I’ve seen this happen a thousand times.
A company sets up their social media accounts and dives right into social media with the intent of raising their business to the next level – without stopping and thinking about strategy.
The problem is that so many businesses lack clear guidance of what they should be doing to maximize their returns and consequently maximize the time and money they’ve committed to social media.
Not to mention the risk of offending their fans…
The U.S. government could have probably done a better job….
So how do you avoid these pitfalls and determine what strategy will lead you to social media success?
Define your goals – what do you want to reap?
The first step of setting up your social media strategy is to clearly define what you want from your social media platforms.
Is it for increased brand awareness and loyalty from your clients?
Is it to provide them unparalleled customer service unlike any of your competitors offer?
Or is it simply to drive more traffic towards your website and increase the amount of leads you generate?
Whatever your reasons are for going on social media, find it and focus on it.
One of the most important steps that you should take as a business owner to improve your social media marketing is to figure out who you are targeting – who do you want to attract?
This is one of the most common mistakes that many businesses make. They jump into the market with a great idea or product, but they have absolutely no clue who they are selling this product/service to, or how they are even going to convince this person to become interested.
You should take some time and do some research on who you are selling to. Simple, I know, but very important.
Take a moment (the more the better ideally) and envision your ideal customer.
What kind of person are they? What are their interests? What do they do for a living? What do they with their spare time?
You want to get as much insight as you can about who your ideal customer is and from there you are now able to market more effectively.
There is no better way to create a good social media strategy than drawing inspiration from what works for your competitors.
By peeking over at your competition’s social accounts you can take inspiration from the tactics they’ve used and leave behind the ones that were not as effective.
Effectively learning from all their mistakes and avoiding the pitfalls that you could have found yourself in.
A recommended way of gauging the social media of other companies within your niche is to perform a social media audit and compare your company to the standard within your industry.
A great way of observing what your target audience is receptive towards is by simply taking a look at the online communities they are a part of. Take a look at how they act, the topics they talk about and anything else that may seem noteworthy.
You can easily do this by going on Facebook, joining a couple of groups and taking part in the conversations there.
You can equally go on one of my personal favourites, Quora, take a look at the topics and questions that people ask there and immerse yourself in the community of people and truly get to know it.
But especially take a look at the influencers within those communities. These are people with a voice that people listen to. Meaning that whatever they say you can safely assume that it reflects the beliefs and mindsets of the people within that community.
Having great content is the number one way of getting people to come back to see you. Your social media strategy should be comprised of a content marketing plan, containing strategies for content creation and a schedule.
Your content marketing plan should contain what types of content you intend to promote and post on your accounts. It should equally contain how often you’ll post, how you’ll promote that post to your desired target audience.
Your schedule should list the dates and times you will publish blogs, Facebook posts, tweets, etc.
Having a social media strategy for your business is great but it does not change one crucial factor, you still need to do it (and experiment while you are at it).
The beauty of social media websites is that you are able track everything with analytics. You are able to see what works and what doesn’t which in the long run will save you money and have a better grasp of your ROI.
I remember reading in one of my favourite books, Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, about a company that had invested a decent amount of money in newspaper advertising but once they had pulled the plug on it after a couple of decades, there was no effect on their business.
All this time they were flushing their money away into short-term marketing. That’s exactly what you do not want to happen to you. That is why you should always be testing out new things and seeing how they pan out.
You’ll need to experiment a bit with all the different aspects of your social media strategy and what you put out to your audience in order to find the right combination that will appeal to your audience.
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