How To Create A Simple Social Media Marketing Strategy

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March 27, 2012
Nathan Yerian Nathan Yerian

social media marketing strategyMany brands jump into social media with nothing more than enthusiasm and a vague feeling that they need to be part of the craze known as social media. So, they get a page on Facebook, open a Twitter account, or get set up on LinkedIn and then fall flat.

The most imaginative thing they can think of to post is something along the lines of: "we have a great product, please try it." Then they wonder why they have a dismal following, a lack of engagement and basically nothing to show for their investment in social media marketing.

All good marketing starts with a strategy, so before jumping on the social media band wagon, you need to create a plan. Make sure that your social media plan includes the right platforms, engages your target market, encourages people to take action and analyzes and tracks key metrics so you can improve over time.

1. Select The Right Social Media Platform(s)

Deciding where to spend your time in social media is an important decision. Which platform, or platforms are going to be the most productive? The answer depends on your target market. Where is your target market most likely to be? Where are they most likely to engage with your brand?

A B2C business like a coffee shop, or hair salon may get the most traction from Facebook, whereas a B2B business like a business consultant, or commercial lender may generate more interest on LinkedIn. There is no one right answer to begin with. Start with as many platforms as you can actively manage. You can always refocus your energy when you see what is working best.

2. Create Engaging Conversations

Brands need to understand that social media is a dialog. Your use of social media needs to be focused around the interests of your target market. Topics that are most important to your prospective customers must be the primary content shared and discussed in these spaces. Be sure to take the time and truly understand who you are wanting to attract and what interests them. If you don't know what interests them, ask. Remember that this is a conversation.

Become a beacon of relevant information. You will want to share your own value based content within social media, but don't hesitate to share other's content as well. Use an RSS reader such as Google Reader to preview and select the best articles and topics circling the web to share with your audience.

3. Encourage Action

Ultimately your motivation for social media participation is probably linked to a business goal (ie. more sales leads). How will you encourage action toward your goal in a value based manor?

Create social media posts that lead to a value based components on your website with clear calls to action. The person that engages with your social media post and follows it back to your website may be a qualified prospect.

Value based blog posts with calls to action, landing pages with informative whitepapers, and even case studies that demonstrate how you assisted a customer can present a prospect with the necessary information and tools to take the next step with your company and place themselves in your sales funnel.

4. Understand Results

The ability to analyze, and understand the myriad of data provided by social media can boost the ROI potential of your social media presence. With the right analytics solution in place, you can determine not only which social media channel is contributing the most leads, but also which is producing the most sales.

This data allows for continual improvement to the content and quality of the information you post, and the platforms you post them in. 

Let's say that you initially started with Twitter, and LinkedIn and have noticed a certain topic area that generates the most activity, you now know to focus more around that topic. Additionally, let's say that Twtter has delivered the more leads overall, but LinkedIn's leads have delivered more closed sales. You should probably shift more of your social media time toward LinkedIn. Active monitoring and adjustment will allow you to continually improve your results and realize an ROI.

Developing an initial social media strategy can be a daunting task.  There are just too many options. When you create a meaningful, and flexible plan, the path become a little clearer. Most important of all, don't bite off more than you can chew. Remember, you can always expand your activities when you realize where your sweet spot is.


Learn how to incorporate social media into your full marketing plan:

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