It is common for businesses to get into social media, without deciding on a plan of action. Abraham Lincolnonce said, “If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I would spend the first four hours sharpening the axe!” This applies perfectly to the launch of your social media campaign. Take your time to get yoursocial media marketing strategy right.
Steps to build an effective social media plan for your business:
Know your Marketing Objectives
Before getting on to social media management and chasing huge traffic, be clear as to where you want to be at the end. While working with clients, it is important to establish a set of goals and then figure out what they intend to achieve with them. How do you want to expose your business? Do you want to generate awareness, sales or leads? What do you hope to learn or get out of using these social media? You can then evaluate these set goals and have a better understanding of what to monitor and measure. It will also help you gain insights as to how your customers affect social media networking and how they get affected by it.
Know your Target Audience
Knowing your audience is key to creating an effective social media plan. Who are you trying to target? What are they interested in? What gets them excited? And where are they online? These are the necessary questions you need to ask yourself in developing your strategy – you need to know how to attract potential clients!
Develop a Content Plan
If you know who your target audience are or will be, then you can create a content plan that is meaningful to them and you. What do they ‘really’ care about? How can you connect with them by talking about things they are interested in? What things, related to your product, are they really passionate about? Your content should be relevant to the psychographics of your audience. A social media marketing plan is mandatory to make impact online.
Determine what you need your audience to do
Based on your social media marketing objectives, you should be able to develop calls to action – action that you want someone to take that will ultimately lead to business value for you. This might be getting their email address, having them call you, a direct sale online, filling out a contact form, etc. Knowing your call to action or ultimate goal will help you drive value from your social media marketing.
Pick the best tools for the job. You should look for the social media marketing tools that will optimize your chance of objective success. For example, your audience may be on Facebook (just as most people are), but they may not be interested in ‘liking’ you, and it may be difficult to find them and connect to them based on the limitations of Facebook.
Execute & Experiment
Executing your strategy is not a walk in the park. It is important that you give yourself enough time and have the right resources so you can create the best possible delivery, specific to your business. Set up different tests to evaluate different executions. For example, tweet different things, pose your questions in different ways, try different days and times and see which tweets get the most traction and clicks. This way, you can determine the best way to reach your intended audience and what social media marketing plan get the most reception.
Measure, measure, measure and measure
During the experimentation stage, it is vital to test, experiment and measure your social media execution. This will help you decide if what you are doing is working. Measuring can include mentions in blogs, tags, tweets, news articles and other forms of exposure for your business. Be cautious in your measures though and be sure to assess the real problem. For example, if you are given a screwdriver and then asked to put a nail into a piece of wood, you probably cannot. It doesn’t mean that the screwdriver is broken, it just means that it isn’t the right tool for the task. It would be wrong to conclude that:
- The screwdriver doesn’t work
- The nail can’t be put into the wood.
Keep your options open when it comes to the different social media engines – setting up boundaries is contradicting the limitlessness of social media marketing!
Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to abandon a social media marketing strategy if it doesn’t work. One word of caution – beware of your measures. For example, you may have started using Twitter to build awareness, but find that it is actually really effective for customer service. If you only measure awareness you may miss the boat. So, while your measures might be specific, be sure to look at tools and success in a comprehensive way.
Social media marketing plan is a very important tool that can be used to improve the performance of your business. Before you market on it, devise a plan for it. Think of the content you want to post, trace out the possible areas where you can advertise, find out your target market, promote through pictures and videos, etc. Research first, with the information you gather prepare a plan accordingly. Social media is a huge market, so do not miss the opportunity to make the most of it.