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How to Outperform Your Competitors on Social Media

Original post here: http://homebusinessmag.com/marketing/internet-marketing/outperform-competitors-social-media/

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Social media is no longer a new thing. The channel is firmly cemented in everyday society and is here to stay. The innovators behind the likes of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn and many more have created platforms that have transformed both the social and business landscapes of the world, dramatically fast forwarding what we’ve come to call the digital revolution. For businesses and organisations, social media provides a wealth of powerful and influential marketing and advertising opportunities. While the offspring of Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey’s ingenuity present vast options for business exposure and direct connection with consumers, all this power can mean diddly squat if these digital channels aren’t leveraged suitably. Further, companies have to properly recognise the dynamic of how users engage and interact to maximise their interests..

All businesses and their respective marketplaces are fiercely competitive. We know this. By staying up to date with market trends paired with taking calculated risks equips marketers with a cutting edge advantage over their competitors. When it comes to social media, the major challenge is constant and rapidly changing nature akin to the landscape. All media progresses, but in the past, traditional forms have generally taken a longer time to adapt to social and cultural changes – social media marketing approaches and their effectiveness evolve at a much faster rate. Strategies employed five years ago are antiquated and more or less obsolete.

So, in the current climate, how do you outperform your competitors by utilising the wealth that social media affords? At Matter Solutions, in order for us to ensure the best ROI for our clients, and to effectively market their brand and products, we actively search to identify and subsequently integrate trends and insights into our social media marketing approach. Moving forward, here’s a few important progressions we’ve come to learn when planning social media strategies.

The points outlined below will enable your business with the tools to help put you ahead of your competitors in the digital market.   

1. Pay Facebook To Do The Grunt Work

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A large obstacle for small to medium size businesses is the lack of marketing budget they sport. Furthermore, employing an agency isn’t free. It comes with a price tag. And to market your local business in a paper, magazine, online or even in TV is a calculated gamble in that there was no guarantee, despite finding media that boasted relative audiences, that your brand would be exposed effectively to your intended target market. Fortunately, the hassles and obstacles of traditional marketing and advertising can be avoided. Facebook now offers a viable and incredibly easy extensive solution, paid advert targeting. Given everyone is now connected and frequently using Facebook, you can execute brand content via Facebook’s paid advertising service that directly targets and reaches your ideal audience. It takes filtered considerations such as location, demographics, interests, behaviors and even boasts custom audience features that can go one step further in engaging with your relevant target audience. Using other tools available with the service allows you to post and engage with users at specific times to optimise the reach and effectiveness of posts and media. In terms of cost and budgeting, the paid platform guarantees audience specific reach, of which is more likely to generate leads comparatively to more risk related traditional approaches.

By employing Facebook to filter targeted audiences, it also provides valuable insights and metrics into the success and influence of the content your business posts. Subsequently, you have access to valuable data that can help your next strategy or help you examine where your approach needs to be refined or improved. It may cost, but you can rest assured knowing that your business is getting in front of the right eyes. One thing to note, that a lot of businesses aren’t aware of, or better yet, aren’t willing to confront, is that no user is really going to visit a business page. After all, this is a social network, why would anyone head to your business page in their much desired free scrolling time? Gone are the days of organic posting. Fuelling capital into creating content in the hope it organically propels in the feed, promoting your brand in the process is a farce. Plain and simple, it doesn’t work.

On that note, there are current trends which Facebook for businesses has strongly encouraged strategists to consider when executing marketing content on social media. Read on!

2. The Element of Surprise

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Phil Bonanno, Client Partner at Facebook recently pointed out at a business conference that paid advertising is most effective when people least suspect it – a social media term dubbed ‘snacking’. An example – if you take a coffee break at work, and head down to your local roastery, make an order, then wait for the barista to work his or her magic, more often than not you will pull out your phone, open up Facebook with the slight hope you’ll see what your friends or up to or if there’s something your crush has posted you can strategically like 😉 It’s these times, where users are switched off, paid, audience specific media can have a great and wonderful affect. Advertising is disruptive. No one likes it. Simple. Great and powerful advertising is where content and brands slip through the cracks of people’s instinctive anti ad-armour. This is essentially the foundation of creative marketing, and utilising Facebook’s powerful analytical tools equips your business with the appropriate weaponry to pierce said armour.    

Now pair this with the strategic insights Facebook media warrants, and advertising your brand has never been in a better position to engage and connect with your targeted audiences. It’s now possible to effectively market to the right audience, at the right time, all in the one place. Marketing budgets in businesses, especially small to mid size organisations, don’t always possess the cash flow to use traditional marketing methods. However, by capitalising on the elaborate advertising instruments that Facebook boasts, you’re business will maximise on effective target specific reach, putting you ahead of competitors and securing a safer ROI.  

Now that your brand has the spotlight, what content to does it look to promote? Involve? What creative direction should it take? What should it encompass?

3. Create Content That Makes Your Ideal Audience Content

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It’s all about creatively marketing the benefits and uniqueness of your brand and its products. A lot of businesses merely just try to promote for the sake of promoting, and that’s fine. The problem with that? If you’re a business who doesn’t offer engaging, stimulating and/or captivating than get off my timeline – as far as users are concerned you’re wasting precious scrolling time that can otherwise be spent indulging in compelling media.

It’s hard to know what you should include when posting content for your business on social media – but in order to successfully employ the many benefits Facebook paid advertising sports, content is necessary. Before posting content relative to your business, it’s highly important to know that in the realm of engaging content, there’s a measure of calculated risqueness that needs to be incorporated to help you stand out from your competitors. Adhering to this notion can heavily benefit and propel the perception of your business digitally and overall.

