How to Create Your Social Media Strategy

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Your Email To-Do List For 2012A Social Media Strategy is an essential component of a broader marketing plan for any business in today’s world. We accept that Social Media is a powerful medium to connect with prospects and customers but because Social Media is so new, we’re just not sure how to effectively market our business using Social Media.

If you were applying for a business loan the first thing your bank manager would ask is, Do you have a business plan?

If you’re venturing into Social Media for your business the first thing you need to ask yourself is, What’s my Social Media Strategy?

Having one or more Social Marketing Strategies in place before you enter the big wide world of Social Media will help you gain clarity and direction for your business.

Do you think the World’s top athletes begin a race without a strategy? No way, anyone serious about achieving results in any field knows they need to have one or more effective strategies in place PRIOR to beginning their venture, event etc.

While marketing principles remain the same, the manner in which those principles are applied within the Social space will vary depending on the platform you’re using to market your business.

The four most known Social sites are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. Each represents an opportunity for businesses to target prospects in a different way.

For example, are you a B2B business wanting to market your products or services to other business owners? Use LinkedIn.

Would you like to educate prospects and customers in a short, quick and easy to understand way, use YouTube.

Would you like to create a community of enthusiastic fans and engage with them in a personal way? Use Facebook.

We know that a strategy is simply a method or series of steps we must take to achieve a certain outcome. Creating a Social Strategy requires a detailed analysis of who you’d like to target and how you’re going to target them in the most effective way.

Some initial questions you might like to ask yourself to formulate your Social Media Strategy are:

  • Who is my target customer?
  • Who REALLY is my target customer?
  • What are their buying motivators?
  • What are the 6 primary thoughts or questions they would think prior to buying my product/service?
  • What is the best way to target my prospects?
  • What is my outcome? Do I want to: Receive more new business leads, Build closer relationships with customers, Receive more referrals from existing customers, Create a community of people passionate about my product/service/topic, Build my database…?
  • Who else has the same customers as me?
  • How will my marketing funnel look like?
  • How can I hold my prospect’s attention span?

And when creating your Social Marketing Campaign

  • What can I give them that no one else can?
  • Will they purchase instantly or will this campaign simply initiate the buying process?
  • How can I present my offer in a way they’re not accustomed to in order to deliver massive value to them?
  • If I were my customer, what would motivate me to take action to purchase?
  • When they read this (headline, copywriting), what will they think and/or how would they feel in response to this?
  • If this doesn’t work, what else could work?
  • Who most often buys from me, male or female? Are they single, married or in a relationship? How old are they?
  • Will they buy from me once, or will they purchase regularly?
  • What are the steps to take my customer through to purchase?
  • What marketing principles will work most effectively in this campaign? (Scarcity, Social Proof, Authority, Liking, Reciprocity)
  • What testimonials will be most effective for my target market? Will they respond better to written or video testimonials?

In developing your Social Media Strategy it’s essential that you answer these questions not immediately, but throughout the formulation of your Strategy.

If you miss your mark the first time, keep trying until you get the formula right. With every campaign you’ll come closer to cracking the code that is your customer’s mind.

If you can get inside their head, you’re on your way to a sale. The majority of your prospects will have the same questions, queries, concerns and turn offs. If you can figure out what these are you’ll create a compelling Social Media Strategy and you’ll enjoy amazing results that most others can only hope to attain with their Social Marketing.

Matt Adams is a Social Media Speaker, Social Media Trainer, Expert and Consultant.

Matt is the Co-Founder of SocialSelling.com.au, Australia’s #1 Social Media Marketing Training company.

Matt offers regular Social Media Marketing Courses, Workshops, Seminars and Webinars across Australia.

Do you need a dynamic Social Media Speaker for your next event or conference in Brisbane or another location? Visit SocialSelling.com.au to find out about Matt’s availability and to discuss your needs.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=MJ_Adams

Social Media is About Engagement

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Infographic on how Social Media are being used...

Image via Wikipedia

This is not the time to let customers or profíts slip through your fingers.

You need to make your business stronger, more successful, and ensure your customers are more loyal and responsive to your engagement with them.

Recently, Harry Dent, Jr. said that you should break from provincial geographic thinking and focus on demographics. You should go after customers, able and willing to spend on what you sell, wherever they are, not where you are.

As a result, many marketing, media, technology, and advertising experts use social media forums as a way to champion the use of social media. They suggest a company, especially a small business on main street with a modest marketing budget, become better known, extend their reach, and improve their company’s sales using social media.

