Social Media Marketing Strategy
The internet has changed not only the way we live our lives but also the way we run our business. One of the most efficient ways to promote brand awareness these days is through social media marketing. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are attracting millions of unique visitors each day. If you can just get a fair slice of that massive online traffic, you could be assured of increased sales and revenue in no time.
However, you need to understand that doing social media marketing requires in-depth knowledge and the application of effective strategies. You just don’t go to these sites, brag about your products and services and hope that you can wing it. You need to figure out the best way to reach out to your target market and make your marketing strategies more targeted and more attention-grabbing. Without a strategy, you’ll undoubtedly be sucked into a social media time sink.
A strategy refers to the larger plan you have mapped out for your business. A good strategic plan is derived from the larger goals you have for your company. In other words, it’s the overall plan you devise to bring the big goals you have for your business into being.
A well planned and executed social media marketing (SMM) strategy is a strategy that helps you build a network of customers and potential customers, share the voice of your organization, get real-time feedback for your products and services, create an instant buzz for your new product offerings, build customer loyalty, and reach an informed target audience. The great thing about a well carried out social media marketing strategy is that it requires very little financial investment from your side.
Strategic business thinking requires that you be willing to take a step back, and view your business from a distance. In this thinking mode, you are not so wrapped up in the real details of how you are going to carry out your strategy.
The most important thing to remember as you develop your social media marketing strategy is to put your products and services to the side for just a little while and focus your complete attention on the buyers of your products and services. Devoting attention to buyers and away from products is difficult for many people, but it always pays off in the form of bringing you closer to achieving your goals.
Companies who start with implementation are at risk. In a frantic hurry to catch up with customers, companies often jump into social media without having a plan, which is a classic “leap before you look” approach. Soon, they find they are unable to scale, and are not ready for a long-term engagement with customers even around negative conversations. While companies feel compelled to join the conversation now and respond to customers, they should not throw out business planning. To avoid this predicament companies should step back and approach social business like any other business program: with a plan.
How to develop a social media marketing strategy?
Here are some key points to consider…
Determine Your Goals and Objectives
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Having some idea of what measurable goals and business outcomes you’re after is essential for planning resources and forecasting outcomes. This is true with any kind of marketing and is certainly the case with social media.
Align marketing goals with those of the organization. Get with the leaders of your organization and determine your business goals. Whether it’s “Better engage with our customers” to “Filling the top of the sales funnel”, an understanding of audience preferences and behaviors will lead to the right tactical mix.
When you really know how your buyers think and what matters to them, you eliminate the agony of guessing about what to say or where and how to communicate with them.
Not all social media will fit in for all business. Depending upon the nature of the business, we should pick and choose. Research which platform will give you best results.
Join the Conversation to Develop Relationships
Now it’s time to start making use of all the research you’ve done. You can start joining the conversation by posting comments on blogs and forums, answering questions on Quora and LinkedIn, joining groups related to your industry and joining Twitter chats.
Begin developing relationships by following and befriending influencers in your industry. Don’t just look for people with thousands of followers; you’ll be surprised by the value that someone with only a couple of hundred followers provides.
Attend offline events related to your industry—not only to strengthen your knowledge base but also to network and strengthen relationships with those you might have conversed with via social media but never met in person.
Having goals and objectives means you should be able to measure your success. Remember, what you measure will tie into the goals and objectives of your social media strategy.
Measuring social media is a never-ending debate. What metrics do you use to measure social media? What objective are you measuring those metrics for?
Analyze, Adapt, and Improve
You need to analyze your social media campaigns, adapt any new findings into your current processes, and improve your efforts.
Testing and experimentation will perfect your social media efforts.
As you dive deeper into the never-ending pool of social media, you’ll quickly understand what works and what doesn’t. More specifically, you’ll develop favorite tools to use, realize that there are certain days and times where it doesn’t pay to be active in social media, and come to the conclusion that you still have lots to learn.
Social media strategies will vary for each business and for each industry. However, one thing is clear: social media needs to have “all hands on deck” in order to be successfully integrated into your company’s goals and objectives.
Outline your social media strategy and support your strategy with tactics. Without a carefully thought-out plan, you’ll eventually be overwhelmed with social media and even worse, get burnt out by it.
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