Last week our Social Media class was graced by the presence of a recent QU alum and entrepreneur, Zach Hesterberg. He was kind enough to share his stories and experiences, relating with us because he was sitting in our seats just months ago. Zach developed an 8 step strategy as a sort of go-to guide, do’s and don’ts of social media. Takes notes ladies and gentlemen!
Step 1: Understand micro-goals. When a social media marketer begins developing an effective, personal strategy for a specific business or client, they must first create and understand their micro-goals, or the little steps it takes in order to reach the big, end goal.
Step 2: Setting goals. After accomplishing the micro-goals, move on to the main goals. Always aim high when setting goals, be unrealistic and it will push you much farther and make you work harder to turn those “unrealistic” goals into an attainable thing. When setting goals, be specific and timely because realizing you are on a deadline pushes you to work faster and not procrastinate. Once you accomplish the end goal, the business or client is pleased with the progress made and the was goal achieved. Although, is there ever really an end goal? Or can we continue pushing the limits of social media?
Step 3: Characterize target customer. Keep in mind when advertising or posting for a business (for example a local bakery in Quincy) that the content should be relevant to your target audience or customers. If you post a picture hoping to promote your bakery, boost engagement and increase sales, it would not be wise to use general, basic bakery hashtags because people from all around the world may discover and engage with your post. Doing so will not increase sales when you are not targeting your local customers. Say later down the road the bakery wants to expand its business, then using more universal hashtags and mentions would not be a bad idea. Just keep in mind your target audience when managing a social media account for a business.
Step 4: Analyze the competition. In the fast paced, consumer-driven world we live in today, competition is everywhere like it or not. In reality, competition is a good thing. Imagine if a business wanted to start a new line of products. After getting a simple strategy started, they go check out the competition and to their surprise, there is none. This is never a good sign, typically meaning it is not a good investment. Once you have a set, sturdy strategy, do some digging into your competitors content and engagement ratings. Discover what works and doesn’t work so well for them and build your strategy around the analyzation to better your chances of beating the competition.
Step 5: Develop your brand’s message. Content is key! Every business has a logo, saying or something people associate with their “brand.” Being able to brand your business well will eventually lead to promotions, spreading sales, increased engagement and it helps construct an overall professional feel for the company. Create a catchy brand that compliments the business’s motto and stands for something positive. Your brand’s message benefits the business and will potentially boost clientele and keep loyal customers coming back.
Step 6: Choosing the best social media platform for your brand. Social media is always on the rise. Just when you think you have it all figured out, it does a 180 and leaves you sitting back at square one. Choosing the best platform to tailor to your brand can be tricky, but if done right it will pay off (literally) in the end. Dependent upon your business’s target customer, determining this will lead you in the right direction of the perfect platform to boost your brand. For instance, pretend I am a social media manager for a fashion industry (targeted towards teenage girls.) My target customers would most likely flock to Pintrest and Instagram to find the hottest trends and stay up to date on the latest fashion lines. Facebook and Twitter may not be the most appropriate platforms since their content is intended more for news and updates related to different people’s lives (friends, family, celebrities, athletes, etc.) My intent is to promote and sell my brand which is a teenage girls clothing line, so picking the right platform is important.
Step 7: Build your content posting strategy. In order for your business to receive the most engagement on every post, there are a few tips and tricks that can be useful to utilize. First of all, figure out the best time of day and even days of the week to post. When are your friends and followers the most active on social media? This may take a few trial tests to determine, but once you lock in a perfect posting time, schedule all your posts to go out at that specific time in order to receive maximum engagement. Secondly, use visuals! Experiment with this a little bit by posting photos versus videos and stick with what people interact with the most. To be honest, no one likes to read an article without a corresponding visual. A visual will immediately draw your target customer’s attention straight to your post and hopefully hook them. Last but not least, be original. If a business continually re-blogs, re-posts, or re-tweets content, this is not attractive. It gives off the impression you have no personal opinion or that you have nothing new to show in terms of your business and brand, aside from the competition.
Step 8: Paid advertising. Managing your business’s social media algorithms is a great resource to help you, the social media marketer, see what is working well for the business and what areas you need to assist in improving. Paid advertisement is the number one way to spread the word about your business. This works wonders for companies who know the right platforms to produce the ads on and exactly who and how many people your ads are reaching. Business’s think that by simply “boosting” a post they are increasing their reach. However, it is a waste of time and money. Be aware of your advertisements.
Zach mentioned several other pivotal points during his lecture. One metaphor he used was that “social media is going to the gym.” By this he means that social media is a workout. When you want results- you have to be disciplined, consistent, repetitive and stick to a routine. Applying this to the job of a social media marketer makes perfect sense.
According to Zach, based on his personal and work experience, he has reason to believe Twitter is a dying platform. Social media is all about change. When one social media medium updates and upgrades features, the other feels the need to almost mimic or outdo the other. Twitter is non-responsive to the ever evolving world of social media, leaving them behind in the dust a little bit.
Previously mentioned in the social media strategy steps, identifying your target audience is key to sales, engagement and overall boost of a business. Using the shotgun approach is not an effective way to reach your target customers because spreading the word to everyone may boost engagement a little bit but will not get you the end result of attracting more customers and making more sales. Post natively to reach potential customers.
The biggest social media mistakes business’s make is not separating content between platforms. Distinguishing a difference and adapting to the uniqueness of each platform is critical for content to be recognizable and relatable. Filter the content specific to each platform and your business will thrive. Stay SoZesty!