If there’s one thing we know for sure and love indefinitely about people, it’s the fact that we are all very, very different. It’s this that tends to inspire marketing’s biggest challenges, one of which being finding the perfect digital marketing channel and the right media mix.
While research does show that most people prefer to communicate with brands through email, there are some who prefer other channels, like social media.
Source: Campaign Monitor
This is why it’s wise for you to have a robust social media plan to ensure that you cater to all your customers who prefer social media.
The need for a social media plan
Social media marketing is not like running a personal social media account. For one thing, your money’s on the line. And besides that:
1. Social media is noisy.
According to Statista, there are about 2.77 billion active social media users on the planet right now. From a marketer’s standpoint that may look like the pot of gold at the end of the marketing rainbow. Unfortunately, social media is crowded and noisy.
In order to stand out in the noise, you need a great social media strategy.
2. A solid plan helps you effectively track of your performance.
Having a plan or strategy for your social media marketing allows you to measure your progress. It also enables you to adjust the parts of your campaign that are not producing results.
3. Increases activity, efficiency, and engagement.
Shooting in the dark when it comes to social media marketing is a sure recipe for disaster. On the other hand, having a social media plan keeps you active. As a result of being consistent, your marketing becomes more effective, resulting in higher engagement rates.
How to incorporate a social media plan into your marketing strategy
Now that you’ve seen the importance of having a social media plan, let’s take a look at how you can incorporate social media into your overall marketing mix.
1. Audit your current marketing strategy.
Before jumping onto the social media marketing bandwagon, make sure to step back and look at your current marketing strategy. Doing this gives you a clear picture of the gaps that need to be filled by your social media campaigns.
One of the most common mistakes that marketers make when it comes to a marketing strategy is an easy one to fall for. Just because social media marketing is working wonders for the next person or brand doesn’t mean you need to switch your entire marketing strategy to focus solely on social media.
In fact, on its own social media, can’t handle all your marketing needs.
It’s the main reason why you have to thoroughly audit your marketing strategy. It gives you perspective on where to plug in social media in the overall marketing of your business. By identifying the exact needs that social media can meet in your marketing plan, integrating it in becomes easier and more effective.
2. Understand your audience.
While there are more than 2 billion social media users around the world, not all are popular with your target audience. Social media is tricky territory to navigate in this regard and you’ll have to do your research well before investing in your platform of choice.
Understanding your audience will help you design effective social media marketing campaigns as it helps you:
Know the platforms where they’re most present and engaged
Understand the content they enjoy
Learn the best times and frequency of which to post
Remember, you’re not going on social media to spam your followers with promotions. You’re going on social media to build relationships with your prospects and customers. To do this successfully, follow them on their favorite platforms (not yours) and create content that adds value to them.
As of March 2019, the most popular platforms were Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram (in no particular order).
3. Sign up for and optimize your social media profiles.
After you have figured out the social media channels that your audience hangs out on, create some accounts for your business. When setting them up, you’ll have to optimize them for visibility, and also to make them attractive to potential followers. Here’s how you can do that:
Use a name that aligns with your business
Maintain your branding style
Craft a captivating bio that makes it clear what you do.
Include your location and service hours if you’re a brick-and-mortar business
Use quality images, making sure that they are the right size for the platform
Fill in all the fields, using keywords where applicable
Add links to your website
Source: Campaign Monitor
Once your profiles are set, you can move on to the more interesting aspects of your social media marketing.
4. Define your goals.
Yes, it is social media. But for you and your business, it’s not just about being social. It’s about achieving certain marketing goals.
So what are your main goals for being on social media?
Is it to increase brand awareness? Is it to promote your products and services? Or is it a way to build a community around your brand? Or perhaps you simply want to use it as an extension of your customer service department.
Defining your goals will help you to define the KPIs that you will use to track and measure your progress. It will also help you maintain consistency in your posting.
5. Design your social media strategy.
Post and pray doesn’t work anymore on social media. Remember, it is crowded and noisy and doing this will get you nowhere. Yet many businesses use this strategy and call it social media marketing.
To have maximum impact and improve your chances of having a good ROI on your efforts you will need to design a social media marketing strategy that will get you noticed. Some things you need to consider when designing your strategy include:
Type of content. Each platform and audience has its own type of preferred content. Be sure to please both.
Frequency of posting. Find out the best practices for each platform as posts on different platforms have different life spans.
Paid vs. organic promotion. Decide the ratio of paid vs. organic posts that you’ll be posting in a given period.
Tool choice. There are a number of tools that you can use to help you launch, maintain, and track your social media efforts. Decide from the onset which tools you will use.
Laying down all these guidelines will help you create social media campaigns that will help you reach your goals.
6. Integrate your social media strategy with your other marketing campaigns.
Social media on its own runs the risk of being ineffective. It’s like an electric car, it only works when there’s supporting infrastructure. Here are some examples of how you can integrate your social media plan into your overall marketing strategy:
Use social media to drive traffic to your landing pages.
One of the best ways to get eyeballs on your promotions is to funnel traffic from social media to your landing pages. To do this, create eye-catching and value-packed posts that you link to your landing pages. You can then promote these organically or by sponsoring the posts.
Run contests to grow your email list.
Everyone loves trying their luck, especially if the prize is something really useful. Leverage the power of social media and the allure of a contest to grow your email list.
Find a prize that your target audience will find irresistible and run a contest whereby participants will have to part with their email addresses to enter. Creativity is the name of the game here as you can run different types of contents on the different platforms.
Sell on social media.
Yes, you got that right. Some social media channels allow you to set up shop right on their platform. A good example is Facebook Shop. Facebook Shop allows you to sell your products directly from Facebook without your customers having to go to your website to look for the product.
Another platform that makes it easy for you to sell is Instagram. What makes Instagram a great channel for selling is the way it has been designed to be a highly visual platform. Research shows that seeing a product increases the chances of the viewer buying it.
Source: Marketing Land
Integrating your social media strategy into broader marketing mix will give you a significantly greater reach and helps you increase your brand awareness. But more than that, it helps you meet your customers where they like to hang out. The result is that your customers will see that you care enough about them to want to interact with them.
7. Get a social media manager.
Social media marketing may look simple but it certainly isn’t. If you are to have any success with it, it’s important that you get a professional social media manager to take over. Doing so will help you ensure that current best practices are being followed. It also helps with maintaining consistency in sharing posts and responding to comments.
Social media is a great channel for growing your business. But for it to work, you need to have a robust social media plan in place. As you put your plan in place remember:
Social media is but a small piece of your overall marketing strategy
Optimize your profiles
Leverage social media to drive traffic to your other marketing assets
For a more holistic approach to marketing, be sure to check out our article on how to get started with email marketing. Used together with social media, you’re bound to get explosive results.
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