Whether it be Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or any other of the major social platforms; brands are beginning to realise, and indeed take advantage of the benefits that social media has to increase brand equity and meaningfully engage their audiences.

With 1.65 Billion active users and a further 1 million people becoming active on social media every day, it is only going to become more ingrained and entrenched into our everyday lives, which means that more and more brands will begin to adopt social media as their primary marketing outlet.

The continuing growth of social media as an institution poses both a fantastic opportunity and a great threat for companies. For brands who fully embrace social media, ‘the proactive’ that adopt it as their primary marketing outlet – the opportunities for brand growth and success are almost infinite. The companies that don’t give it the attention it needs, ‘the reactive’ – will be left behind sooner rather than later.

That being said, simply having a social media presence is not enough. Most brands have a presence, the power lies in how you leverage the power of social networks to the advantage of your company.

Know yourself

Too many marketers make the same mistake on social media, they simply exist, instead of carving their own authentic position. Gaining a deep understanding of your brand strengths, weaknesses, audience preferences, as well as the most engaging content strategy, are all critical elements of being effective.

What does your audience care about? How can you weave marketing campaigns into current events? How exactly do people perceive your brand online? – These are just a few of the questions brands must ask themselves to optimise their social presence and it is all achieved by compiling detailed market research and due diligence prior to a campaign.

Research your audience

There is no use in blindly attempting to use social media to enhance your business profile, it is a waste of valuable time and effort. It is also futile to mirror what other successful companies are doing, not only do they have a different target market but users can sense a lack of authenticity from a mile away.

There is a requirement to research and analyse your audience, otherwise, you are no more strategic than a seven-year-old child trying to find Wally. Carry out tactful research, test and measure so that you are able to uncover the real opportunities available to create a competitive advantage through social media marketing instead of just existing in a sea of similar brands.

Plan ahead

Social networks are noisy places and if you are not able to consistently deliver high-quality content then you will quickly be forgotten and face a battle to become heard again. Just like in any other facet of business, social media requires planning and strategy.

There must be clear plans, structures and metric driven intentions. Social media is a fantastic environment to test and measure campaigns and content, not only should content be planned but it should be KPI’d in terms of Return On Investment. Do you know exactly how much business your social campaign is bringing in? What kind of ROI does it generate? These things can all be identified however can only be achieved via proper planning. Of course, there are intangible benefits of having an optimal social media presence, but it is still essential to measure your efforts.

Interact

The job is not finished after distributing content on social media, in fact, most of the time it has only just begun. The key to building meaningful relationships and strengthening ties with your audience is through interaction. Every time that someone comments like or shares your content is an opportunity to build a relationship and a potential long-term customer.

Yes, it requires extra time, creativity and more than likely a dedicated member of staff or even a team to monitor social media, but remember this is perhaps the best way to interact, engage and build relationships with customers and potential customers – it should not be taken lightly. In fact, brands that are able to creatively engage with their audience have the opportunity to build massive brand equity and raving fans for life.

Author: Cameron Scott

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