Many marketers launch their social media programs because they feel they need to and then scramble to understand both how they will make these work and how they will be managed. Most of them do this with no goal in mind and worse, no understanding of how social media marketing (SMM) works.
Many believe that social is the answer to customer acquisition and are short-sided in defining realistic results. Unfortunately this all results in lost time, lost customers, lost market share, and lost profitability.
Stop chasing your tail in social. Start your SMM planning right by following these five easy steps.
SMM Step 1: Create Your Executive Overview Business Plan
Spell out your business in a one-pager to realize why you need social:
- Your Business Mission and History
- Your Business or Revenue Model
- Descriptions of your Products & Services
- Details of Your Target Audience
- Review of Your Current Marketing Efforts
SMM Step 2: Define Your Specific Social Media Goals
It is impossible to reach and attain a goal without defining exact specifics. Too many business owners let social metrics define their goals, such as “More Twitter Followers”, “More Fans on Facebook”, “More YouTube Views.”
As marketers, we all know that it is really about engagement that counts. But, what engagement are we talking about? Positive engagement? Volume of commenting on a controversial piece of content?
You need to go a step beyond to define specific, actionable, and (most importantly) reasonable SMM goals. Here are some specific SMM goals you might use after completing your business review:
- Validate a new product or service using social as a research platform.
- Develop buzz and interest around a new product.
- Engage users in social to generate relevant and targeted traffic to your site.
- Gain market share by leading customer/client service through social.
- Generate registrations to branded events through social.
SMM Step 3: Find Your SMM Voice
One of the keys to ensuring your success in social is to create and implement a voice that resonates with your specific target audience. For each audience type, break down and research age, income, location, and reasons for possibly buying your products/services.
SMM Step 4: Choosing Your Social Tools Appropriately
Choosing your social tools appropriately is an essential piece of your online communications plan, so choose wisely. Let’s do a short review of the leading social sites to assist you in your selection:
- Facebook:More than 955 million users. Majority between 18-25; 60 percent female. Best opportunity for community building with customers.
- Twitter:More than 555 million users. Majority between 26-34; 57 percent female. Best tool for interacting in real-time.
- Google Plus+:More than 170 million users. Majority between 26-34; 63 percent male. Platform for driving visibility around a brand.
- LinkedIn:More than 150 million users. Majority between 26-34, directly followed by 35-44. The number one B2B social networking tool.
- Pinterest: More than 12 Million Users. Majority between 26-44; 68 percent female. A viral platform for sharing stories via pictures.
SMM Step 5: Plan & Execute Content & Delivery
Now to the hard part – finding, creating, and delivering engaging social media content. Social media execution can be daunting, but with a proper plan it is doable and can drive real (marketing) results.
What you need to define:
- Your frequency of content delivery & response to social engagement.
- Your types and specific topics for content creation.
- Ways to increase audience engagement.
- Events that can drive social.
- Your social success metrics (number of followers, number of fans, volume of traffic back to site, number of retweets, etc.).
Social media marketing can be an excellent vehicle for developing online brand awareness, customer engagement, and audience growth. This requires a solid, measurable plan and a commitment to developing consistent and valuable content. In addition, it’s crucial for you to have a clear understanding of why social can be useful for reaching your business goals.
Social Media Plan image on home page via Shutterstock.
Editor’s note: This column was originally published on Sept. 6, 2012, and was the sixth most popular column of the year on ClickZ in 2012. Over the final two weeks of 2012, we’ve celebrated the Best of 2012 by revisiting our most popular columns, as determined by our readers. We hope you have enjoyed this look back!
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