When it comes to social media marketing are you still struggling with a social media marketing strategy? Is it getting hard for you control the conversations about your company, your products or your services?
Give up control and drop the ego! Social Media is a totally different ballgame. The people in these social media communities talk about you whenever they want, however they want, and to whomever they want. The conversation goes on with or without you! – Liana Evans
See it as a two-way street. As a brand, if you try to only promote your product or services then it isn’t a place for you. Use it as a tool to communicate and relate.
Social Media can provide a conversational extension to a B2B company’s nurturing programs. Social Media gives us the opportunity to humanize our communications and make our companies more approachable. – Ardath Albee
To understand consumers’ perspective on this social media communication, JD Powers and Associates along with NetBase surveyed US consumers in December 2012.
And statistics shows that almost 50% of consumers want businesses to listen to them to improve their products while 60% of consumers want businesses to respond to their complaints.
Social media provides us the opportunity to think before we ‘speak’, giving us a better shot at reasoned dialog. So it’s not a huge surprise to me that not only can real communication happen, but real relationships can blossom. – Paul Biedermann
Many marketers launch their social media campaigns because others are doing this and so they need to. But when it comes to understand how they will make these channels work for them and how they will be managed. Most of them start this with no goal in mind and even worse, with no understanding of how social media marketing works.
Many believe that social media is a customer acquisition gateway and short-sided in defining realistic results. Unfortunately this boils down to loss of valuable time, losing customers, losing market share, and low profitability.
Stop chasing your tail in social. As Angie Schottmuller describes mapping a Social Media Strategic Plan by using a “Who > Why > What > How” model to build a cascading tree for “Scope > Mission > Goals > Tactics”.
Here are 6 easy to follow steps to start your Social Media Marketing strategy right away.
Step 1: Why Your Business Needs To Be on Social Media
Chalk out your business in a page to realize why you need to be on social media:
- What is the mission and history of your business
- What is the revenue model of your business
- What are your Products & Services
- Who will be your target audience
- How do you rate your current marketing efforts
Step 2: Set Your Social Media Goals
It is impossible to reach and attain a goal without defining exact metrics. Too many business owners let social metrics define their goals, such as “More Twitter Followers”, “More Fans on Facebook”, “More YouTube Views.”
But as marketers, we all know that it is engagement that matters. But, what sort of engagement can be taken into account? Positive engagement? Number of comments on a controversial piece of content?
You need to take a step back to define specific, actionable, and (most importantly) reasonable SMM goals. You can apply the SMART Methodology (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Timed) to social media objectives. As an example for a campaign you can set a goal “increase brand awareness by 10% in the next six months”.
Well here are some specific social media marketing goals you might want use:
- Increase brand awareness.
- Develop buzz and interest around a new product.
- Generate relevant and targeted traffic to your site.
- Increase website visitor loyalty coming from social media.
- Increase conversion rate from social media.
Step 3: Identify Your Target Audience
It is very important to figure out exactly who you want to reach in order to develop a solid SMM plan of action. Be as specific as possible. Consider industry, gender, age, purchase habits, income level, education level, etc. For each type of audience, break down and dig deeper with – age, income, location, and reasons for possibly buying your products/services.
Step 4: Develop Your Brand Voice
Social Media gives brands to develop their own voice & attract customers to their brand. It’s about building real relationship with you audience – more specifically what people can relate to. Start with creating & implementing your “Brand Voice” that goes with your specific target audience.
But how you can develop your own brand voice? As Courtney Seiter recommends to explore the three Cs – culture, community and conversation.
Step 5: Choose Your Social Tools Wisely
Choosing your social media tools is an essential piece of your online communications plan, so choose wisely. In order to choose your social media channels you can have a look at this amazing infographic created by guys at Creotivo. It really digs deeper to give you a detailed analysis of the leading social media sites:
Step 6: Plan & Execute Content & Delivery
Now the hardest part of your social media marketing plan is to find, create, and delivering engaging content. Social media execution may seem hard to deal with, but with a proper strategy it is doable and can drive real (marketing) results.
What you need to define:
- How frequently you will post across social media channels?
- Carefully choose the specific topics you want to cover for content creation
- Define your response rate to social engagement
- Tactics you will follow to increase user engagement
- Plan out contest/events to drive social engagements
- Define your social media success metrics (like number of followers/fans/likes/ retweets, amount of targeted traffic back to site, conversion rate from social media etc.)
To create and find content that your fans and followers will find engaging that aren’t about selling always. Try these tactics instead.
- Show off your employees
- You can embrace the memes
- You can talk about current events in your niche
What you need to do:
Set a 90-day Plan: Now to start your social media campaigns you might want to be across all social channels, but in order to remain consistent, you must start small. Let’s say you’ve decided to use Pinterest and SlideShare. Now set a 90-day plan to build your social media community on these channels and start engaging your target audience with consistent and compelling content. Also a traditional offline marketing push with help you get started.
Develop an Editorial Calendar: Okay so you’ve set your 90-day social media plan. Now it’s time to get specific on what you’ll do in that 90-day plan. Find a target-area for each month and determine what type of content you’ll post and frequency of your content.
Build a Maintenance Schedule: This is where we get to the nitty-gritty. Create a maintenance calendar of daily, weekly, monthly, and as-needed tasks. Consider things like monitoring the accounts and responding to the audience, continuing to build the audience, and writing the content for the day, week or month.
Assign Responsibilities: If you’re like many business owners, you might want to do it all by yourself. But it’s always a good practice to assign a specific person to each task – even if it is you. Also calculate how much time it’s required to complete each talk, so that you can schedule your time appropriately.
Evaluate: After the 90 days are over, review your progress.
- Have you met the goals you have planned?
- Did you reach your targeted audience?
- What worked for you and what didn’t?
- Do you need to shift your focus or continue with what you’ve done?
- Is there any other form of media you want to include in your plan?
Be honest with yourself while you are answering these questions and adjust your social media plan accordingly.
You can download this Social Media Marketing Strategy Workbook to give it a kick start.
SEE ALSO: How to Measure Social Media ROI
Additional Resources for Creating Your Social Media Strategy
- 10 Social Media Campaigns that Failed! Avoid their mistakes!
- 8 Tips for a Successful Social Media Cause Campaign
- 25 Characteristics of Highly Effective Social Media Campaigns
- 5 Fresh Ideas for Social Media Marketers
- 7 Tips for Creating a Social Media Plan for Your Business
- 6 Creative Social Media Campaigns to Learn From
Social media marketing can be a tool to create online brand awareness, customer engagement, and audience growth. This requires a focused, measurable plan and a commitment to deliver consistent and engaging content. In addition, it’s really crucial for you to have a clear understanding of why social can be useful for reaching your business goals.