Many marketers launch their social media programs because they feel they need to—and then they scramble to understand both how they will make the programs work and how to manage them. Most of them do this with no goal in mind and worse, no understanding of how social media marketing works. Many believe that social is the answer to customer acquisition and are short-sighted in defining realistic results. Unfortunately, this all results in lost time, lost customers, lost market share, and lost profitability.
Instead of chasing your tail in social, start your SMM planning right by following these 5 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 and services
- Details of your target audience
- Review of your current marketing efforts
SMM Component #2: Defining Your Specific Social Media Goals
It is impossible to reach and attain a goal without defining exact specifics. In social, I see too many business owners let social metrics define their goals, such as “More Twitter Followers,” “More Likes on Facebook,” and “More YouTube Views.” As marketers, we all know that it is really engagement that counts—but what kind of engagement are we talking about? Positive engagement? Volume of commenting on a controversial piece of content? You need to go a step beyond to really define specific, actionable, and most importantly, reasonable SMM goals.
Here are some specific SMM goals you might use once you have completed 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 Component #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 and services.
SMM Component #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 (Stats from Infographics Spring 2012):
Over 1 billion users. Majority between 18 to 25. 60 percent female. Best opportunity for community building with customers.
Over 555 million users. Majority between 26 to 34. 57 percent female. Best tool for interacting in real-time.
Over 170 million users. Majority between 26 to 34. 63 percent male. Platform for driving visibility around a brand.
Over 150 million users. Majority between 26 to 34, directly followed by 35 to 44. The #1 B2B social networking tool.
Over 12 million users. 68% female. Majority between 26 to 44. A viral platform for sharing stories via pictures.
SMM Component #5: Plan and Execute Content and Delivery
Now for 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 and 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 likes, volume of traffic back to your 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 is crucial for you to have a clear understanding of why social can be useful for reaching your business goals.
Jasmine Sandler is the founder and CEO of Agent-cy Online Marketing, a NYC-based full service online marketing consultancy and agency which has been helping small businesses use the web more effectively to drive business since 2006. Jasmine is a go to web consultant for business owners as well as industry speaker, teacher, and contributing writer. She can be contacted through her blog, company site, Facebook business profile, or via Linkedin, where she is a corporate trainer.