Developing a Social Media Plan
Many marketers are already leveraging social media and extending the company’s reach into digital spaces. We want you to also consider how you can extend that reach effectively and grow your business.
In this session, you’ll start to dig into your social media plan. You’ll also consider social media utilization guidelines for your organization.
Things to Think About
Social media, like all marketing, is about developing relationships with your customers. It is not a short road to profits. You also need to know (and may have already discovered this while exploring your personal social media networks) that it can take an enormous amount of time if you approach it casually.
We have seven guidelines for developing your social media plan and making the most of time and resources.
As you develop your social media plan, you need to work with people who have a deep digital reach. Traditional marketers focus on what they know in order to help you establish a niche in the marketplace. They rely on tried and true methods for design and marketing campaigns. (Think about flyers, brochures, contest entries, or contact forms on a website.) If your usual marketing is not getting you the results that you need, make sure you increase your strength by bringing on expertise that gets you what you need. Don’t hire someone to be your social media marketer if they have no knowledge about the areas that you want to reach.
Build a Community
What you really need is to get people talking about you in a way that they promote your brand independently of you. Seth Godin has written about this as tribes. The Grateful Dead, a wildly successful band for more than 40 years, focused on providing their fans with experiences at their concerts rather than selling albums. Fans (called Deadheads) went to the concerts because they knew that each one was different from the last. Think of the things that you can do for your customers that are different than what everyone else is doing.
Watch Out for Social Media Experts
Social media is constantly evolving, and it is one aspect of marketing, but it is not all there is to marketing. Marketing consultants who are also specialists in social media understand its fluidity. They can help you navigate and establish your brand in the social stream as one aspect of your marketing plan. However, make sure that they can do what they say they can do. Ask for references and look at what they’ve done in the past.
Whichever social channels that you use (and there are more coming out all the time), make sure that you participate with your community. Don’t ask a question on Twitter, for example, and then not be around or available to reply to people’s answers, or you will turn them off. Better still, give them something they have not even thought to ask for yet.
Find Your Customers
When you conduct your market analysis, be very clear about where your customers are. Make sure you reach them and their friends so that they are able to talk about you. This doesn’t mean that you need to sign up on every social platform there is, because you won’t have time. Focus on methods of reach that work for your customers.
Be a Person
There is a lot of artificiality in social media. While systematizing and pre-planning updates makes sense, you look like a robot if you come off like something that has been automated. Make sure that some of your personality and character shines through the things that you say.
It’s not appropriate to be a one-way machine in social media. For example, if you are on Twitter and have 2,500 followers, and you only follow 20 people, you will not be able to reply to people who are speaking with and about you. We know you cannot read comments from 2,500 people a day, but we also know that you can organize people into categories and lists. That way, you can participate in the community you are trying hard to build, instead of being a sandwich board on the street corner that simply makes an announcement. If you are blogging, make sure that you reply to people’s comments on your blog posts and that those posts provide people with information they can use, rather than just writing them as a billboard for your products.