It is imperative for your business to create a presence on social media if you wish to grow and reach and engage new and current customers. The benefits are simply too great to ignore. It is also important to note that you cannot launch a successful social media marketing plan without a strategy.
What exactly are the aspects of a successful social media strategy?
Know your objectives
You need a clear answer to the question, what’s your purpose for utilizing social media? By having a clear idea of what your purpose is you will be able to develop a strategic plan. For example, to provide your customers with excellent customer service and gather feedback about products and services.
Know your audience
Get to know who your audience is, learn their habits and where they spend their time. Once you have gained this knowledge, establish a presence there. You don’t have to be on every platform available. If your product or service is targeted at industry professionals, the best returns may be by focusing on platforms such as LinkedIn and Slideshare. If you’re in the travel industry it may be Instagram and Pinterest.
Measure your efforts
To truly be successful with social media, you must be able to define and measure your activities performed. Success in achieving your objectives depends upon wise decision-making based on quantitative and qualitative analytics. Are you getting enough shares and retweets? Do your contests, discount-related announcements and promotions create the expected buzz? Are you achieving the targeted ROI on your ad spend on social media? Again, set goals for each measurable and gather the info that’s going to shape how you evolve your campaigns. These need to be actionable metrics.
Keep yours ears open
The audience you engage with and your competitors that are on social media will tell you a lot about the direction you need to take. Learn from the information and signals that are produced from social media. You have to be knowledgeable and informed enough to predict scenarios and pre-empt situations.
Create a Unique Selling Proposition
If you wish to stand out in the crowd and get noticed, you need to be able to do it in a unique and memorable way. Give your audience a reason to check out your company. Offer solutions, be human and give reason for them to engage with you. It could be price, it could be a gap in your niche that you fill or it could be a special experience. Don’t be afraid to have fun with it.
Develop a content marketing plan
You communicate with your audience via content. Initial research coupled with an idea about the kind of message you wish to deliver will inform you on the nature of content you should employ. Data and experience will reveal more on what works best and for which situation. What type of content drives leads? Which posts generate the most likes, shares and retweets? What does your audience profile reveal about content preferences? Once you have the data and customer feedback, it’s imperative to tweak your editorial and publishing guidelines accordingly.
Know what not to share
Your social media strategy should be clear on the nature of information that can be shared with all, information that should come out only when the time is right, and details that are not to be shared. Poor adherence to this strategic aspect can easily give your competitors the advantage. News of a high profile appointment, an expansion, withdrawal of a product, financial information, and personal details of employees are examples to consider.
Remember, hope is not a strategy. Define your own success criteria and start working toward it. It doesn’t have to be perfect in the beginning. The worst thing you can do is nothing, so get out there and start experimenting. The returns could be remarkable!