Developing a Social Media Marketing Strategy
Developing a social media strategy that works for you can be challenging. Here’s how to plan your social media strategy effectively and implement it with minimal hiccups.
Social Media Marketing Strategy – Define Your Goals
Using social media marketing without having a clear plan is like setting out on a road trip without directions: you’re bound to get lost. Sure, you might wind up somewhere cool by happenstance, but what are the odds of that?
Where is it that you want to go? Once you figure that out, it’s easier to plan how you’ll get there. Social media for business means different things to different companies. Are you aiming to build a following, generate more traffic or both?
Set Clear Objectives
If you’re going to have an effective social media marketing strategy, you’ll need to have objectives that can be measured. If you can measure it, you can manage it. You may, for example, wish to increase your number of followers by a certain percentage at the end of each month. Great! You’ve just created a measurable objective.
However, your work isn’t done there. All the spreadsheets and time-trackers in the world won’t help if your goals aren’t attainable or if they don’t have a specific time frame. Attainable goals should be set high, but not out of the range of your company’s abilities. Having a time frame keeps you accountable and on track.
Find Your Audience
Social media marketing only works if you’re marketing to the right people who will want your product or service, so how do you find your target audience? Businesses using social media should be aware that not every social media platform will work for them, but it’s helpful to try each one to see where you should concentrate your efforts.
You might gain a larger following on Facebook than you would on Twitter, so you would then put more energy into Facebook posts and ads to wrangle more followers. Each social media platform has tools for target marketing to your ideal audience, making it easier to find them in the millions of other users.
Assess Your Competition
No one likes a copycat. Taking another company’s methods and making them your own is stealing, and you should avoid this at all costs. On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with learning from the best. Find out what’s working for them and put your own spin on it. Get creative and use it to your advantage.
You can take a peek at the competition’s social media profiles to see how they approach customer interaction, post structure and content creation, as well as a myriad of other elements. How often do they update? What kind of content do they use (video, pictures, text, animations, etc.)?
Send The Right Message
A carefully crafted message can go a long way for brand reputation. Every big brand has a message that they convey to their customers. There may be several variations of it or just a couple, but the main message is always clear. Your brand should be no different. The message you send needs to be memorable and meaningful to your customers.
Think about the message you most want to convey. Develop two to three messages from the core concept and then break each one down more from there. These messages should be geared toward your target audience. This creates a message hierarchy that will help you organise content later on.
Niall Devitt says “Conversations are already taking place about your products, brand, competitors etc. Using a combination of both social and traditional tools, discover, listen, learn, and engage directly with customers. Allow this intelligence and insight to dictate your engagement strategies.”
Develop A Social Media Marketing Content Plan
No social media marketing strategy is complete without a solid content plan. Posting random updates and inspirational pictures simply won’t do; you need creative content that will engage your audience and keep them coming back for more. Every bit of content should have your audience’s needs and wants in mind.
The best kind of content is the kind that provides true value. It’s not just about promotions and hot deals. Social media marketing is so much more than that. Try putting yourself in the shoes of the customer. What’s the best type of content to engage them? Does your content have enough variety, and does it jive with your brand message?
Optimise your content for each social media channel as well. Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook each have their own social media quirks, so pay special attention to how you’re formatting your content when it comes to each one.
Audience interaction doesn’t have to be strictly business. Although a professional presence is highly necessary, you don’t have to be a content-producing robot who never deigns to have a conversation with customers. Showing off the human side of your company through audience interaction and behind-the-scenes media is a great way to gain a loyal following that will stick with you.
Jean Moncrieff advises “Don’t ignore your existing fans. People already following you are your greatest supporters, take small steps to build engagement with them. Identify the type of content that’s getting them to like, comment and share. Then gradually grow your fan base keeping in mind building quality of fans over quantity of fans.”