Social media marketing is a form of marketing that targets the users of social media platforms for selling products and services, building a brand, and driving website traffic. The digital era has created both opportunities and challenges for marketing agencies and specialists.
While digitization has created an unmatched range of customer outreach resources and tools, it has also required brands to be flexible and fast-moving. In 2021, more than 90% of staff in U.S. marketing companies were required to use social media platforms for marketing purposes.
This is huge. As a college student, you could not be asking for more. Social media is what students like and enjoy. All the more reason to improve your social media marketing skills using some of your favourite platforms. Keep reading to find out how.
- Create a strong brand
It starts and ends with your identity. Branding will either attract or distract customers depending on the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and approaches. The degree to which your brand identity achieves online recognition is a direct indicator of your success or failure.
Social media platforms offer vast opportunities to constantly add new content to what you would normally have on your website. Use branded content in creative ways to keep customers engaged with your mission statement, values, and events.
Keep your account professional, tidy, and user-friendly. Project the image of an accomplished professional in and through everything you do. Pay attention to your looks, photos, and writing style. The payoff will be huge.
- Stay focused
No need to storm all social platforms at a time. Content management might become too onerous to manage successfully. Choose one or two to begin with. Go for those that you know well and where you are more likely to attract a wider audience.
You should not spread yourself thin from the get-go. Once you start seeing progress and increasing the number of followers, you can think about scaling up.
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- Keep an eye on your online reputation
Nothing can hurt your efforts more than a bad reputation. The optics of your profile, content, and online behaviour matter more than you might think. Closely watch what you say, when you say it, and to whom you say it. Stick to your values and speak up when silence might be equated with nonchalance.
Don’t troll, and never allow yourself to be dragged into trolling. Act as a responsible digital citizen.
Keep track of your loyal customers, and never turn a blind eye to customer reviews and feedback. Pay particular attention to negative ones. Unless they include any ad hominem assessments, you should always react and address the identified issues.
- Start building a following
You want to have as many followers as possible. Depending on the type of product or service being marketed, define your audience. This is a vital step that will inform your choice of content and outreach strategies. Remember that the quality of your followership often beats the numbers.
Be smart and creative about content and posts. Offer something new and different to your audience. If you do not feel confident about your writing capacity, get the help of professionals who specialize in improving students writing skills.
- Use analytics
Use analytics to gauge progress. Count the number of views, followers, and likes. But do not limit your evaluation to quantitative data only. The quality of engagement also matters, so carefully analyze the type of engagement too.
The sales of the marketed products and services can also serve as a proxy indicator of the effectiveness of your social media marketing strategies. The point is to make your marketing efforts fact-based and data-driven.
- Ask for reviews and feedback
No matter how strong a start you make, there is always room for improvement. Never hesitate to ask for reviews and feedback. The purpose of customer feedback is not just to praise the products and services you are marketing. You should view it as a major learning opportunity for further growth.
Address issues brought to your attention, take corrective action, and thank the customers for providing feedback.
- Join relevant groups
Identify and join appropriate social media groups. You can use new connections to exchange ideas, lessons learned, and experiences. These groups act like communities of practice. You might end up coworking with some of them on certain ideas or projects.
You don’t have to repeat the mistakes made by others. Your peers can tell you a lot about common pitfalls to avoid, best practices, and emerging trends. With some luck, you might also run into your potential customers.
- Stay productive without over committing
Your goal is to strike a balance between your efforts and returns on investment. Be efficient with the use of your inputs for maximum productivity. Don’t commit to something you are not likely to accomplish. It’s important that you know your limits, maximize your strengths, and address identified knowledge gaps.
Be prompt but never rush things. Timing matters, so never let go of the right moment.
Bringing It Together
Social media marketing is a demanding job. It requires students to be disciplined, focused, and consistent in their strategies. The marketing efforts will be successful if you are able to choose the right audience and target the platforms where your potential customers spend most of their time.
Your online identity and presence should be based on an impeccable reputation, consistent values, and evidence-based content. Be prepared to move on a dime, stay flexible, and maintain resilience to frequent changes.
Authors Bio'-Joanne Elliot
Joanne Elliot is a long-time professional writer and experienced marketing expert. Her regular blogs focus on the opportunities and challenges presented by digital transformation and emerging trends in entrepreneurship and marketing. Joanne’s critical reviews are top-rated among college students and young entrepreneurs.