Just over 2 years ago I started a social media outfit from a living room. It has since grown into a full-service inbound digital marketing agency, the first such enterprise in Uganda.
With social media pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram and a blog we started receiving the same requests for proposals that the biggest and oldest agencies in the country received, within our first year of operation.
Today we freely sit and talk with the biggest tax-paying firms in the country not because someone we went to school with knows us; we have used the very service we sell, to brand and market our agency.
Now, whether you are a large corporation trying to gain mileage through social media, a start-up looking for your first 100 clients or a freelancer desiring to build a brand through social media, it is imperative that you have a proper framework that guides you through your social media efforts.
In this article I share 9 supporting structures that have guided our agency’s social media strategies and helped it grow from a Facebook page to one of the most daring digital enterprises in the country within 2 years of founding.
Social media marketing frameworks that helped our agency grow from a Facebook page to one of the leading digital agencies in the country.
- Experimenter (Trial and Error)
This was our very first framework. When we just started an agency we didn’t know much about our audience so we had to do research in order to be sure.
We created as much content about as many (random) topics as we could so we could see which ones our audience found interesting and adjust accordingly.
Trial and Error which is similar to what folks at buffer call ‘Spaghetti’ in content marketing is so effective as it can help you not only grow your following (audience) but also learn about your customers as you work.
If you are a freelancer or start-up having less research data or resources to have a truly organised approach to social media marketing you might want to try to experiment like we did in 2016.
- Copier (copy-cat)
Sometimes it so happens that you know your audience quite well; you know where they are and what they like but you don’t have the time or skill to create original content for them. We were there, quite often.
What we would do in this case was go around and find that kind of content published by the brands we fancied (like HubSpot, Convince and Convert and Gary Vee) and shared with our own audiences without making any additions.
Through retweets, shares or even direct sharing with (credits to the author of course). With this we managed to keep our audiences engaged with valuable third party content.
We have used this more often than any other framework in this list.
We already knew our audience well, and understood what content could be of value to them so we travelled around the internet looking for such content that was already doing well and we customized, localised or improved them adding relevant and relatable local examples and imagery to them.
This concept in particular helped us build authority for our brand while providing so much value for our audience at the same time.
In Uganda and Kenya the slay-queen phenomenon is at another level altogether, so we borrowed a leaf sometimes.
Just in case you don’t know who ‘slay queens’ are; they are people (usually young girls) that do anything they can to win the attention of, and popularity among their target audiences (usually younger men or generally their peers).
With this framework we could post certain pieces of entertaining content like this one specifically to create buzz.
We also created newsy content mentioning some of the nations best media houses and brands that are active on twitter. At the end they all retweeted our tweets and mentioned our brand in their tweets and their mass of followers at least got to know that we existed.
During the 2016 elections in US and UK (Brexit) the phenomenon of media houses being openly biased towards particular viewpoints got to an even new level. These media houses often carried half-truths in favour of specific candidates or views yet still carried themselves as media houses trusted with delivering news.
With the campaigner framework we provide valuable comparative data but with a bias toward our own area of focus for example when we wrote posts and articles comparing social media marketing and traditional media marketing, we intentionally neglected the fact that there are more Ugandans offline than online and focused on the fact that the people who have internet access are the very ones with reasonable purchasing power.
Yes, like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
As in the black-friday campaigns, many e-commerce stores have done this for so long, almost all the time.
We sometimes chose to just strike too. We put up website redesign offers repeatedly until a couple of people would notice, pick up the phone and call us.
- Smarketer (sales-marketer).
If you’ve known about tofu-mofu-bofu or top of the funnel, middle of the funnel and bottom of the funnel, that is exactly what the smarketer framework is about.
With the smarketer framework, we generally create and share content that addresses the audience at all the three stages of the buying journey; awareness, consideration and decision stage.
As much as we aim at providing value, building audience and authority, we take into consideration the fact that we have to make sales (money) at the same time and not only sometime in the future.
If you don’t know Humans of New York please skip this point. Joking.
Well, with the Passionate Framework all we did was pick the things we are so passionate about and get into the habit of sharing about them every day, every time.
We wrote and published at least 2 blog posts every week. Before we knew it someone from the biggest bank in the country (by asset value) came knocking, asking if we could help with email marketing.
This particular framework helped us build a strong authority as the blogging people and following among our target audience.
Similar to the Passionate framework, the champion framework was great as it helped us to stand out.
We have shared about inbound marketing until someone at a local agency called us ‘ those guys that act like HubSpot’.
In the end, I have personally landed nice training and consulting opportunities I never even saw coming anytime soon.
Whatever your social media framework is I believe one important thing is that it works for your business, if it does not it is not evil to move on and try another.
Like we built an agency with under 20 dollars in printing or any other traditional advertising/marketing spend over a 2 year period I believe anybody can build an e-commerce store or make major sales strides through simple frameworks like the above.