5 Essential Things I Learned About Social Media Marketing From General Assembly’s Social Media Bootcamp

Candice Balbuena May 3, 2017
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5 Essential Things I Learned About Social Media Marketing From General Assembly’s Social Media Bootcamp

Social media is designed to be an immersive experience that captures its users through visuals, interactions and messaging. A vast amount of individuals spend countless hours on their phones engaged in social media without realizing how all of these things affect how we live, think and spend. My role as a graphic designer is to communicate an idea visually for others to digest, and I have to be conscious of the end result. As social media grows and transforms, I have to be more aware and sensitive to designing digitally for the perusing consumer.

I moved to Austin a few months ago and have been looking into different ways to engage with the creative community in the city. After some research, I came upon General Assembly and learned that they offer professional development courses an a variety of topics in the design, digital and marketing fields. I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to delve more into social media marketing to aid future projects I will potentially work on. Upon viewing General Assembly’s website, I came across some one-day bootcamps that could be completed over the weekend that aligned with my work schedule. I signed up for the 6-hour long Social Media Bootcamp class taught by Deloitte Social Media Manager Meredith Gonsalvez.

The bootcamp helped me realize that there are vast possibilities to really grow your business or venture with social media if it is done right and with purpose. Below lists a few of the key takeaways I received.

1. In Social Media Marketing, Platforms Are Not “One-Size-Fits-All”

The biggest misconception is that you have to have an account for every social media platform in order for your business to be visible. Not only is this untrue, it’s also a massive undertaking to manage multiple accounts that may or may not provide you the engagement that you seek. It is important to take a look at each platform at a glance and access their features, strengths and weaknesses to have the right arsenal that will supplement your organization’s needs. You have to also consider the demographics for each platform to determine if your type of business could benefit from that particular platform's audience.

Narrowing down the field to a specific set of social media platforms that fit the demographics of your audience will allow you to provide more impact to these groups. Once you determine what appropriate platforms to use then you can better prepare a plan for each that will comprise your total social media marketing strategy. You can then schedule your content and posts to align with each channel in a consistent manner. Keep in mind that your game plan should always be flexible to adapt to current updates and trends.

Below is cheat sheet of the most popular social media platforms to get insight into choosing the right ones for your business:

Social Media Platform Cheat Sheet

2. If You Don’t Know Your Audience, You’re Wasting Your Time

You can sell your product or service to someone easily if you know them. If you have an idea of their personality, likes, dislikes, beliefs and spending habits, it's easier to explain to them how your offerings can help them in the long run? It is very vital to know your business’s core audience in order to tailor your social media marketing strategy to fit their wants and needs and increase engagement.

To determine your core audience, consider these attributes:

  • Demographics - What is their age, gender and location?
  • Psychographics - What activities are they interested in? What topics do they love talking about? What motivates them? What is their belief system?
  • Digital Behaviors - What other brands do they follow and what social media channels do they use? Where do they spend their time online?
  • Relationship with Your Brand - What drives them to do business with you? How often do they interact with your business and where?

By establishing these elements early in the strategy process, you're provided with better insight into how to deliver and tailor your messaging to your core audience.

3. Quality Content is a Must

One important thing to consider when developing your social media marketing strategy is your content strategy. If your content is not well thought-out, planned and tailored to fit the particular social media channel, your business is using, the end-result will suffer. Including a content strategy into your overall social media marketing strategy will provide you with a flexible and efficient system of delivering content to your audience. The key is to deliver quality content over quantity. When developing content to post on social media it is imperative to consider the overall business goals and messaging so that the overall tone and voice is consistent throughout various platforms. By providing your audience with unique and informative content in a tailored voice that they cannot get anywhere else is what will increase brand loyalty and reputation.

 In order to create content for your business’s social media channels, there is an easy process to follow: 

  1. Make a list of topics and concepts you want to cover by using your business objectives and audience personas to decide on key themes.
  2. Make an audit of your current arsenal of content and determine what you have already and what you need to add. 
  3. Establish a personal tone of voice for your content that reflects your brand or business’s vision, messaging and mission.
  4. Based on what social media channels your business is currently on, determine where the content you create will live, how much will be created and how often will it be posted.
  5. The final step is to create a publishing schedule that lays out each post for the day, week and month so that your posts can be efficient and effective. 

By following this process when developing your content strategy it will be easier to develop a system and make adjustments down the line as necessary. Creating and developing content can be less time consuming if a organized plan is established in the beginning.

4. To Win the Game, You Have to Pay to Play

We all know growing and running a business involves spending money and when it comes to social media marketing, paying for targeted advertising is essential to ensuring the proper delivery of your messaging to the right audience. Paid advertising is a way for businesses to be seen by the right individuals that would benefit from their particular service by paying to target advertising specifically to these groups. Each social media channel has different paid advertising methods, pricing structures and targeting capabilities so it is best to do the research to determine the right solution for your business.

 Below is a chart that lists at-a-glance each top social media channel’s targeting capabilities with paid advertising:

Targeting Capabilities with Paid Advertising

5. Make Sure to Analyze the End Result

Creating a social media marketing strategy is like an experiment. A problem exists, solutions are researched, developed and implemented, and then the results are analyzed in order to determine if the proposed solutions were successful or unsuccessful. The same concept applies with social media. It is important to make sure that all of the hard work your business is doing across various channels is performing the way you expect. By analyzing the end result of your business’s social media marketing efforts will provide valuable insight into what worked, what didn’t work and will allow for future adjustments. The are various reporting tools you can use to analyze how content is being viewed by your audience and each social media channel offers various solutions to reporting metrics. 

Final Note

Overall, I had an enlightening experience in the bootcamp and felt very engaged the whole time! It was a great crash course into what you can do to integrate your business and social media marketing strategy seamlessly. Just simply being on various channels and posting every now and then won’t guarantee immediate exposure. If you really want to grow your following, increase your customer base, drive sales and establish your brand, you must create a plan that is well researched, flexible, measurable and attainable.

What's the best piece of social media marketing advice you've ever heard? Let us know in the comments!

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