A good social media strategy is the blueprint for gaining maximum marketing benefit with social media networking sites. Today and on into the future any brand, product or service will be left in the dust if it can’t or won’t take advantage and utilize social media in it’s marketing strategy.
Listed below are 5 steps every brand and/or business should understand and practice when developing a social media strategy..
1. Traditional Marketing versus Social Media Marketing
The traditional marketing strategy focused mainly on print media, which is still practiced but is not as effective in today’s marketing environment. On the other hand, social networking sites have gained tremendous popularity among the masses and provide huge opportunities for getting new customers. Hence, developing a social media strategy that goes along with traditional marketing can only serve to enhance your chances of success.
Having a presence on social networking sites will yield better results than say email marketing. With the traditional email marketing strategy the client is usually bombarded daily with promotional emails, which over the short term result in unsubscribes and complaints. On the contrary, content posted on social media sites is fresh, crisp and interesting, which in turn makes attracting more leads and customers easier.
And using social media for your business will humanize your brand. It helps establish personal relationships with your customers and helps boost loyalty. People identify with brands. Ultimately it fosters trust in you and trust in your products and services.
2. Research, Identify, Interesting, Consistent, Exciting
It’s not difficult preparing a social media strategy plan for your business but no one said it was easy either. You are going to have to spend some time on the Internet, researching social media content that will help your business develop a winning social media strategy.
Do Some Preliminary Research Before Developing a Social Media Strategy..
Start by visiting different forums and blogs in your market. Search for conversations talking about your products and services. Next, visit social media websites and search for more conversations that mention your brand, product or service. You can use tools to automate this process ~ more on that later. You want to read, absorb, and/or accumulate this content and jot down any differences, viewpoints and perspectives that people are talking about or writing about your business.
Identify Your Goals..
Now you know what, where and how many times people have talked about your company, products and services. Every positive or negative online interaction gives your company a direction for correction or advancement.
As with every business there are going to be negative comments, viewpoints, and perspectives. That is the nature of business but they uncover areas where improvement is needed. Positive feedback can also indicate which areas of your strategy are working or the next step your strategy should take.
When developing a social media strategy plan start with one social media site. This should be done based on your research. Create accounts, and/or profiles on each of these sites. Start with the site that has most conversation positives or negatives about your company where improvement are desired and/or resources are needed.
Keep Your Content Interesting..
Your customers are not interested in knowing how popular you are. People will read your stuff when you post a mix of engaging content about your products and services.
Look for news items, statistics, factoids or discoveries related to your brand, product or service that you can post so that potential and existing customers can engage with your content, like writing comments and sharing your posts within their networks.
Next, create posts that entice the reader to inquire or gain more information about your products and services. This is commonly referred to as the ‘Call to Action’.
Remember to talk about the benefits of using your product or services. Never talk about features. Let me say that again ~ talk about the benefits, not the features.
For instance, if your company manufactures room heaters then weather-related content that stresses the need for heaters that maintain good health would be interesting to your readers. Benefits, not features.
Be Regular and Consistent..
Social media is a dynamic platform. Every comment or blurb that’s posted on social media networks disappear after a few hours. So it goes without saying that posting content at regular intervals, whether daily or weekly will keep the search engine spiders and bots visiting your site and indexing the content for your potential customers to find. Remember that writing and posting regularly should always be a part of developing a social media strategy plan.
Create Excitement With Competitions and Contests..
Competitions and contests are exciting events that generate a lot of interest and curiosity in a relatively short period of time. They not only bring in new customers but also help reinforce relationships with the existing clients. Make contests exclusively for your followers so that when new visitors come to your site they are encouraged to join in the fun.
Explore Other Options..
Once you’ve developed a strong following on one social media site, think about expanding to another. As every site is different you may have to change your writing style but it’s well worth the effort.
3. Additional Steps in Your Social Media Strategy
Also consider the following when developing a social media strategy plan geared toward reaching your target audience:
- Identify the networking sites that are frequented by your existing customers and your target audience then create a page for each of these sites.
- Find the strategies that your competitors are using for expanding their customer base. Consider tracking and researching these strategies. Once you find a winner incorporate it into your media-marketing plan.
- Highlight how you can best serve your potential customers. Use a problem-solving approach for engaging them. Ask questions, use surveys.
- Be conversational with your online visitors. Respond immediately to comments, feedback and suggestions.
- Make sure your content includes the keywords and/or keyword phrases that relate to your brand, product or service so that your site is visible to the search engines, which in turn is visible to the online community.
4. Control and Evaluate Your Social Media Strategy
You can benefit optimally from social media marketing only when you focus your resources on the strategies that are truly working. And this can only be done by tracking your results and evaluating what works and doesn’t work.
It is only by evaluating your social media strategy process that you can correctly and accurately identify result-oriented and result driven techniques and strategies. Use them to your advantage. You can do this effectively and efficiently using tools.
5. Social Media Tools for Tracking, Measuring, and Analyzing
Tools help automate, track and monitor your social presence online. Without tools, there would be no roads, or houses to live in, or buildings to conduct business. Tools are a necessity that can help automate everyday tasks to save time. Remember the old saying, “Time is Money”?
Some tools to consider for tracking and measuring performance can be Google Analytics, My Top Tweet from Twitter, and Social Media Monitor by Wildfire. Tools you can use to track and monitor your campaigns can be HootSuite or TweetDeck. The point here is you need to include tools to effectively monitor, track, and evaluate your results while developing a social media strategy.
There are other tools, aka ‘Buzz’ monitoring tools you can use in your strategy. Some of these Buzz monitoring tools include sites like Google Alerts, and Radian6. They help monitor the ebb and flow of conversations that are taking place on blogs and social media sites in your market and will “alert” you based on the criterion you give them.
Monitoring tools like Google Trends, Twitter Trends, and Technorati can also help keep track of social media trends and conversations. Some of the these tools can even help when researching content for writing posts about your brand, product or service.
A good social media strategy is indispensable for maintaining the growth of your business. A well-defined plan is very important for getting maximum marketing benefit from social media sites. With an effective social media presence, attracting new customers becomes easier.
And by measuring the success of your social media strategy it can help decide what marketing steps your business should take next. Finally, using the proper set of tools for developing a social media strategy as well as measuring it’s effectiveness can save time, increase production and boost results.
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