Creating a social media marketing strategy is a must in order to have an effective social media campaign. Social media marketing should be merged with your traditional marketing efforts, however, a separate marketing plan should be in place to document content strategies and guidelines, short-term and long-terms goals as well as how to specifically measure all social media efforts.
Here are 5 tips to help you create an effective social media marketing strategy:
1. Make sure everyone is on board.
When creating a social media marketing strategy everyone from the CEO, the marketing & advertising team and all upper and middle management should be included in the decision-making process that will result in a company's social media marketing strategy. This strategy will set the guidelines for the social media director, consultant or team that is responsible for utilizing and monitoring all social media networks. Once the social media strategy is developed, all company employees should be made aware of all social media campaigns and encouraged to participate and solicit participation from others outside of the company.
2. Choose Platforms Wisely - Keep It Simple
There are hundreds of social media networks; your business does not have to participate in all of them. You only want to pick the ones that will be the most effective for your business. The more social networks you are participating in, the more work you have to do creating content for each specific network. Content should be created based on the type of social network you choose to participate in. For example, if you are participating in YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, you could advertise on your website why consumers should check out each one.
"Visit our YouTube channel to view our how-to-do-it-yourself videos!"
"Visit our Instagram page to view current photos of our current projects and staff members!"
"Visit our Facebook Fanpage page for special coupons, offers and contests!"
People will not visit all of your social media sites if you are advertising the same information on all of them; give them specific reasons to visit your social media networks.
3. Create Short-term & Long-term Goals
Many companies want to "dive" into social media because "it's what everyone else is doing"; that reasoning is why many companies end up "drowning" in social media and no one notices them. Create specific goals by asking yourself the following question "What does your business want to get out of social media?" Some examples:
- Increase website traffic
- Advertise events
- Increase user engagement to build online relationships
- Increase online awareness to increase sales
- Develop online buzz for a new product
- Obtain feedback from online users to improve customer service
Short-term goals are goals that you want to achieve in 30-60 days; long-term goals are goals you want to achieve within 6 months to a year. Creating short-term and long-term goals is what will determine what type of content needs to be created in order to meet those goals.
4. Create Influential Content
Just posting status updates is not enough to get people to "like" or "follow" your business. You must create content that will INFLUENCE online users to want to follow your business; as well as content that keeps them "coming back for more". Your social media networks should do more than just advertise your business and sell your products. Remember the 70/30 rule, 70% of your posts information that users will find useful (time-saving tips, money-saving tips, how-to-do-it yourself tips, and/or free samples or workshops) as well as sharing photos, videos and/or links. 30% of your posts should be dedicated to advertising your website and business products or services. You don't want to bombard visitors with your "selling posts"; this can actually push them away from your page. If people feel all you are doing is selling to them, they may not return.
5. Measure your Social Media Efforts
Once you begin posting content, you then want to monitor and measure your content efforts. There are many free online tools to help you do this. Google Analytics is probably one of the most popular and most used tools for measuring not only social media traffic, but also website traffic. However, social networks like Facebook have their own analytics so you can view your Fanpage efforts every time you log in as an admin. Learn what your most viewed posts are and what posts are getting more comments and being shared with others.
Social media trends change rapidly and businesses need to be aware of the latest trends and social networks, as well as keeping an eye on their competitors' social media efforts. An effective social media marketing plan can help businesses document all of their social media efforts: short-term and long-term goals, content strategies, content guidelines as well as how they will measure their social media efforts. Social media networks need to be advertised just as much as your business or products. It is important to merge your digital media advertising with your traditional media advertising.