I meet with lot of companies and discuss their marketing with them. We are working to help our customers implement integrated marketing strategies that include social media if it makes sense. There is the key, if it makes sense, I often ask my customers that have a Facebook Page or Twitter Presence “Why?”. Why are you on Facebook, Twitter or any other social site for that matter. If you can’t answer that “Why” question you might be wasting your time.
Social Media is like any other marketing channel, you have to have goals, objectives and ways to measure and identify if it is succeeding or not. Social media and and probably should be part of your efforts, but not necessarily ALL Social Media channels. The following steps can help you make sure that you have a solid strategy for your social media.
Step 1: SET GOALS – “Those that fail to plan, plan to fail”. What is your objective with social media it could be to: (a) Acquire new prospects or services, (b) Sell more products and services, (c) Support post purchase sales, (d) connect with fans, (e) extend your brand, …or others, …the important thing is to have a strategy
Step 2: TARGET YOUR MARKET – You need to understand how and why members of your target market use social media. Are they using it to learn more about your product or service? Learning how to use your product better? What are there demographics, though processes, technology level and behaviors (If your target prospect is 60+ you might connect on Face-book, but probably not Twitter or Stumble-Upon). What is their role in the process (90% will read what others say, 9% will comment and 1% will add content like pictures and extensive reviews/information)
Step 3: DEFINE YOUR ONLINE OFFER – Content is king! And people don’t want to connect with you to hear a constant sales pitch, typically you want 6-8 helpful posts, links or interesting items for every offer you send out. If you can keep their interest they will put up with an occasional offer and potentially respond to it! Your offer may not be a true offer, but additional information to help with the purchase process. Your offer may be follow up information that helps people be satisfied AFTER the sale.
Step 4: DEVELOP CREATIVE – Participate in social media with a human voice, write like you would talk and use personal stories. Use keywords…it can be part of your SEO strategy. Present Benefits, not features (people don’t care what it does, they care how it helps, saves, prevents…etc.). Have a call to action. Provide links to specific products and helps in the purchase process (3rd party reviews, pictures, development information…)
Step 5: PREPARE A CONTENT STRATEGY – Look closely at your target’s needs and interests and develop content that meets those needs. Include different types of information and use different content forms, blogs, micro blogs (twitter), video (YouTube), Linked In and connect the different forms together. Make your content easily shareable. Again, focus, focus, focus on the consumer. Your goal isn’t to get the most followers, it’s to communicate with your target group, no matter how big or small.
Step 6: ASSESS YOUR MEDIA – Look at what you do both online and offline, do you mail out a hard copy newsletter, e-newsletter, seminars, product brochures and information, websites, blogs, billboards, direct mail? All of these should tie together in an integrated effort to support each other. If you have a good face-book page, talk about it on your printed materials, put it on your billboard, link to it off your website. Capture online information and add it to your mailing list and personal follow up. Connect the dots, for an idea of what this looks like, you can see my marketing plan diagrammed here.
Step 7: CONTENT GENERATION – Content is really the critical part of the whole Social Media equation, and the old programming saying “Garbage In…Garbage Out” holds true, if you just throw stuff up to be posting something, don’t expect anything, there are too many channels competing for your prospects attention. Consider what content will interest your target; Information about your product? Related or complimentary items of interest? Humor? You also need to consider who will make sure you content generation is consistent, once you start, you can’t stop or you will lose all momentum. Generally one person needs to be in charge of the channel(s) and you need to have goals of how often and what kind of content will be generated.
Step 8: TEST & MEASURE – Social media is like any other channel, pay attention! Know how much you spend, how much revenue is generated, how may people have participated, and what kind of reactions are you getting. If it doesn’t seem to be generating revenue or benefits, try something different or maybe even a new channel.
Social Media is having a HUGE impact on the marketplace, it’s where most conversations about products are taking place these days. Go to where the conversation is taking place about your product or service and start connecting! (…just make sure you have a plan!)