Social media has come a long way from “who needs social media for business promotions?” to “how can we boost our sales with social media?” Social media certainly makes an attractive platform for marketing businesses of every size and scope, provided you have a well-documented strategy in place. If you are creating a social media marketing plan from scratch, here are 7 tips to help you create a compelling SMM strategy that works in tandem with your marketing plan:
Step 1: Chalk out a plan of action
Goal setting is the first step of any successful marketing campaign. Your plan of action should summarize your objectives while ensuring that they are aligned with your broader business goals. Whether you want to create awareness about your brand or promote your company culture, your goal setting should be specific, scalable, and time-bound. Here are four primary goals that you may want to consider:
- If you want to drive more traffic, your goal should be targeting new visitors from social networking platforms where you plan to run your marketing campaign.
- If you are looking for fans and followers, you should be targeting more subscribers on social channels.
- If you want to connect and communicate with existing and potential clients, you should be focusing on tweets, brand mentions, likes, comments, and shares.
- If you want to boost your sales using social media, your goal should be lead generation.
You need to draft mission statements for every social media platform you intend to use while paying attention to frequency and timing. This will help you gauge the success of your efforts and revamp your strategy when your campaign is not delivering results.
Step 2: Know the needs and interests of your customers
The success of any marketing campaign relies on how well you “know your customer”. It is important to understand what drives your customer. Know their needs, desires and pain points if you wish to influence their purchase decisions. Even the best marketing plan can fall flat if it does not reach out to the right audience with the right intent. Find specific answers to the following questions if you want to come up with a perfect buyer persona:
- Age Group
- Job Title
- Pain Points
- Preferred Social Platforms
Step 3: Identify Key Networks
Not every social network will add value to your marketing campaign even if it has a billion users. Instead of being all over the place trying to bombard the masses with your marketing messages, you need to focus on networks that are favored and frequented by your target audience. Every network has a unique strength which can be leveraged to improve your search traffic. Here are a few social networks that you can capitalize on to boost your bottom line:
Twitter: With more than 500 million tweets being posted every day, twitter makes an ideal marketing solution to start a conversation. Use it as a customer service channel or for business development, twitter can turn your interactions into interested customers.
LinkedIn: This is a vast network of professionals with a “relationship building” mindset. LinkedIn gives you easy access to your future clients if you are a B2B social marketer.
Facebook: Facebook features more than a billion active users and your target audience is most likely to find a place on facebook. It is a perfect platform to post your content and increase brand awareness.
Google+: An incredible platform for companies with a credible online presence. When you are on Google+ and somebody searches for you, they find a snippet of your company profile. Google+ makes you “easy to find” for your potential and existing customers.
Step 4: Connect with Influencers
Engaging with influencers makes it easy to generate a buzz in the market. Industry experts have many followers who could be turned into your customers. Identify influencers who are trusted for their opinions and recommendations and have them share your message. Connecting with an influencer will earn credibility for your brand and help you make new connections. Becoming a part of an influencer’s wide network will make it easy for you to find new customers and retain existing ones.
Step 5: Create Conversational Content
Give your boring business write-ups a personalized tone when promoting your brand on social media. Use relevant hashtags to extend your reach and be quick in responding to comments, brand mentions, tweets, and likes. Create content that can get people talking and engage them through promotional offers. Be consistent with your daily updates and add content pieces that target specific pain points of your audience. You can create high-quality images, videos, eBooks, and blog posts to reach out to your target audience on different platforms. Your work can be easily organized with an editorial calendar that outlines the type of content you wish to create, how often you want to post it, and the channels where you wish to promote your content.
Step 6: Get Acquainted with Google Analytics
Google’s new trackbacks give invaluable insights into social media and how your target audience is responding to your content. While the Data Hub Activity reports reveal how your audience is engaging with your website, the trackbacks show the social media sites that are linked to your content. These reports help in identifying channels that are delivering results so that you can improvise your strategy accordingly and do away with those that aren’t adding value.
Step 7: Track, Analyze, Improvise, Repeat
Every step should be evaluated even as you proceed to the next one. Social media marketing is an ongoing activity that is meant to evolve and adapt even as you attain your goals. It is important to be focused with your goals but flexible and innovative with your approach. No successful business plan was ever set in stone, so be prepared to optimize at every step. Double down on what works for you and drop out what doesn’t. Be driven by the data but open to change because there is a lot that can keep your customers interested and coming back for more.
Jason Walberg is responsible for coordinating and implementing SEO & SMO strategies for clients. He is goal oriented, possess exceptional attention to detail, and has outstanding interpersonal skills. He received his Master’s in Education Technology from Pepperdine University after getting his undergraduate degree from Saint Mary’s College in Moraga.