By Monica Clarke
Creating a social media page and thinking that it will magically make things happen for you is just plain crazy. You create something called “Social Media” to be SOCIAL! The best way you can do this is to designate time spread throughout the day to monitor and interact with your audience. This does take a lot of time, so here are some hints for creating a plan that will support and grow your social media into what it is meant for.social media marketing strategy
- You should ask yourself what exactly you are trying to achieve by reaching out to your audience via social media. I advise you to make this point the main focus around which you map out your social media marketing plan, as this is what you will build everything else off of.
- You should also overlap your existing marketing plan with this mapping process. Making the decisions of how to use your social media and who to interact with will not work well unless you support the virtual activities with the physical activities.
- Who is your audience? This is an easy question to answer especially when you have your traditional marketing plan mapped out. But if you don’t, that is totally okay. Just ask yourself the following questions that are very elementary: Who, What, When, Where and Why. This method works so well when building a story that they teach it to second graders! So, why not use it to share your story? Say you offer a service. Who would be interested in using your service? What exactly does this service do to solve a problem in their lives? When will this service be needed the most? Where will people use this service the most (this can be looked at based on territorial needs or simple work vs. home)? And as to Why? This is the kicker, your creation of the need. Why would someone need your service? With the Why? your story will be best told via social media; the Why? is a content creator.
- DO NOT spread yourself too thin. If you do, your content will just look cheap and like a robot is set to constant sales mode. Social media is not meant for sales but to create a personality and build loyalty. It is there for you to attract the right people and spread the word, and then if it all works in your favor, your audience will start to spread the word for you. My advice would be to dedicate (depending on the demand for time) one person or a small team who can monitor and interact continuously. And note: interns are not always ideal for this. Your first instinct may be to assume that they are young and “hip to the technology.” But do they know your product or service inside and out? Have they captured what is at the heart of your mission statement? Are you ready for them to be at the forefront of your company’s virtual presence, which in today’s world is growing more and more influential each day? You may want to consider hiring an agency if you don’t want to hire a full-time employee for this new communications position. An agency will know all the ins and outs of the business, and a good agency will want to understand all of your goals and personality. Plus, it is often a cheaper option.
- Don’t forget that, like all marketing functions, to really understand the effect you are having on your audience you should constantly measure your impact. This can be done with complicated algorithms, or you can very easily take advantage of social media tools like those provided by Hootesuite, Klout, PeerIndex, and Crowdbooster. Remember, these numbers are there to give you insight, but you should never focus on building numbers only. You want to compare the effects and influence that your social media has on your audience to both your initial goals and the results of your traditional marketing methods. By measuring you will be able to tweak your content, frequencies, and interactions. When measuring social media it’s about the analysis, not just the numbers