As we wrap up 2013, what better time to start thinking about your next move in terms of marketing for your business. You know the saying, “a goal without a plan is just a wish.” Oh how true it is, wishes don’t increase sales & build awareness for your brand. Strategic planning is the golden ticket for success in any social media marketing. Here are some tips to help your business go social in 2014!
a goal without a plan is just a wish.
Identify your target audience. Marketing without focus literally equates to trying to find a needle in a haystack…. pointless. Social Marketing allows us to engage a specific group of people and connect with them on a consistent/human level. Building relationships is the key to business growth from my perspective. The social platforms used are simply the tool. As a rule of thumb, you must pinpoint who your target audience will be as the first step in your plan.
Do your research. The next step after identifying your ideal customer is choosing which platforms you will decide to market on. Easy right? Well, this can be a bit trickier than you may think. Each platform is unique and designed for specific intent. Here is a quote from the awesome Kim Garst of Boom Social; “Twitter is like a bar, Facebook is your living room, LinkedIn is the local Chamber of Commerce.” Love that! So true though; you must research each platform & decide which ones will benefit & work best for your business. Once armed with this data, the fun really begins! To help you get started, some essential platforms I recommend you start looking into would be: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, Instagram, You Tube & Pinterest. These networking sites continue to gain steam & momentum among followers.
Who will manage my social accounts? Small businesses may want to delegate this task to an employee or perhaps the existing marketing manager. Those with larger budgets may want to consider contracting a social-media marketing agency to manage the day-to-day engagement of all social accounts. You must have a consistent presence with any social marketing or your efforts will be for not. Areas to consider will be: daily post management, blog articles, customer responses & reputation management, just to name a few.
Identify content timeframes. Businesses should create a posting guide that will assist with best practices when posting content to social platforms. For instance, it is recommended that status updates, tweets & retweets should occur daily on sites such as Facebook, Twitter & Google +, whereas blogging and LinkedIn suggest that once a week is sufficient. Each market & business is different when it comes to this topic. When consulting with my clients, I always recommend diving in with what you are comfortable with & take it from there. Spending 15 minutes each morning devoted to your online marketing is a great place to start.
Give your audience value. Social marketing is about adding value to your audience and building a connection/trust. The hard sell is out! You don’t want to do it & your customers don’t want to hear it. Plan out your content & marketing promotions accordingly. Your campaigns should encompass a mix of: sell, community involvement, hot topic (use caution, stay neutral), tips, sell, humor, shared article, community, sell…. see the trend; keep it fresh, inviting & true to your brand.
You must track data. Make sure to allow analytic software in your marketing budget. Most social-media marketing agencies provide this in their rate. Analytic data tracks things such as demographic breakdown, click views, post reach, traffic times, etc. Valuable, valuable stuff! Great software companies that I recommend would be Sprout Social, http://www.sproutsocial.com & Hootsuite, http://www.hootsuite.com
Now you’re ready to go social for business! One thing you can be certain of is our social landscape is constantly changing. Your business must learn to adapt or fall out of focus. Make sure to adjust your plan when necessary. Cheers to a great 2014!