A good social media marketing strategy would not ignore the traditional marketing tools:
– Face to face meetings
– Brochures, flyers, business cards and newsletters (the more traditional promotional material as such)
– Surveys, questionnaires and telephone contact (as annoying as it may seem now with people flipping questions back on you and hanging up so quickly)
All of the above still work! We may think it’s so out-dated but the truth is, not everybody likes to be contacted via social media and not all accounts on social media are for communication purposes (accounts such as “ghosts”). But in this day and age near enough majority of the world’s population is online, and they expect their favourite brands to be online too. Everybody loves to see pictures and videos and read the latest news about their company without having to wait to be at a desktop computer to find out. They want to read it on the go; 24/7, 365 days a year! The world is becoming digital, and you cannot afford to miss out.
So, selecting a social media strategy-
Deciding what tools to use is important, but before doing this you need to look at how your customers use social media and how your business can use that same technology to build a mutually rewarding relationship towards them.
Here is the main question you need to ask yourself first – What tools and channels are relevant to your business?
To do this you need a good understanding and thoughts of:
- The market in which your business exists:
- Your business type, brand, values, products and services
- Current market conditions – remember nobody wants to spend money if the current market is low and making everybody short of money
- The sort of people who you want to attract as your customers – your audience:
- Where they are likely to be (location)?
- What platforms they use?
- Audience age range?
- Consideration of niche markets? – are you targeting just one specific set of customers eg: only One Direction fans or just solely Eastenders fans?
- How these customers are using social media platforms:
- Do they use it for communication purposes only?
- Is it just to follow a particular account for the latest information?
- Is it just for friends and family to keep in touch?
- The best way for your business to utilise these tools:
- Reaching your customer
- Engaging with your customer
- Amplifying through your customer
- Content, cost, time and resources available to you.
As with any marketing plan, you need to ask yourself:
- What do you want to achieve from your social media?
- How much time can you dedicate/allocate to setting up and monitoring the social media tools?
- Who will be responsible for managing the social media activity?
- How does social media fit in to your business/marketing plan?
- What is the time scale in seeing any benefits? What are the deadlines?
- How does social media fit in with your overall marketing budget?
Now with the budget, first work out your business size and then your budget type.
Small to medium businesses – Take advantage of the freebies, the free tools and platforms! Allow yourself plenty of time to allocate to social media and use free tools like Hootsuite to schedule tweets and posts in advance so you free up your own time.
If you have a larger budget – promote your tweets and Facebook posts. Employ some professionals or a marketing team to help you out with this too – it only needs to be one or two members of staff or maybe you would like a team of 5-6 people (expand the team when you start to see the rewards and see a purpose to). Create some personalised URLs and designs and make your company stand out.
Larger business – Do the same as a small to medium business with a big budget. Create personalised URLs and designs and use the paid features on Facebook and Twitter and Hootsuite with Web Analytics and other traffic measurement tools and make sure your marketing team (if you have one) are doing everything to increase the amount of potential reach possible. Choose some choice keywords, even if you do have to pay – you want the ones which are not too popular that you fight for competition with big brands but you don’t want keywords that are never searched for – do your research!
Top Tip! No matter what idea it is that you are trialling or campaign promotion you are running across any platform, use measurement and monitoring tools to watch over the success rate and determine from there if it is worthwhile doing this again.
You may even wonder why you need a social media strategy and plan. The ultimate reason is so you can control responses and comments online and maintain your brands reputation.
Creating a marketing plan not only helps you keep focused on what is your goals are but can also help align marketing activities with your business goals. Most importantly – it will help you target your potential customers.
Marketing is a necessity when trying to grow any kind of business. While traditional marketing is important, the amount of trading that is now done online is rapidly growing and it would be foolish for you to miss out due to not being on the web. Ultimately you need to consider whether your BRAND, PRODUCT and SERVICES are suited to this kind of marketing.
Key points to remember –
- The social media customer is not so different to your normal face to face or telephone customer. Most marketing experts agree that the customers of social media are no different to those who walk into a store and purchase an item – however their behaviour has changed due to online trading. Ideally – everybody just wants good customer service and a good shopping experience.
- More and more people are shopping online – this also includes an increasing number of users from the older generation as they are getting more internet savvy,
- A key thing that needs to be understood is customers are now more than ever in control
- Customers want their products as soon as possible – businesses must be able to offer their customers what they want and fast. We’ve all done this before of used every single tracking code possible to work out where our parcels are and when they are being delivered, so become the company that does the super-fast delivery with the exceptional customer service – all you will receive is gratitude from customers.
- Customers communicate with each other now more than ever. Negative comments can be shared and viral within minutes so the key is to keep the customer happy – remember that old saying “the customer is always right?” Well, this is it in action
- Saying this – No businesses want negative feedback but a large part of a social media strategy must be able to manage and respond to feedback promptly and efficiently – it’s a round the clock job so it can’t be set as a 9-5 trading hour service.
Selling to customers is no longer enough – You MUST Engage with them!
Reckon you won’t remember all of this? Grab hold of our handy little checklist here: