Social media marketing is topical, trendy and something that most companies either have or are thinking about adding to their marketing plan for achieving growth. Either way, building a social media program should not be taken lightly. It is a fully mainstream communications strategy whose power is constantly being redefined. There is a lot of work that needs to be done before an organization can jump into a full scale social media program.
The social media world is changing rapidly and a lot of uncertainty surrounds it. Following a step-by-step process will help you focus your efforts and help ensure that you are properly set to interact on social media platforms before you actually get started. It will also allow you to set up your criteria for success and allow you to know when you are doing things right and when you need to make adjustments.
The 4 Keys
The following are 4 keys that you should follow before launching a social media program:
- Identify you primary target audience—make sure you aren’t too broad when defining this. For example, women ages 25-54 are comprised of several sub-groups. Therefore, marketers need to identify the best targets based on interest so that the message delivered will be engaging and relevant.
- 2. Determine the sales behavior of your audience—what best mix of emotion, relevance and originality will lead to sale?Perhaps, it might be important to relate to a specific attribute of a product or service, such as “all natural,” “best tasting,” or “recyclable.” Or, perhaps it’s the incentive one receives for responding in the requested manner.
- 3. Identify and use the critical touchpoints—what will elicit the desired behavior from your target audience? This would pertain to the medium used to reach them e.g. in-store, mobile, e-mail, social network; as well as, the time or day-part that attempt to reach out to them.
- 4. Monitor and assess the results—this is often measured in terms of participation level and follow through to the sale. It can usually be tracked by measuring visitor traffic to the website or retail outlet, coupon redemption, contest entries, or other promotions. Some efforts may also include post-quantitative research against the database.
The Benefits of Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing can dramatically change the way you interact with your prospects and customers. Your social media program will enable you to engage directly with your audience and learn firsthand about what makes them tick. You will have a chance to participate in their conversations, learn how your company and brand is perceived, and open up a whole new way of promoting your product or service.
Where Are You In the Process?
Where is your organization in the development of a social media program? If you are already participating, did you follow the 4 keys to establish a solid foundation? If you haven’t yet developed a social media marketing program, what’s keeping you from getting started?
If you would like another good social media resource, I would suggest the following guidelines by Heidi Cohen: http://heidicohen.com/17-social-media-guidelines-every-company-needs