Get social for tangible results
Are you overwhelmed by all the social media options? Do you struggle with the sheer volume of information being posted? You obviously need to plan for your social marketing engagement, but where do you start?
Fortunately, there’s a simple solution – only focus on where your customers are. Social media – the clue is in the name. It is social; it is the voice of the customer! Your brand or business can only act as a facilitator and memberof that community.
Where to start you social marketing strategy?
The first step is very easy. Simply ask your customers where they hang out – it may surprise you, it maybe that they do not use the social channels in this way.
I am always surprised at how many companies rush to engage with customers on Facebook. B2C companies – sure, but B2B business? It is a very consumer orientated channel, so I struggle to see the benefits. They could, of course, have asked their customers and found they were on Facebook, but being there and engaging are different things!
If you use a clippings or alert service, you will see postings about your business from all online sources, including the social channels. Monitoring this will help your reputation management, and the easiest way is to set up an Alert on Google (so called Google Alerts).
See where the majority of comments appear on social media channels, and then research further – this may be the best point to start. Reading the posts will also help you define the sort of content you want to place on there.
If you have researched the channels, or are working on a hunch, use the search functions in the social media platform and see what people have written about. Don’t forget mistyped, misspelled and unpunctuated versions of your brand name.
As a business, if you’re not engaging with your customers on their terms, you’re missing a huge opportunity to add value and grow your business. Therefore, focus your efforts on the few channels that align with your customers and business objectives and let your competitors think they need to be on every social media platform.
10 steps to developing your social marketing strategy
- Determine your goals and objectives
Determine who owns social media within your organisation is it Marketing, PR, Communications or an integrated approach – social media should inspire a collaborative effort that breaks down internal silos. What’s important is to understand your social media goals and objectives and how they tie into your overall company goals, so be SMART.
Social impacts all corners of the company, so the first step in the process is to create a cross-functional team to help conceive and operate the rest of the strategy.
- Research, research, and research some more
The reality is that your customers (and competitors) will show you where and how you should be active in social media, if you broaden your social listening beyond your brand name.
Develop a list of social media sites where you see a fit for your organisation, and where you’re most likely to find and engage with your customers and stakeholders.
- Identify the key influencers, where they are and what they are saying
Subscribe to blogs in your industry and make a list of influencers who are relevant to your business. When you approach social media honestly and respectfully, relationships will build naturally. Begin making connections by following and engaging in conversations.
- Join the conversation to develop relationships
Participate in conversations by posting comments on blogs and forums, answering questions on Yahoo! and LinkedIn, joining groups related to your industry and taking part in Twitter chats. Develop relationships by following and “friending” influencers, advocates and others in your stakeholder group.
- Strengthen those relationships
It is important to remember that face-to-face networking and relationship building is incredibly powerful. Attend offline events related to your industry – not only to strengthen your knowledge base, but also to network and forge relationships with those you have connected with via social media but never met in person.
- How will you be human?
There are many factors that compete for the attention of your customers – including important links like friends and family members. Therefore, your company has to act like a trustworthy person, not a faceless money-making organisation.
How will your business appeal to the heart of your audience, rather than its head? On social media, you create a buzz and let others talk about it; but creating too much of a buzz will just lead to noise.
- Create a channel plan
When you know why you’re participating in social media, and how you’ll measure social marketing strategy success, should you turn your attention to how you plan to use the channel – each channel needs a plan, because each one operates differently.
- Measure results
How are you going to determine whether this is actually making a difference in your business? What key measures will you use to evaluate social marketing strategy effectiveness? How will you drive likes and engagement? Will you measure ROI?
- Analyse, adapt and improve
Your social marketing strategy doesn’t end with measurement. You need to analyse your social marketing campaigns, adapt any new findings into your current processes, and improve your efforts. Testing and experimentation can dramatically improve your social media efforts.
What are you waiting for? If you want your social marketing strategy to stand out and deliver tangible results, contact Jack Marketing Solutions™ today.
Glossary: A/B Testing, AddThis, Alert, Analytics, Audience, ARS, Audience Targeting, Behavioural Data, Brand, Brand Essence, Brand Personality, Campaign, Customer Database, CRM, Database Marketing, Del.icio.us, Digg, Digital Footprint, Digital Marketing, E-mail Alert Service, Facebook, Facebook Engagement, Flickr, Forum or Newsgroups, Google Alerts, Hashtag, Hootsuite, Instagram, Keyphrase, Keywords, Klout, Link, LinkedIn, MKIS, Message Boards, Metrics, Mindshare, Mixi, Netnography, News Feed, Newsgroup, Orkut, PII, Photosharing, Pinterest, PTAT, Reddit, Relationship Marketing, ROMI, ROI, ROAS, SlideShare, Social Bookmarking, Social Footprint, Social Graph, Social Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Data, SMO, SMR, SMRI, Social Networking, Social Search, Social TV, StumbleUpon, Technorati, Tweet, Twitter, Twitter Marketing, Viral Marketing, Virtual Community, Wall, Wikipedia, Word of Mouse, Word of Mouth, X, YouTube