Will you reach your marketing objectives? – Seriously
Social media marketing is something that has virtually shattered the way that companies have been doing their marketing over the last few years, but don’t just do it because you want to be seen to be keeping up with social media trends. More and more brands are realizing its true potential to reach out to their target audience and make a lasting impact on them. Yes, it’s one of the biggest opportunities that the Internet has to offer, but if an inappropriate social media strategy is designed, companies won’t milk it out for all it has to offer and it can even bring adverse effects. So whether you’re a social media consultant for a company or a business owner, this will serve as a guide to help you formulate your social media strategy.
What is a social media strategy?
In layman’s terms, it is an approach on how you can harness the power of social media networking to help your company attain its marketing objectives. See my piece Aligning Social Media with your Marketing Mix and Objectves. These objectives will definitely vary from one organization to another. Some might want to increase their brand awareness or customer loyalty. Others might want to generate more leads. Having a well-defined social media strategy will show your company the right steps to take in order to reach its objectives.
1. Audit your current social efforts.
Most likely, you already have an online presence as part of your marketing mix. Begin with an audit of how your social media networking accounts are performing. For instance, track your number of followers, traffic, and engagement. Be on the lookout for social media channels that are not working as well as they should.
Next, analyze the conversion rates per channel. It doesn’t automatically mean that a social media channel that drives the lowest traffic isn’t effective. Look closely at other metrics like conversions, repeat purchases, and how long visitors stay there on the average.
2. Study your audience - i.e. Know Your Persona
Understand the profile of your social media audience. Look at their gender, age, location, interests and activities. Next, analyze their buying behavior and what factors influence their purchases. Next, identify what social media networking platforms your target audience is present in. Check what they do in those websites. Do they create content, share interesting link, or simply lurk? See if all of these tie in with your brand’s positioning strategy.
3. Define what goals you want to achieve with your social media strategy.
Use the SMART framework when laying out your goals. They must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.
For example, to “increase engagement” is not measurable. Instead, aim for “a 20% increase in website traffic.” It’s also important to set attainable goals. A 5% increase in sales monthly is reachable, a 50% increase every month is most likely impossible to achieve.
The type of social media platforms to utilize will also depend on your goals. For instance, if you want to drive traffic through informative blogs, go for Google+ or Twitter. If you want to encourage sharing of content like photos and videos, consider YouTube and Instagram.
4. Specify your company’s voice and purpose.
Most likely, you’ll have several social media strategists handling your different social media networking accounts. But while you have a number of accounts, the way that you transmit your marketing message to your audience must remain consistent across all of them. Should it be serious or fun? Should the way you talk to your customers formal or casual? Come up with guidelines in order to keep communications uniform all throughout your engagement with your customers.
5. Choose your success metrics.
You should know how you can measure whether your campaign was successful or not. Consult with your digital marketing agency what key measures you can utilize in order to evaluate the effectiveness of your strategies.
6. Plan how you will utilize your resources.
Assign who will handle a particular social media account. For startups or smaller businesses, this assignment often goes to the owner. Also, set guidelines on what they will post and how often, and other parameters that your employees will follow such as what voice they will use when communicating or the approval process when it comes to publishing of posts.
7. Create an appropriate strategy for content marketing.
The success of a social media marketing campaign is highly dependent on content. You have to make sure that you create unique, non-duplicate content for the right audience and blast it out at the right time. This is what you call content mapping. This is very important because many businesses create their social media accounts with no focus, no goals, and eventually no progress. This is another area where your online marketing company can help you with.
A good tip is to identify up to five topics that you want your company to be identified with for search engine optimization. From here, you can identify relevant keywords based on your chosen topics. Also, don’t just focus your social media efforts on text, such as on blogging and other mass marketing efforts like email blasts. Take advantage of other content formats like photos and videos, which you can take advantage of on sites like Pinterest and Instagram. Remember that people take in different content formats in different ways. So ensure that offer a wide variety of formats.
8. Don’t forget to measure the result of your social media marketing campaigns.
Based on the goals that you set earlier, measure the success being generated per social media account. For instance, track the number of your Twitter followers. Or look at the number of shares of your Facebook fanpage post. Look at other conversion metrics like email signups, number of downloads of your digital brochure, number of sales transactions, and sales volume.
Ask your web design company to help you on analytics. They will guide you in identifying the weak points and the strong points of your social media marketing campaign.
The bottom line is that your business will benefit immensely from social media as long as it’s aligned to your marketing objectives. Plan ahead and ensure that the time your company spends on social media will yield measurable results.
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