How to effectively use Social Media as Part of your Digital Marketing Strategy.
I always say that I’m highly data driven and like to base my statements on hard facts more than anything else. The debate, particularly in 2017 and the question that has been bothering most marketers and business leaders alike, is, “Is there an ROI on Social Media?” What Digital Marketing Strategy can be used to generate this ROI?
Well, today, you got lucky, because I’m out to answer that question. If I was in a rush and you asked me, I’d have just said yes and went on. But the good thing is that I’m not in a rush and I have an opportunity to base my YES! With data.
What are the stats?
Before I go on any further, the chart below illustrates the latest Social Media stats for Zimbabwe.
To summarize the chart below. Firstly in Descending order, Zimbabwe’s top 5 Social Media platforms are as follows.
- Whatsapp with 3 million plus users
- Facebook with 1 million plus users
- Twitter with 600 000 plus users
- Instagram with 230 000 plus users
- LinkedIn with 180 000 plus users.
If you carefully observed the chart above, you’ll notice that for some reason I did not include the largest platform which is WhatsApp. There are two reasons why I did this.
- Whatsapp though part of Social Media is largely chat platform and therefore has limited functionalities in comparison to the other platforms.
- Whatsapp has no standard advertising facilities, so unless you are willing to engage in some unorthodox and annoying things, then Whatsapp can be a long short.
Also, these stats may not be accurate largely because they look at the number of registered Zimbabwean accounts on the platforms and not the activity on those.
So, a Zimbabwean who last logged into Facebook back in 2012 is counted among those 1 million Zimbabweans. To get a more accurate analysis of these stats, I had to drill down further and ended up at globalstats.com. Here is a snapshot.
Now we have clarity and Facebook reigns supreme (Whatsapp is not being considered). Another thing is that the comparison is quite revealing. Zimbabwe’s small Pinterest user base is more active than Instagram’s relatively large user base. In simple terms, you could get a better ROI advertising to Pinterest’s 80 000 users than you ever could with Instagram’s 250 000.
Now that we have the platforms and their popularity out of the way, let’s now look at how we can effectively use Social Media as Part of our Digital Marketing Strategy.You could get a better ROI advertising to Pinterest’s 80 000 users than you ever could with Instagram’s 250 000. Click To Tweet
1. Develop an understanding of each Platform.
When it comes to Social Media, nativity matters. There is no one size fits all approach. What works for LinkedIn won’t work for Facebook and what works for Twitter won’t work for Instagram.
I might have used a tough a word to bring out my point. In simple terms, when we talk of nativity, we are particularly referring to native content. Native content is basically content that is crafted for a platform and is unique to that platform.When it comes to Social Media, nativity matters. There is no one size fits all approach. Click To Tweet
The only way you can produce content for a platform that is unique to it is if you understand it well. Understanding Social Media platforms is pretty simple. It begins with basic information like knowing that a 250word piece of written content won’t perform well on Instagram but might make a killing on Facebook.
The major reason why you should produce content that is native to a platform is because, on Social Media, people go there to Socialize more than anything else. So, as a brand, you should be able to communicate your message in a manner that doesn’t disrupt the flow in the user’s feed.
2. Appeal to people’s Emotions
The reason why I talked about native content is that on Social Media, the brand that appeals to people’s emotions will dominate.
As a Facebook user, I should enjoy a post by a brand just like I enjoy a post by my friend. Nativity brings out the humanity in a brand which I think is just amazing. Look at the post by Steward Bank below.
The post below is just a motivational quote, not selling anything at all. It is posts like these that turn your customers into brand advocates. Because they appeal to people’s emotions and they show people that the brand cares about them and not only their money.Nativity brings out the humanity in a brand which I think is just amazing. Click To Tweet
The mistake that I see most businesses making on Social Media, primarily African and secondarily Zimbabwean is they try to take traditional marketing methods and directly translate them for Social Media.
Whatever Social Media platform your business is present on, the key thing should be to Socialize rather than to sell. Although sales may be an overall part of the Social Media strategy, Socialization should be the most important.
Social Media gives you a direct platform to develop a deep relationship with your customers. Once that is established, appealing to their emotions to spread your message won’t be as difficult as it seems.
So, when you develop your Digital Marketing Strategy, keep this in mind.
3. Encourage sharing and the spreading of your brand message.
Social Media is a large part of your Digital Marketing strategy which is why you should encourage sharing and the spreading of your brand message. These two elements also have an overall impact on your Website, this is covered in this basic introduction to SEO.
A Social Media post is not complete without a call-to-action. Getting back to the generic 90’s radio ads that are repurposed for Facebook. If you tell someone that you sell shoes, there should be a link telling people what to do with your information.
Sometimes you have to ask people to share your message, although I don’t encourage this. The message you share on Social Media should be so good, that a person cannot resist sharing it.
This brings us back to the point on nativity. Develop content that is unique to a platform and make it so amazing that a person cannot resist sharing.The message you share on Social Media should be so good, that a person cannot resist sharing it. Click To Tweet
Whatever you do for your brand on Social Media, always follow these three rules;
- Understand Each Platform and be native to it.
- Appeal to people’s emotions.
- Encourage sharing and the spreading of your brand message.
Remember, Social Media is a large part of your Digital Marketing Strategy and so should be seen as such.