More than one and a half billion people use social media. The number is likely to soar through 2016. No matter what you make or sell, you are likely to find your target audience online and active on social media. That makes social media marketing imperative. However, most people understand social media marketing as tweeting, fan pages, likes, shares, comments and aspire to attain that one viral phenomenon which can catapult a company to limelight. Fortunately, social media marketing is not that simple. Else, any company would have found the elusive popularity. However, that is also the unfortunate aspect of the whole paradigm.

As a company or as an individual, you ought to perfect your social media marketing strategy. In 2016, you must try and improve your social media marketing campaigns. Here is a brief but helpful guide to accomplish your social media objectives.

  • Websites have gone mobile. Google has gone on record stating that it would reward websites that have a mobile first approach. Companies not having mobile sites or mobile friendly sites are frantically trying to upgrade their websites with responsive designs. When the world is clearly going mobile, it is necessary for social media marketing strategies to be optimized or amended to suit mobile devices. You may have observed the advent of Vine videos and other images which don’t take much bandwidth and can easily adapt to screen size and get conveniently displayed or played back. One needs to start using these instead of embedded links or YouTube videos presented as thumbnails on social media. The objective is to customize the entire social media engagement for a mobile space.
  • Go mobile and go local. Once you have tweaked all your approaches for the mobile platform, you need to work on geo targeting. It is absolutely futile to consider social media as one single platform and then trying to reach out to any and sundry who has access to the site. It is impossible for any single brand or individual to reach out to more than a billion people. It is also unnecessary. All you need is your relevant audience or clientele to know who you are, what you do and how you can be a suitable choice for them. For that, you must go local and geo targeting can easily get the job done for you. Target regions or cities and districts or neighbourhoods, don’t randomly post updates or share any information without acknowledging the profiles or demographics and the location of your target audience. Geo targeting is facilitated by most social media sites. While signing up or while downloading the apps, users agree to let their location known to the platform. Hence, companies or individuals trying to reach out to the audience will get to know by location if a particular user is relevant. Geo targeting will save time, make strategies relevant and would increase the returns on investment.
  • Social media has reinvented the herd mentality, also known as mob mentality. If you turn the clock back by a decade to three decades, you would find a culture of innovation and uniqueness being sown into the mindset of people born to the baby boomers and thereafter. That had lead to the scientific and technological revolutions which have benefited us in so many ways today. For the last few years, it is all about following the trends, falling in line and doing what everyone else is doing. Follow companies selling the same products or media organizations catering to the same audience and you would find almost identical social media engagement strategies. This doesn’t work. The whole relevance of social media is that everyone gets to have a voice and can get that voice heard. If everyone speaks the same thing, then individuality may rest in peace. Social media engagement of companies or individuals needs to be unique, original and heavily personalized. It doesn’t matter what others are doing. Would you have the same approach to engage with a prospective client as your competitor? Despite the same industry and similar products, are your products identical? If not, then there is truly no reason why your social media approach be exactly the same as that of others. The moment you comply with trends, without even delving into the details, you are defeating the whole purpose of social media engagement.
  • Be human with your social media marketing campaigns. Don’t treat the users as stats. Don’t appear to be robotic, sans emotions and compassion, obligatory and lacking any character. There should be a distinct tone, a standpoint, strong opinions, certain attributes, a style and a specific way of dealing with everything. This will only happen when a company or an individual develops a social media presence that is a natural extension of the enterprise or the professional.
  • While we have focused on personalization, uniqueness and other abstract and subjective aspects of social media marketing, it is equally important to use analytics and data to understand how well you are faring on the platforms. From website traffic to social media engagement, click through rates to conversions, time spent on your website or a specific webpage to the increase or decrease in following, everything matters. Use all these data or analytical assessments as indicators and then accordingly make changes to your social media marketing strategy. Conduct A/B testing or make incessant changes to any new initiatives on social media based on the feedback you get. No matter how you wish to make the changes and when, it is important to make those changes and to do so objectively.
  • The eventual objective of your social media marketing strategy in 2016 should be to create a clout. It is no longer about having a presence, being happy with whatever followers you have and getting those odd re-tweets or likes. You should aim for social media dominance and that will get you the kind of influence you need to turn the tides in your favour. Use social media influencers, opt for larger exposure and stay in the news in myriad ways by using current affairs or pop culture. Use all kinds of engaging content to entice your audience.