As with all marketing plans and campaigns, strategy is the first place to start. Whether you are a multinational company or a local business you need a sound marketing strategy to be successful and competitive.
Your company can strategically benefit from social media in the following 6 functional areas:
- Public Relations
- Customer Relationship Management
- Technical Support
- Business Development
- Human Resources
To create a sound social media marketing strategy your company must address these 6 points:
1. Discover Needs
Access what the company objectives and goals:
- Prepare the launch of a new product?
- Promote the current services the company offers?
- Get more people engaged with the brand online?
- Assist the customer support department in responding to client queries?
- Generate new leads and sales?
- Recruit young talents?
2. Identify Your Audience
Having a clearly defined market and audience is essential to marketing. Complete a market assessment to discover who your customers are and where they spend time online. Don’t invest your time or resources if you don’t know who you are targeting. For example, LinkedIn can help companies target specific industries and professionals. Be sure to match your business objectives to your channel selections.
3. Select the Right Channel
There are many social media to choose from: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, GooglePlus, Pinterest, Instagram, Foursquare, Blogs, etc. It’s best to complete a comparative advantage to access, which platform is best for your company and your overall social media marketing strategy. It’s important to understand what value each channel adds and how the platform can strategically work for your business.
You can create multiple accounts within each social media platform as well. Be sure to create consistency not only with your branding, but with your strategy objectives and target audience.
4. Connect to Solutions
Each social media network provides a unique service offering and solution for its users (both business and personal). Most social media platforms are free to use. Examples include:
- Facebook: create a company page, post articles/videos/pictures, run campaigns and contests and connect with fans
- Twitter: create an account, follow users, tweet, retweet and share content
- LinkedIn: create a company page with your business information and share content
- Google Plus: create a company page with your business information, post content, create events and host hangouts
Business can also incorporate paid content and ads into their social media strategy. Each platform offers its own customized ad platforms:
- Facebook: sponsored stories and ads
- Twitter: promoted accounts and tweets
- LinkedIn: targeted advertising, talent solutions and sales navigator
- Google Plus: Google AdWords (be sure to link your Google+ page with your AdWords campaign)
5. Allocate Resources
Plan to have a community manager or team that will handle and implement your social media strategy and plan. Creating one, cohesive strategy will allow your social media manager or team to work on all the social media platforms you have selected.
Make sure that your objectives are clearly defined and target your audience accordingly. Involve your team in learning and understanding the strategy. This will help them to create and post better content that will drive your results. Also, have your team customize the content according to each platform.
6. Measure Return On Investment (ROI)
While you plan your business objectives, clearly define your measurable goals (e.g. increasing website visits, social shares, etc.). Analyse the results on a monthly and campaign basis and adjust accordingly. Calculating ROI is extremely important in justifying time and money spent on marketing.
Social media analytics will help you understand your audience, interact with your audience better and learn what content they prefer to read and share. By investing time in analytics, you’ll be able to create and share increasingly valuable content and as a result a higher ROI.