With more than 500 million active users on facebook alone, 50% of which are active daily, have on average 130 friends each, are connected to 80 community pages, groups and events and create around 90 pieces of content each month, the question Marketers may be asking is perhaps not “why should we use social media?” but “how do I get started?”.
The following article outlines some factors worth considering if you are thinking about embarking on a social media marketing strategy.
1. Know Why You Are Using Social Media
Try not to get too caught up in the hype of something new. Determine what you are trying to achieve – typically greater brand awareness, building relationships, generating more leads, more direct sales or conversions will be on your list. This is the first step in developing your social media strategy. Also consider your audience – you know what you want to achieve but will jumping on the social media bandwagon get you there? Are your potential clients active on social media? If the answer is yes, keep reading!
2. Identify What Social Channels You Will Use
Which social media tools will enable you to best fulfil your goals? - social networking sites, real-time updates such as Twitter, blogs, social news sites, review/directory sites, display ads on social media sites and so on. A bit of research will enable you to determine which channels appeal to your target audiences – this may be popular sites like facebook and twitter or could be a blog or news sharing site specific to your industry sector.
3. Create Your Identity
Your profile and messages should reflect your personality and be consistent with your brand ethos and identity.
4. Encourage Participation
Think about how you will drive people to your social media space – initially you can invite your business contacts and friends to join you and actively market your presence on these social platforms via your usual communications channels but your audience will only continue to follow you if your brand offers them something useful time and time again. Ensure you deliver! Try to produce unique content from time to time and avoid the urge to post only links to 3rd party content – some of it may be useful but it may also make you look a bit lazy! Be professional but be social as well! Engage in conversations but remember that in doing so, you will not always be in control of the content...are you willing to let go and see where the conversations take you? Create anticipation by indicating future content you will post and keep it current. Solve problems – you are supposed to be the experts after all! Be honest – good content is true content, give your point of view but try to back it up with examples and don’t make promises you can’t keep. If your followers like your brand, they will engage with you and recommend you to their friends....this is what social media is all about.
5. Integrate With Your Overall Marketing/Communications Strategy
Your social media activity should be part of a larger marketing/communications strategy. Think about how your social media strategy fits with what you're trying to do in all your other channels, and how they can support each other.
6. Measure Success
The saying ‘you get out of it what you put into it’ certainly applies to social media – it’s not a quick fix that will double your sales overnight – like any relationship, you need to get to know your audiences, listen to what they say, respond with solutions that fulfil their needs and in doing so, over time, you will fulfil your own goals. This takes a lot of time and commitment so ensure you have the resources to maintain the relationship. Also clarify how you will measure success - is it the number of views, followers, comments, subscribers or by some other means? Taking on board the lessons learnt, you may have to revise your social media strategy after a campaign and before you embark on the next one.
If you want to have a chat about getting on the social media bandwagon, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.