12 Steps to Social Media Marketing Success Any Business Can Implement!
Social Media Marketing And You!
I had an interesting conversation with a client this morning. He explained that since they only do B2B marketing social media marketing was not really of interest to their brand. I asked them if a robot made the buying decisions for their clients. Of course not! In digital marketing the distinction between B2C and B2B is blurring, because ultimately it always is H2H (human to human.) No matter who your customers are you can effectively use social media marketing.
Social media marketing is one of the most effective ways for any brand to increase brand awareness, promote engagement, and increase your organic reach. But many businesses fail at social media marketing because they do not have an effective social media strategy. Without one your social media marketing efforts will do little more than frustrate you, which most likely will result in you abandoning social media completely. Our 12 Steps to Social Media Marketing Success will help you achieve better results.
The Benefits of Social Media Marketing
The intent behind social media marketing is often misunderstood. This isn’t about simply selling, folks! There are many benefits to social media marketing, regardless if you are primarily focusing on B2C or B2B. And don’t tell me that you are really not interested in:
- Gaining traffic
- Interacting with your customers
- Building your brand reputation
- Increasing customer loyalty and trust
- Marketing research
- Saving costs on advertising
- Increasing global awareness
- Sharing information with like-minded people
As you can see there are definite benefits for B2B social media marketing as well. As a matter of fact, next to email marketing and search engine marketing social media marketing is the most effective way to source high-value leads according to MarketingCharts.com. Overall brands report achieving the following benefits from their social media marketing:
How Not to Do Social Media Marketing!
OK, let’s get social. Jump right in and get that social mojo everyone is talking about. Many folks do just that. STOP RIGHT HERE! (screeching tires) That is exactly the wrong way. Running a social media marketing campaign is a lot more involved than occasionally or frequently updating your own Facebook status or tweeting selfies.
You already know what happens next. Brands get frustrated because the “promised” engagement is not coming and abandon their social profiles. The resulting message to consumers: We don’t really care about you (and we may not even be in business anymore.) And that’s just not going to work!
Social media marketing takes a lot of dedicated effort, not to mention skills. If your brand (not you privately) are not yet on social media you should make sure to complete your social profiles, folks! Nobody likes to follow or like a generic avatar.
Once you have an optimized social profile on each social channel you plan to implement your social media marketing campaign. Let’s have some fun!
12 Steps to Social Media Marketing Success
We have identified the following 12 steps as being essential to the successful outcome of any social media marketing strategy and campaign, Based on your own unique circumstances you may need to adjust individual steps, but the overall approach works for any social media marketing campaign. Go on, give them a try!
Step 1 – Research Your Audience
Research and know your audience. What topics and interests are they most social about? How can you engage and provide solutions?
Step 2 – Choosing the Right Network and Platform
Only choose to utilize the networks and platforms that best speak to your audience.
Step 3 – Define Your Goals
State your key performance indicators (KPIs). What do you want your social efforts to accomplish? What does success look like in quantifiable terms?
Step 4 – The Playbook
Write a social media marketing playbook. The playbook should detail your KPIs, audience profiles, brand personas, campaign concepts, promotional events, contests, content themes, crisis management steps, etc. Note that the strategy should be unique to each platform.
Step 5 – Alignment
Align the members of your company or organization around the social media marketing plan. Assign responsibilities as to who is posting, who is responding, and who is reporting metrics.
Step 6 – Weekly or Monthly Scheduling
Take 30-60 minutes at the beginning of each week or month to schedule tweets, Facebook and Google+ posts, LinkedIn updates, pins, or any other social media content. These can be original ideas, links to your own work, or links to outside content that may be useful or of interest to your audience.
Step 7 – Create a Content Bank
Using a spreadsheet plan out the content topics, headlines, related links, desired scheduling, name of authors, and an area for management approval on every line.
Step 8 – Post
Post relevant content relating to newsworthy topics and events in a timely manner. It’s important to share opinions as soon as breaking news happens.
Step 9 – Differentiate
Treat all social channels separately. You shouldn’t be posting the same message across all channels, Remember who the audience is behind each platform.
Step 10 – Community Management
Assign someone to act as a customer service rep to be responsive to user-generated content and negativity. Don’t ignore comments and feedback!
Step 11 – Schedule Reporting
Depending on your goals reporting metrics can occur weekly, monthly, or bimonthly. Using social management apps or software like SproutSocial, Buffer, AgoraPulse, Hootsuite, and Parllay and integrating Google Analytics will provide you with even more data, for FREE!
Step 12 – Tweak as Needed
Re-analyze your plan on a regular basis. If something in your social media marketing strategy isn’t working, switch it up or A/B test content to determine what your audience responds to better. Here are some common social media mistakes you need to avoid completely!
Getting Started with Social Media Marketing
If you have not yet started on your social media marketing campaign you can skip this step. But if your brand is already engaging on various social platforms and networks you should run a complete social audit.
Knowing how many “Likes” and “Followers” you have is only the tip of the iceberg in social media. Social media experts drill down deep into your social media presence and determine exactly who you are reaching, how they engage with you, and where there is room for improvement. Simply provide the links to your existing social media profiles and your social media audit should only take a few days. Reach out to us if you are ready to get started!
Do It Yourself
If you have the time and inclination you can certainly run your own social media marketing campaign. This approach generally works best for individual professional service providers and small businesses mainly focusing on 1-3 social channels. Here are some of the most popular social platforms and how they can fit into your social media marketing strategy.
A less known, but very effective way to do your social media marketing is to have your brand advocates do it for you. You know, your friends, your happy customers, your mom. I know you have at least one of those! Brand advocates range from friends recommending a great happy hour, clients posting on Yelp or LinkedIn, to fans sharing your posts and recommending you on their social media networks.
For most brands this turns out to be the most cost-effective option. There has always been this misconception that social media is free. It really isn’t! Even if you do everything yourself you are spending your time and energy to research, curate, schedule and possibly even track your social media marketing. And your time costs money. You can see how there comes a time when your time is better spent doing things like running your business!
If you want to outsource you have a number of options,. If you have a strategy and simply need someone to execute it you can try an intern from your local college or university. Caveat: interns tend to leave at the end of the quarter or when a better job turns up.
A better option would be to engage a social media agency that can help you with multiple aspects of your social media marketing campaign. Ideally you want one that can offer you content creation and search engine optimization services in addition to social marketing.
How is Your Social Media Marketing Coming Along?
So, did you implement our social media marketing tips? And how did that work out for you? Did any of our tips stand out from the rest? Or was this simply overwhelming for you, and you ended up doing nothing at all? Hey, I understand!
If you are still not sure about social media marketing and what it can do for your brand don’t worry! Simply reach out and contact us. Our expert team will listen to you, answer your questions, and determine the best way for your business to get the social media marketing benefits you need in the digital age.
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By Gregor Schmidt
Co-Founder / Creative Technologist