HOW TO: create a social media marketing strategy

Categories How To

Social media marketing is a valuable means of building your business. Many businesses shy away from from utilizing social media platforms for fear of being talked about negatively on the web. However, this is not at all your biggest problem! Perhaps the worst option for any business in our modern world of fast-paced internet conversations is for your business to not be a part of the conversation at all. Invisibility is your enemy. Through social media marketing, your business can develop your reputation, protect your reputation if necessary, and most importantly take advantage of the plethora of opportunities that social media presents to business development.

All of this is far less fearsome and far less daunting if you develop a plan, a social media marketing strategy. This is simply a set of goals outlined within an organized framework. It will allow you to see the entire picture more clearly, which will, in turn, increase your chances of creating a cohesive strategy that incorporates all of your social media platforms and allows you to maximize their potential for your business.  It is important to keep in mind that this is merely a framework; your social media marketing strategy is malleable. If you decide that you do not like some aspect of your plan, you can always change it.

Everyday we network, and we engage people in conversation. Social media allows your business to network and engage in conversations with a significantly larger audience. Implementing a social media marketing strategy is perhaps the most difficult step, so here are five tips to help you get started.

1. Determine your goals

Before you can even begin, you need to decide what you want to gain from social media. Your goals will greatly influence the type of content that you produce, the social media outlets that you choose to use, and the type of activities in which you participate. Begin by asking yourself some questions. Do you want to enhance your relationships with your customers and increase customer loyalty? Do you want to increase your sales, or find new customers? Is your primary goal to offer better customer service? What you hope to accomplish through social media will have a huge impact on how you initially structure your strategy.

2. Know your audience

Social media marketing is all about knowing your target audience. Where is your target audience online? Do they spend their time on Twitter, facebook, YouTube, or LinkeIn? What type of content do they want from you? What will be most engaging? What will get people talking? What do they like? What do they really dislike? You need to know what your audience what your audience wants from you in order to be able to publish content that will be interesting and relevant to them.

3. Create a schedule

What type of content you want to publish to which social media platforms and when it should be published. Keep in mind that this schedule is not a fixed entity; you can alter it as you develop your social media presence, as you see what works with your target audience and what does not work. Social media marketing is very adaptable! If something is not working for you, then change it.

Also, think about how you structure your day around social media so that it does not completely consume your life. For example, perhaps you will spend five to ten minutes on Twitter while you drink your morning coffee, another five to ten minutes on Twitter during your lunch break, and a final five to ten minutes on Twitter before you leave the office at the end of your day.

4. Decide who is handling your social media

You require someone to represent your business online. Someone needs to create your content. Someone needs to be present and able to generate and join any online conversations. Before you can implement a social media marketing strategy, you must be certain that you have the people necessary to execute your plan. For many business owners, hiring an individual specifically to supervise your social media strategy is an excellent idea. This relieves the pressure from you to do it all yourself. Your Content Director can work with you to develop your plan and then delegate responsibilities appropriately.

5. Create excellent content

You want your business to be viewed as trustworthy, as a source of authority. In order to achieve this, you must continuously churn out absolutely amazing content that is relevant and engaging to your audience. Yes, there will be some trial and error involved in this, but you will learn from your mistakes as you go. Eventually, you will come to know your audience and their expectations of you, and you will be able to give them what they want, which will result in a loyal following of people who are interested in what you have to say and who trust you as a source of information. Your focus here should be on the quality of your content and not on the quantity of it. You are better served by having five hundred loyal followers, who are actively engage than by having five thousand followers who never click on any of your content.

These five tips will certainly help you to embark down a path of social media marketing success. However, there are still a few more points to consider. Social media marketing is not a separate entity from your traditional marketing plans; it should work with your traditional marketing strategy, and the two plans should compliment each other. Also, you need to realize that social media marketing is really not about self-promotion; in fact, the vast majority of your time spent on social media should be used for activities that are not self-promotional. Furthermore, once you have created a social media presence, you must understand that you will have to relinquish control to your followers. They will ultimately dictate the flow of the conversation, which is really what you want because this is precisely how your followers will develop an emotional connection to your brand and business. Finally, you must always remember to be flexible, to listen to your audience, and to accept that change is what keeps humanity innovative.

Author BioLogoworks has been providing affordable, high-quality logos and websites to clients worldwide since 2001. We firmly believe thatlogos should be easy to understand, so our goal is to convey the complexities of your business simply. We believe that revisions are progress; they evolve your logo; thus, they are an absolutely critical part of the design process. Our designers have an average of ten or more years of experience, and we are truly experts in our field. Our responsibility is to make your business look great.

header image courtesy of  Emir Ayouni

Catalin is the founder of Mostash - a social marketing boutique - and he's always happy to share his passion for graphic design & social media.