5 Crucial elements for a winning social media presence

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No two social media marketing campaigns should be organized or managed in the same way.

Every brand is different, with unique qualities and a specific demographic to target, and there are dozens of tactics you can use to build a following.

Creating original posts, sharing material from your site, and sharingposts made by others are potential routes to success with plenty of overlap. On top of that, you have varying approaches to tone, engagement and frequency, along with the option of paid advertising—so there’s no single “correct” way to go about it.

However, some tactics are essential for any campaign and any organization that wants to succeed. If you want your page to cultivate a large, active following, follow these guidelines:

1. Brand development and consistency. Branding is one of the most valuable components of a company, responsible for public perception of a company’s philosophy, tone, character, values and commitment to customer service.

Without a solid, well-defined brand, customers will have a hard time understanding what you’re about, and you won’t carry much appeal with your specific target audience.

Create a brand that speaks to your customers specifically; for example, if they’re family-oriented, make family values a top priority, or if they’re youthful and energetic, try more casual, trendy messaging. Once you have those brand standards in place, you must be consistent with them so your audience has time to become familiar with you.

2. A/B testing. As Insta page explains, A/B testing entails executing and comparing two similar yet distinct experimental conditions. When you first start out in social media marketing, you won’t have a reliable idea of which strategies work and which ones don’t; you may have an inkling based on your prior experience, but you don’t have any hard data.

A/B testing takes two options (such as different content channels—like video and image sets), and releases them under similar conditions, giving you hard data to determine which is objectively better. Over time, A/B testing can help you find the best of the best strategies to use—and without it, you’ll be stuck with whatever your intuition comes up with.

3. Social media monitoring. Sprout Social says this entails “tracking conversations around specific phrases, words or brands, and then leveraging them to discover opportunities or create content for those audiences.” It’s a way of learning what your customers are talking about and what’s important to them.

With that information, you can build a better all-around strategy, sculpting your content to appeal to people in those demographics. Specific software exists to facilitate those monitoring efforts, or you can use in-app searches to discover consumer interests.

4. Follower engagement. It’s not enough to create and upload posts; you also have to help your followers realize that they’re an active and recognized part of your community.

You can do this through follower engagement, the practice of having conversations and acknowledging your followers’ posts. This can be as simple as responding to a user comment or as complex as having an ongoing conversation with your followers.

Doing this makes each individual feel more engaged, and it’s attractive to prospective followers who see how your brand responds to vocal followers. If your followers feel unheard, they’re going to unfollow you, so this strategy is crucial to success.

5. Measurement and analysis. In addition to A/B testing, you should be measuring multiple metrics related to your campaign: “likes,” shares, comments, post popularity, and click-throughs and traffic patterns to your site.

Without this objective information, you’ll be flying blind, unable to gauge the effectiveness of your campaign. You should also be able to tie these metrics to a return on investment (ROI) figure, so keep track of how much you’re spending on your campaign.

Shoehorning these strategies into your social media marketing campaign isn’t enough to guarantee success. You must customize your campaign with specific additions and changes to suit your demographics and your bottom-line goals.

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