monthly active users itching to buy. Just remember that quality content on one platform is far better than mediocre content on five.
Step 4: Provide Value
When planning out what to share, focus on content that is helpful, personal, and aimed at your target audience. Share educational content that your audience will find truly valuable. Write with one person in mind and your content will become more useful and compelling.
So when you’re creating that catchy new tweet, write it as if you’re sending it to the lady who contacted you last week about a new product idea. Let the problems, opinions, or interests of your actual customers guide what you post, not your sales goals. Help your audience achieve their goals and you’ll hit more of your goals. Your content will feel more genuine this way and help solve a problem rather than fill up feed space. Always ask yourself this one question before you post,
“Is this valuable to my audience?”
Need some ideas to get you rolling? You can use our Social Media Content guide that walks through how to use ZOOMcatalog to find great content for your networks. For example, we show distributors how to quickly grab the URL of a supplier’s catalog and share it on their social media accounts. We’ll also explain how you can add your logo, contact information, and even re-design the covers of many of the supplier catalogs and flyers in order to personalize these posts further.
Step 5: Keep Showing Up & Testing
No matter how great your content is, disorganized social media posting won’t get you very far. A powerful social media marketing strategy sticks to a schedule and is timely in its posts. You must keep showing up to earn someone’s trust. Holidays and events are a great start, but don’t make those the only time you appear in your audience’s feed.
In addition to the frequency of posts, the time of day you post on social media can have an effect on how many people you reach. The ideal time varies depending on your audience and from platform to platform.
To find the perfect time to reach your specific audience, schedule your posts for a few weeks, over a range of times. Take note of your engagement over this test period and see if there are any apparent trends or best days and hours to reach your target audience. Thankfully, you don’t have to do this manually. There are plenty of tools out there to help plan, organize, and schedule your content.
Being timely also means staying up to date with the latest information, trends, holidays, and events relevant to the industry. Creating fresh content that’s timely and engaging can feel overwhelming. Our 2020 Promotional Products Calendar will help. It’s also a good idea to check out our February Marketing Planner to see what should be in your social media mix this month.
Now Get Started
The potential of social media for your promotional products business is too great to brush aside. Whether you’re just getting rolling or looking to up your social game, start with a solid strategy. Walkthrough the above steps and you’ll be building an audience in no time.
Since suppliers are constantly creating new products, it can be helpful to know what’s new. To stay current, you can preview and sign up to receive our “New Catalogs and Flyers” email we send out every Thursday. You can even use this email to pick some of your favorite catalogs and flyers and schedule posts for the week ahead. Get a jump on the game and get rolling.