Businesses have evolved greatly over the last century. Earlier, businessmen had to travel from door to door to market their goods and services. Technology paved the way for strategies that revolved around telemarketing, trade shows, print and electronic media advertisements, and emails. However, companies found that these methods were sometimes intrusive, which is what led to the advent of social media marketing. Currently, social media marketing strategy is essential for every business.
How Effective is Social Media?
‘Social media’ refers to online sites where people connect with other individuals. A recent study conducted by Pew Research Centre found that over 2.1 billion people have social media accounts and 1.7 billion of them are active users. Taking into consideration the reach of these networks, it’s unsurprising that businesses have started using them for marketing purposes.
According to the Burson-Marsteller Fortune 100 Social Statistics Report for 2012, there are more than 10 million social media mentions of Fortune 100 companies. Out of all these companies, 87% use Twitter, 75% use Facebook, and 50% use Google+.
Here are some steps you can take to create a successful social media marketing strategy:
#1: Create Goals
First, you have to zero in on a goal you want to achieve with social media as your marketing tool. In the long run, these objectives will help figure out how successful you are. Ensure that your social media goals go beyond garnering “likes” and “retweets”. It should be able to increase the flow of traffic to your website and generate leads.
#2: Study Your Customers and Competitors
Studying your customers and competitors will give you a good idea of what you need to focus on with regard to social media. Look out for what consumers need and consider the ideas your rivals come up with in order to figure out where you need to change.
#3: Survey Your Current Position
Before you can start creating a marketing strategy, you need to analyse how well you’re using social media right now. Figure out what sites your target audience uses, who is connecting to you through what social media, and how your presence in social media compares to that of your competitors. After this, you should have a clear picture of all the social media accounts the company has, who is in charge of running them, and how they contribute to the company’s success. Make sure you do this audit every few months to keep an eye on your progress.
#4: Construct a Content Blueprint
Social media and content go hand-in-hand; if you don’t have incredible content to back up your social media presence, your plans will go down the drain. There are three important elements to keep in mind for an excellent marketing strategy online. The type of content you use, the time you post it, and the frequency of each post. The best thing about social media is that you have options. This is why you can incorporate popular culture and trends into your strategy. It is important to remember that customers are more likely to connect with you if you use a more conversational tone and try to engage them rather than just inform them.
#5: Allot a Budget and Resources
According to a survey by Google, 30% of respondents say that social media strategy has its own budget. 8.7% even went on to say that this budget is included in traditional marketing media budgets, which include TV, radio, and print marketing campaigns.
Base your budget on your marketing strategy and make a list of tools you will need like social media monitoring and CRM. Also, consider services like outsourcing and advertising, and add them to the budget. Include an annual projected cost, so that you can have a clear picture of how much you invest in marketing annually.
A social media strategy isn’t set in stone. As you move forward, make sure you re-analyze your strategy to change tactics that don’t work. Remember, you need to adapt quickly to survive and evolution is a key component to moving forward.