While pulling off unique content that stands out isn’t easy, more or less the reasoning behind the existence of creative agencies, it’s what gets your business noticed. If you’re lacking in budget to outsource content, here are a few simple things to consider when generating media to market your business and products that can help outperform your competitors on social media:

– Offer Value: provide a timely mix of content about your business of which include tips, sales events, behind the scenes production footage and photos, also look to source third party content in the form of industry blogs and forums. This helps establish the credibility of your business. Execute weekly or monthly discounts and offers and inform users that this will be an ongoing occurrence.

– Strategically Publish Photos: Avoid posting singular, stand-alone photos of your business and its products. Show them in their finest, most applicable form, by brand champions or better, satisfied customers. Allow these to be interactive, let people tag each other in them and be sure to make them shareable – a great way to organically drive content circulation.

– Avoid Lengthy Posts: You might be very passionate about your business, or the business you represent, however not everyone shares the same sentiment. Subsequently, be economic in how much content you decide to publish. Keep it short, compelling and snappy.

– Engagement Is Key: How can you creatively stimulate users to interact and engage with your business? What are the key, unique elements of your business that would appeal to your targeted audience? Find these out. Research. Try and identify trends in competitors and in the marketplace as a whole. Get your audience engaged.

– Connect As A friend, Not A business: People don’t like sales driven social media accounts as much as they don’t like salespeople in real life. If you’re hoping to garner a following or generate leads via publishing content, make sure it’s void of a sales driven tonality, it deters users as much as used car salesperson does. Have a personality, and character that your respective audience can relate to – like a friend.

– Have A Schedule & Publish Constantly

Don’t spam people’s feed. But if you have some quality content in the barriers ready to jump, make sure it’s backed up by another. Allow for your content to flow into another allowing for adequate breathing space in between. Consistency is an important key.  

Creating the right content is never easy or can be unpredictable. Hence the term viral. Sometimes unexplained content with no business or social agenda just goes bonkers digitally, for no reason other than time and place and mere uniqueness – hard things to master or plan for. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. The steps outlined above are merely a guide of things to consider and avoid, and have proven to be successful in the past.

4. Things To Consider

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Despite Facebook being the main outlet dominating this article, the majority of other social media platforms mentioned earlier also offer impressive business/advertising packages of which include detailed metrics and analytics. Presently, however, Facebook boasts the most extensive marketing capabilities and is home to the largest audience of active users Contrarily, platforms like LinkedIn are home to a very specific socio/professional environment. Who doesn’t love a professional stalk of a colleague, competitor or employers profile? A business who deals in a trade that aligns with this audience dynamic, or even the tone of the platforms conversation would more than likely attain greater ROI through advertising on there. Finding the right platform can help tailor marketing to a specific audience. As mentioned, however, the advantage with Facebook is that nearly everyone who’s on any form of social media has an active Facebook account.  

Instagram, Facebook’s visual subsidiary, has recently released its business profile that allows advertising media and in-depth analysis tools to gauge the success of marketed media. This platform can help market a number of businesses and genre’s and is already a leading avenue for celebrity/influencer based companies. Most major social media outlets that haven’t already, will begin to slowly roll-out advertising packages, and ones that already are will be gunning to refine and update to provide advertisers with more ways to reach audiences. Snapchat has recently announced updates to it advertising capacities, with developments in brand and product marketing within the application as well as highly detailed metric tools. However, the king of filters is suited to a very specific genre and audience – reiterating the importance of understanding the crowd present on different social media channels.     

5. Say Goodbye to DIY

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If the upfront cost of paying for marketing services supplied by social media overwhelms you, then a simple numbers breakdown will highlight the cost effective benefits with outsourcing marketing to a social platform. Think about the hours put into to developing marketing content – it’s not short. Then add that next to the hours put into publishing it strategically with the goal of the content meeting the eyes of the targeted audiences. Even then, connecting with your customer base is in no way guaranteed. So here you are, pumped hours into developing material that may or may not be a success given the huge reliance on the very rare possibility it may go organically viral and blow the numbers of your business throughout the roof. It’s a huge risk to invest in an approach of this nature, and also in the current digital landscape extremely stubborn and ignorant. This isn’t to say risk should be avoided. All successful businesses have and do exercise a risk – progress and innovation depend on the notion. However, in this context, the risk component should be integrated into your content, and paid social media, especially Facebook, should be the secure element utilised to execute.

Where To From Here?

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Moving forward, these are a few important things that will help your business outperform competitors on social media. The most important thing to remember is to it’s worth investing in paid media, especially on a platform with such elaborate reach and analytical dexterity as Facebook. Even considering the upfront cost, you have guaranteed reach to your intended audience. If you were selling rugby league posters in Brisbane’s northside, and wanted content exposed to young consumers who like the sport in the area local to your business, Facebook can make this happen. Securing a less risky and more secure path to a ROI. And these types of services, as outlined, aren’t just unique to Facebook with many other channels sporting marketing reach instruments, Mr Zuckerberg’s pride and joy just happens to be the setting pace. Invest in your business wisely and understand the landscape when it comes to social media, and the benefits can be extremely lucrative and beneficial for you business, and not so for your competitors.    

Article brought to you by Matter Solutions, a social media marketing and digital strategy agency based in the Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.

The post How to Outperform Your Competitors on Social Media appeared first on Home Business Magazine.

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