SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
Anyone will admit that social media has changed the world in the past decade. It has gone on to affect our interactions and has impacted the way companies in every industry conduct business and connect with the masses. This is why managing your online brand is no longer an option – it’s a necessity. Businesses often get immersed in the belief that they do not know what to do or that they do not have the time or resources to implement a social media strategy effectively. Having a social media strategy tailored to your business that is reviewed and updated on a regular basis is vital for social media success.
WHAT IS A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
What is a social media marketing strategy? A social media marketing strategy is the summary of everything you plan to do and hope to achieve for your business using social networks. This strategy should first comprise an audit of where your accounts are today, goals for where you want them to be in the near future, and all the tools you want to use to get there.
After the audit, goals and objectives are set. The plan will include:
• Who you will target (Your Audience)
• What platforms you will use (Your Media)
• The messaging and top level methodology you will use (Your Message and voice)
The difference between this and a social media plan is that a strategy is the top level whereas a plan will include the tactics and processes used to implement the strategy. The strategy should be used as a qualifier for what tactics you use on individual platforms as all your social media efforts should be tailored to this strategy.
SOCIAL MEDIA AS PART OF YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY
Social media is typically just one aspect of the wider marketing strategy of a business. It should be integrated in and support your marketing efforts rather than being treated as a stand alone discipline. It is important to remember that social media does not replace traditional marketing practices. It should be a seamless, cohesive addition to your existing marketing plan. At DevLab, we realize you may not have developed a marketing plan. We encourage you to create one so that there are metrics by which you can measure your successes (or failures).
DEFINING YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
The key to any great marketing plan is knowing who you are targeting and being specific in your audience and your approach. To sculpt your social media strategy, you need to understand:
• The different audiences within your business
• The behaviors of each target audience (and which channels they prefer)
• The problem your business solves for each audience
Countless times I have stood in networking meetings or asked prospective clients up front who their target audience is and got the reply “everybody”. While your business may have a wide audience, the more you niche or identify different audiences the easier it will be to target them and reach them with a message that will resonate with them. There are many tools to help you segment your audiences.
HOW TO PLAN YOUR CAMPAIGN
Plans and automation are tactics, so we need to define how we will plan and how we will measure our campaigns. We recommend that our clients plan on a yearly, monthly and weekly basis. Of course yearly and even monthly may, and probably will change based on what works weekly. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs – a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives) should be clearly defined and easily in line with these goals. It is important to sit down with your team and create your goals, strategy and plan. If this isn’t done correctly the rest of your campaign will fail. Once you have a plan in place, we suggest creating the bulk of the content. Keep in mind content will change, new content created and some content trashed as your campaign gets in full gear and you see what works. Next, we launch the campaign. Don’t expect to see grand changes right away, and don’t give up. The first three months is big for measuring and refining your campaign. Watch the reactions and engage with your followers.
WHICH SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
There are a lot of different social media and sharing platforms out there. It’s impossible to use them all and honestly a waste of time. You may need to do some research and find out what platforms your audience uses. Always use Facebook. With 1.6 billion users, it’s a must. Be realistic about the amount of time your team can spend on social media and what content you can create. Start with two or three platforms and perfect them before you move on to the others. The big three, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the platforms we always start with.
The platforms you should use should be tailored to your audience, but here is a rough guide to where to target:
Facebook comprises of the largest blend of demographics of any social platform. From an advertising perspective, it’s the easiest to manage and allows for the best possible targeting, from hyper-local to worldwide.
Go viral! The more people that “retweet” your content, the more followers you will attain. Tweet everything all the time. The life span of a tweet is just 8 minutes so the more tweets the better the chances of getting noticed. Don’t forget meaningful hashtags.
This platform is particularly great if you have a product. Don’t go overboard though, one picture a day is enough. This is another platform for hashtags. HOW TO HASHTAG
Those are the big three but don’t forget about LinkedIn, google+, Pinterest and Youtube. All platforms have their advantages but don’t get overwhelmed, start with the big three and move on to the next when you’ve perfected those.
Hopefully this blog has given you an understanding of the different elements of developing your social media strategy. Our goal is to give you the information to understand how to best use social media as part of a larger marketing plan. We have worked with clients and their social media campaigns and have seen it work. Social media is the most cost effective advertising and marketing you can do to reach the highest number of potential clients. If you have any questions or feedback, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.