Spray and Pray: How to Start Social Media Marketing

Knowing which social media platform to position your brand can be a tough thing to juggle. Do you spring for the sites that feel most appropriate for your brand, or do you focus intently on whatever’s trending the hottest right now?

The landscape is constantly evolving, and what works for one person or brand might not work for another. So, how do you navigate these uncharted waters and set sail on your social media marketing journey?

In this post, we’ll help you assess how to start social media marketing for your brand. We’ll cover how casting a wide net from the onset can be advantageous in discovering exactly where your audience hangs out regularly.

Yaniv Masjedi
CMO, Nextiva

Their expertise has helped Nextiva grow its brand and overall business

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Try Almost Everything

When we’re guiding people through the growing pains of establishing a social media presence for the first time, we like to adopt a “spray-and-pray” approach, which means that you hit up practically every option that might yield fruitful results:

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Now, before you raise an eyebrow, hear us out. The sound of this social media marketing strategy might suggest that instead of meticulously planning your strategy from the get-go and targeting a specific audience, you should unleash a flurry of diverse content across various platforms.

That’s really only half the story:

The object of spray-and-pray marketing is less of a brand exposure activity than it is a market research activity.

Exploring the unknown is all part of the market research process, especially when it comes to positioning your brand in a new digital medium.

The underlying principle is simple: You can’t predict with certainty what will resonate with your audience until you test the waters.

This philosophy acknowledges that social media is like a vast, unpredictable ocean, and your content is your fishing net. So what you is:

  • First: You cast a wide net.
  • Then: Based on what you catch, you refine your approach.

Sounds great, right? Well, the trick is reigning in the net rather quickly and seeing what you catch. You can’t just leave the net at sea forever.

Your efforts have to be measured and acted upon in a predefined timeframe. It could be three or four months, for example, at which point you take a step back and consider how all of your content performed on each platform. The platforms that produced the best results will likely be the horses you end up backing.

Experimentation: The Key to Unveiling Patterns

Imagine you’re on TikTok, trying out different content styles – interviews, snippets from conferences, or just candid moments. Suddenly, you notice that a seemingly mundane video of you at a conference receives 5-6 times more engagement than other types of content.

This is the power of experimentation.

Getting started with social media marketing involves embracing the unknown and being open to surprising outcomes, including data that suggests a platform you initially thought should have performed well actually doesn’t.

As you experiment, patterns emerge like stars in the night sky. These patterns offer insights into what clicks with your audience and what doesn’t.

Consider it a social media science experiment: You gather data, observe the results, and draw conclusions. Social media marketing for beginners is all about taking these patterns and turning them into actionable insights.

Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis: The Balanced Approach

Embarking on your social media journey involves two main streams of analysis: quantitative and qualitative.

  • Quantitative: This revolves around crunching numbers – examining analytics, reach, engagement rates, and other measurable metrics.
  • Qualitative: This taps into the human side of social media – understanding what people are saying, feeling, and sharing. It’s a dynamic dance between numbers and emotions, and both are essential.

Let’s take a hypothetical example for a second.

Your YouTube channel starts veering toward a specific niche, like NFT marketing. This shift is backed by quantitative data that indicates higher engagement for NFT-related content. At the same time, qualitative feedback from your audience might align with this new direction.

When you look at the data of how people are responding to deviations in your content, it can open the door to all new ways of leveraging your brand for your audience. And when you find new ways to deliver value, it becomes a stage to boost your brand even further.

Related Content: Daily Social Media Posting: What’s the Optimal Strategy?

Channels Galore: Which Ones to Explore?

A question that often arises is: How many channels should you tackle when you’re starting your social media marketing expedition? The answer is as many as you can handle effectively.

However, it’s crucial to tailor your content to each platform’s unique dynamics. Repurposing content across platforms can be an efficient strategy, but remember to adapt it to suit each audience.

But how do you decide which channels to prioritize? Consider the RICE framework:

  • Reach: The density of your audience in that space.
  • Impact: The value can you deliver in that space and, conversely, the amount of traction from your audience that you can generate from contributing content in that channel.
  • Confidence: How likely you think it will succeed compared to competitors and the general discussions that relate to your brand’s offer.
  • Effort: This measures how difficult it will be to attain success on the social platforms you experiment on.

It’s about making calculated bets and optimizing your resources. Score each channel based on these factors to prioritize where you’ll dedicate your initial efforts:

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Data-Driven Decisions: The Heart of Success

Amidst the spray-and-pray approach and the experimentation frenzy, one constant thread binds everything together – data. Actionable data.

Starting a social media marketing campaign involves constant monitoring of analytics and insights. If you ignore the data, you’re essentially sailing without a compass. Data-driven marketing is key for success.

Remember, social media is a dynamic, always-changing landscape. What works today might not work tomorrow. This is where your willingness to adapt comes into play. Analyze the data, identify trends, and be ready to pivot your strategy when needed. It’s a journey of constant learning and evolution.

Last Thoughts on How to Start Social Media Marketing

To get started with your social media strategy using the spray-and-pray method, it may feel like you’re shooting from the hip at first, but that’s perfectly warranted when you’re just starting out.

Only with experimentation with you be able to find your brand’s placements. Too many brands try to do it all and, inevitably, one area will suffer, which tends to drag the brand down.

You should prioritize and focus on the channels that you discover are strong community hubs for your audience and behave as a strong catalyst for engagement with your brand.

Remember, every channel, every post, and every interaction is a chance to learn, grow, and refine your strategy.

If you’re ready to level up your social media presence, Single Grain’s social media experts can help!👇

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Repurposed from our Marketing School podcast.

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