Ten key ways to make your social media marketing strategy a success
We all think we know what social media is, but getting the best out of it as a marketing tool requires a bit of patience, diligent planning and attention to detail. The good news though is that, for the large part, it’s mostly free. Here Ian Jenkins, founder of social media research agency, Intrinsic, pinpoints the 10 key ways to make your social media marketing strategy a success.
1. Know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the fever of “being social”. With so many social media channels, it’s important to know which ones to use and why they are right for you. Too often companies get caught up in the idea that they have to be socially present on channels that are irrelevant to their audience or brand. Understand first what you want to use social media for and set clear objectives.
2. Don’t jump in feet first
Proper planning is the key to a good return on your social media marketing. You need to spend time to understand your audience, who they are and what social media they engage with. Facebook or Twitter aren’t the only channels out there. Get to understand your audience, where they are social and develop campaigns that target them accordingly.
3. Be consistent
Successful social media marketing isn’t an add-on to other marketing activities. Companies that thrive in this area know that what they do in social media has to be consistent with their other marketing activities. That means maintaining a consistent message and tone of voice in what you say online and offline.
4. Engage rather than sell
Be realistic about what social media can do for you. For most companies social media enables the creation of a dialogue and a presence and to build a reputation that will lead consumers to your brand in other ways. It’s not about trying to sell online.
5. Don’t bombard people with stuff
As with most things in life, a little but often works best here. Be careful not to create, post and share content just because you can. It’s important to maintain consumer interest in your brand and that won’t happen if your social media strategy is seen as spam. You want people to listen to what you have to say, so schedule your posts or content for a couple of times a week, not everyday. It’s about quality, not quantity.
6. Manage your resources effectively
As a small business it’s easy to say you are going to use social media, but who is going to do it? Don’t underestimate the time involved that will be needed. Who is going to create the content? Manage the blogs, articles, and videos? Make a plan of how you are going to resource your activity and find the right people to help you. Remember that although most social media activity is free, there’s always a cost involved in time spent creating and managing it.
7. Social media is about your customers, not you
The most successful companies know that social media is a tool that helps customers first and foremost, not themselves. People use social media channels as a way of unearthing information, sharing opinions and finding solutions. It is your job to make sure that you make your brand relevant to what they are interested in so don’t try and sell to people directly all the time.
8. Don’t pretend to be something you are not
If you are going to post something make sure that it’s something you have created. You can forward or incorporate other people’s posts or articles but if you do, make sure that it’s credited to the originator. Social media will find you out if you are not authentic. Having integrity is absolutely essential.
9. Post in your lunch break
If your time is short and you are under pressure, it can be easy to give up on your social media activities. Spending just a few minutes at lunchtime or early in the morning to post a picture, a blog or a Twitter feed is all it needs. Keeping going is all important, so don’t lose momentum.
10. If time and money matters, start small
The breadth of social media can appear daunting. If time and resources are in short supply start small and build up slowly. Begin with a simple blog and Facebook page and, as you become more familiar with the tools available, you can increase your sophistication over time. You’ll soon find that you can start building an audience and it will increase your confidence to do and achieve more.