Social media usage has skyrocketed over the past few years, and both small and large businesses have quickly recognized the power of marketing strategies targeted to social network members. As you develop your social media marketing plan you want to make sure it is effective and easy to implement – here are four things to keep in mind:
1. Know Your Audience
Before you even begin be very clear about who your audience is and be sure they are engaged in social media. Sounds obvious right? You would be surprised how many people jump on the social media bandwagon because they feel pressure to participate when in reality it is not the most effective channel to reach their target market.
By clearly defining your audience and confirming they are online you can also begin to narrow down your message to a very targeted group. It is better to effectively engage a small group of people than to have a huge following but no engagement. Looking at your buyer persona's will help you understand what social channels are applicable to your audience.
2. Set Goals and Expectations
Many business owners who launch social media marketing campaigns find themselves frustrated with lackluster results. Before you begin set some reasonable goals to help you keep track of your success. Want to build your Facebook Fan Base? Set a goal to attract 200 new fans in the next 6 months – to achieve this your plan will need to include ideas such as adding a link to your Facebook page on your website, in your newsletter, in your email.
Perhaps you will do paid advertising to attract fans or send an email to your clients with a specific request to Like your Facebook page. Want leads from your efforts? Well, then you need to have offers, drive people to your website, get engagement. By setting goals first, your plan can be tailored to your objectives. Set specific (and reasonable) expectations before your efforts begin, and you'll be more content with the final results.
One of the most challenging aspects of implementing a social media marketing plan is finding a way to quickly respond to the comments you receive from the posts you make. Be sure you have a plan for how you will monitor conversations and comments and that someone in your company owns this activity.
If you are the only person in your business or you feel you are the only person who can represent your company then your Social Marketing Plan should start with just one site. Be sure you can be responsive before adding lots of social media accounts. Remember – social media is called that because it is social. You cannot ignore people and expect results, you need to have a plan to engage them in a conversation. Of course, your original post must be engaging to even begin the conversation but more on that another time.
4. Identify Influencers (and Be Generous)
Who is reaching the market of people you want to reach? Is there a way to collaborate online and reach an even broader audience than you could on your own? Identify people in your space and plan on including them in your social media communications – interview them as subject matter experts, invite them to be a guest blogger, post a question from them on Facebook, quote them or retweet something they tweeted.
By being generous in sharing others' insights you will be adding value to your network of followers and may open up new networks if they share your insights or mention that they are on your blog, for example.
Susan LaPlante-Dube created PMG in 2002 and acts as one of PMG’s Principals. As a jack-of-all-trades in marketing, she loves digging deep on a topic and finding new ways to spin old ideas. While she would prefer having some high-tech voice software to record all of her blog thoughts instead of having to write them down, she loves the satisfaction of helping her readers learn something new.