Marketing in itself is a paradigm for a startup, the need to spend money to get customers vs the limited resource a business owns. Add the riskiness of a startup with limited resources in the mix and failure seems imminent. So, what should a startup do to increase its sales? The answer is ‘Social Media Marketing’.
The beauty of this marketing form lies in the fact that it is free/cheap and accessible to many. In Pakistan, there is the added advantage of a young population and the increasing rate of online users. However, with the changing demographics there has been a change in the customer behavior patterns as well. No longer are the consumers passive recipients to the message of corporations. They are looking for communication and two way dialogue, their voice must be heard or they will come with a vengeance on your feedback section.They will read the message or watch the video for about 10 secs before they scroll through to the next available item on their ‘feed’. Businesses need to be able to retain the customer so that they not only ‘like/follow’ the business page/forum but they are also willing to share the content.
There are 5 basic steps to making a successful social media plan:
- Immersion: Start with listening to the customer’s conversation online. What makes them tick? What makes them want to share the news on their ‘feed’? The key to a business success lies with understanding the fundamental need of a customer and using that knowledge to market to them. these days the customers want it now and they want it cheap. It’s all about the perception they have of the value they will get from the product. To understand the customer, start with online forums where they are communicating amongst themselves.
- Reflect: Use the insights to develop a strategy. Understanding the different types of customer is the best starting point. Startups need to categorize and make consumer personas of their target markets. Once you understand the markets available, it will be easier to develop campaigns that lead to fruitful results.
- Define: Set out goals & Objectives that the campaign has to achieve. Successful marketing campaigns include SMART objectives that are bound by exact figures. Remember each campaign should have only one goal and multiple objectives. This ensures the success of the campaign as the customer is not confused among various messages. The more they are bombarded with content the more quickly a business will lose those customers.
- Engage: Once the parameters have been set, it’s time to launch the campaign. Like any other advertising strategy it is best to evaluate the results and improve on them. The beauty of social media is ‘responsiveness’, it allows businesses to have with customers. Any query or remark can be immediately addressed, helping build that deeper connection with customers that leads to brand loyalty.
- Evaluate: Finally, it is time to check the results of the campaign with the defined constraints to measure success. Careful analysis and understanding of the results help in the future planning of marketing campaigns. It not only provides insights on the target markets interests and preference but also provides with information on the best channel for communication.
Another thing to keep in mind, while working on the above mentioned steps, is to keep an eye out for your competitors and their marketing strategies. Understanding their contentcan help in the development of the campaign goal and objectives. Startups need to always ‘be on their toes, if a competitor’s strategy is working replicating (without the faults) would lead to better results and following. After all, competitor’s costumers can ultimately be your customers, with the right content and social media strategy.