Social media is no longer a question of “should we” but a question of “how to”.
Businesses have been consistently cutting back on tradition marketing expenses whilst increasing investment in online marketing. And, guess which dimension of online marketing is the best way to reach your customer! Yep, social media! And, this week, we pull back the curtains on how you too can implement a successful social media campaign for your organisation.
Social media has proven itself repeatedly, as a useful tool to place brands ‘out there’, giving them maximum exposure and also turning audience into raving fans. Let’s not forget how social media has helped product launches by encouraging people to make that first purchase or at least try it. Click here for 5 great social media campaigns and their metrics.
In Australia, however, we’ve noticed many SMEs are (and even larger corporations) are yet to supplement their marketing efforts with digital channels. Besides, at the rate that social media channels have evolved to become an integral part of our lives, it is essential that you jump aboard now!
This infographic by Yellow Pages on the State of Australian Social Media 2013, shows that only 30% of SMEs have a social presence, while over 65% of the country’s population is active on social media. Can you imagine the potential you might be missing out on if you do not go social?
Try out this 12-step process, and you’ll see a definite focus and improvement in your social media efforts, and subsequently, to your bottom-line too.
Here is the 12 steps action to take:
1. Understand Your Goals
The best laid strategy is only effective if focused towards an established goal. Identify clearly what you hope to achieve from your social media marketing initiatives and ensure that these goals are in line with your corporate marketing goals as well. These goals need to be communicated organisation-wide and not just your marketing team. Remember, your employees are your best brand ambassadors and understanding your social media objectives and policies can work in your favour.
2. Identify who your Customers are and Where are They
In social media, this translates into finding out which social media channels your customers frequent. For an example if you’re in the business of B2C (Business to Consumer – eg. Selling clothing items direct to consumers), social media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter Vine would work best because, these platform allow capturing and sharing images and videos, features that the younger generations loves and uses heavily; not to mention sharing of information. On the other hand, if you provide B2B services (Business to Business – eg. Providing professional services to businesses), you’ll find LinkedIn paving the way to connect with potential clients.
3. Connect, Engage and Interact
Once you’ve identified your audience and where they are, create social media profiles for your business in the right channels. Remember just because another organisation is present on all the social media channels you don’t need to be! Pick the right ones and get to work. Update your profile with attractive visuals, informative content and keywords is the way to go.
It is imperative that your social media strategy complements your offline strategy and there’s a consistent message being communicated to your customers. If your offline marketing plan works great for you, your social media strategy can piggy-back off the offline one, stretching your brand strength across the online social space.
5. Define your Message (What are you Going to Say?)
The content that you publish on social media should resonate with your audience. Simply bombarding them with content promoting your business will only result in them tuning out. Throw in a mix of content that includes interesting information relating to your industry and fun stuff! Use videos, images and text strategically for maximum engagement.
At solomoIT, we use a flexible, weekly content plan. It helps us gain a clear understanding of our customers’ online behaviour, test which content works and also provide them up-to-date information about our industry. Go ahead, give it a shot!
6. Measure the results
Once your social media plan is underway, measuring your performance levels is essential. We use HootSuite, which is a flexible social media management tool that allows us to manage a wide range of profiles in one dashboard but provides great insights and analysis of the performance of each profile. Calculating your direct leads and sales which come through social media sites, especially if there are apps created on your social media profiles, can also be done.
7. Audience Attraction
There will be so many brands and organisations that your audience may have and will follow/like on social media. Therefore being different and not emulating your competitors or copying another guru would not be of great success. Identify the different platforms you’re in and have an idea on what sort of content is most appropriate for you to attract your target audience. Engagement in like-minded groups or communities is also another great way to attract the right audience for your business.
Getting to know what your audience is saying about you is essential and this is where social media listening comes in handy. It would let you know what your audience thinks about the brand and its products/services, and what further relates to their interests. Therefore social media listening plays a big part especially in getting to know how your brand will be interacting with your customers.
9. Social Responsibility
Your businesses responsibility towards the community and society is expected even online. Apart from being ethical, your audience increasingly expect the brands they follow to provide something in return to the community and by doing this your brand reputation is sure to increase both online as well as offline.
10. Community Engagement and Response
Your brand needs to be active in all the current affairs of the community at all times. Community engagement and response should not only limit externally but having connections internally is also vital. This would give out a positive brand image where people would get to know that you are listening, engaging, helping and readily offering solutions to your audience.
11. Brand Advocacy
Spreading positive word of mouth should start from within. Being authentic and transparent in your social media approach is important and your team should be fully on board with the concept and idea of the brand. This would help make your audience advocate your brand among friends and relatives which is of much more significance than any form of paid advertisement.
For consumers to advocate your brand it needs to connect with your brand. To feel connected, having a brand mascot is a great idea. For example Owly the owl represents Hootsuite while a chimpanzee represents mail chimp. Similarly we too have our brand advocate. We introduced our mascot Diggle the dolphin. It is definitely helpful to make your audience remember your brand and a way you can spread the message about your brand.
12. Customer Service
Social media provides an additional customer touch point. It usually is an easier way for a customer to engage with its brands to clarify any issues or concerns. Quality customer services service could go a long way to even create customer loyalty. Social media team needs to be well trained and made to think that it’s not a problem that a customer would come with but an opportunity in which your brand can get closer to your customer and build a stronger relationship. For 5 great examples of successful social media customer service, click here.
There you have it, a 12-step plan to be a better social media marketing plan. Try it, and let us know how it works out for you. We’d love to hear from you and are open to answering any questions that you may have.
Also, our dedicated social media team consists of HootSuite Certified Professionals, and would be delighted to work with you to manage your social media presence. Do give us a call on 1300 430 949 and together, let’s take the first step towards a strong digital presence for your business.