 

Here is an example of a teaser message recently transmitted in an email campaign to small and medium sized businesses… the message says, “Social Media is the most explosively growing media of all-time and growing faster with each passing day with no slow-down in sight. It took radio 38 years to reach 50 million users. It took TV 13 years to reach 50 million users. Facebook added 100 million users in less than 9 months. And iPhone applications hit 1 BILLION in 9 months.”

 

Based on this message, it is easy for entrepreneurs to get seduced into thinking that by using Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, big sales are just around the corner.

However, social media should work in conjunction with traditional marketing and selling techniques such as relationship marketing within “old” social networks, cold calling, vertical marketing, and other effective prospecting activities.

Small business owners should take the time to learn how to maximize their use of social media but they should not rely on it to make their sales. Business owners need to learn how to use social media to engage their prospects and customers and how to get their prospects and customers talking about something that is important to them and the small business. This type of engagement is necessary and will ultimately get prospects and customers to take the action the business owner wants them to take… leading to a sale.

The best business use of social media, the small business owner needs to prepare a simple strategy with several guidelines to follow in the use of social media. The strategy and guidelines need to pinpoint the specific message to be communicated so that all employees using social media for the business know what direction their messages should take and how they should focus their posts. For example, is the company’s focus to improve customer service? Is it to enhance awareness of their products or services? Or, is it to boost their brand recognition? Each of these things would have a different yet consistent message for the employees of the business to follow.

For example, one insuránce company uses Twitter and Facebook to let people know about all the philanthropic things they are doing for the community. All the posts are about events they are sponsoring and contributions they’re making. Employees know that they should post information about personal things they’re doing for the community, such as volunteering at the local animal shelter or helping out with Habitat for Humanity. With a clear guideline that the social media effort is to elevate philanthropic awareness it is easy for employees to know the kinds of things they should be doing on social media sites. They have a clear focus and a unified purpose.

Another company in the retail industry uses social media to improve customer service. All their posts highlight things they are doing internally to improve the customer experience, what they are doing online to make shopping easier and how they are handling phone inquires to deliver a memorable shopping experience. They also regularly ask customers how they would like the company to improve customer service. With that as the key message, all of the company’s employees are focused on problem solving and on making the customers happy.

Therefore, a good social media strategy, with employee guidelines, is far more than a list of good and bad words or topics. Instead, the strategy with guidelines needs to focus on the core message the small business wants to portray along with the best ways to spread that core message.

The guidelines should cover the following topics.

Building Trust
The business employees should use their posts to build a reputation of trust among clients, media, and the public. When they are reaching out to others on social media sites, they should take every opportunity to build a reputation of trust and to establish themselves as a credible and transparent representative of the company.

Being Transparent
When participating in any online community, the small business employees should disclose their identities and affiliations with the organization, clients, and their professional and / or personal interest.

Being Direct
When creating posts and content, the business employees should be direct, informative, and brief.

Giving Due Credít
If the business employees post copyrighted materials, they should identify the original sources.

Self-Editing
The small business employees should always evaluate each posting’s accuracy and truthfulness. Before posting any online material, they need to ensure that the material is accurate, truthful, and without factual error. This includes doing a spell and grammar check on everything.

Responsibility
Make sure the business employees know that they are responsible for what they post. Negative or questionable posts should not be tolerated.

Being Professional
When posting comments, the business employees should refrain from writing about controversial or potentially inflammatory subjects, including politics, sex, religion, or any other non-business related subjects. The tone of their comments should be respectful and informative and not ever condescending or “loud.”

Privacy
The business employees shouldn’t ever disclose proprietary or confidential information. This includes product releases, service updates, and employee information not made public yet.

Obeying the Rules
All business employees should follow local, state, or federal laws and regulations. Ultimately, their online activities will be a reflection on the company.

Today’s social media tools are great for business building, provided that the small business owner and their employees know how to use them for the company’s ultimate benefit. Therefore, the small business owner needs to determine why their company is using social media sites and then let that purpose be known throughout the entire company. Additionally, they need to implement clear social media guidelines that small company employees can follow in order to further their company’s mission.

Ultimately, when small businesses know how they are supposed to use today’s social media tools, they can do so with focus and purpose, leading the small company confidently into the communication age.

I hope you enjoyed the article and I trust you found it insightful! Let me know what you think.

 

About The Author
Until the next time, I invite you to learn more about me and my various activities by checking me out at the links below.

Meet me here: www.facebook.com/mifarrell
Follow me here: www.twitter.com/mifarrell

When not traveling for business or pleasure, Mike operates his own internet marketing company and consulting firm from the mountains of Colorado.

 

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