Contrary to popular belief, social media marketing isn’t rocket science. Neither is it just a walk in the park.
After spending a decade dabbling in social media marketing – from blogs to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest – I developed a systematic step-by-step process which you can use for your social media marketing efforts.
As the saying goes, fail to plan and plan to fail. Without a social media marketing plan, your efforts in harnessing the power of social networks may become an exercise in futility.
By putting in place a systematic and detailed social media marketing planning process, you greatly increase your chances of succeeding in this exciting new space.
So what are the steps needed to succeed in social media marketing? Where should you begin?
The first step you need to do is to uncover what your marketing challenges are. Consider the following questions:
By ascertaining where the problem lies, you can prioritise where your efforts and resources should be placed in your social media marketing journey.
Once you have identified where the gaps are, you need to define what you hope to achieve with social media marketing.
A disciplined way to do so is to tie in your goals with your objectives and metrics. This helps you determine if you have succeeded or failed in social media marketing.
For example, if your goal is to increase brand awareness online, then your objectives and metrics should support that goal. In this case, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) like the number of new fans, increase in post engagement, and growth in web traffic would support that goal.
This is illustrated in the infographic below.
After you have decided where you wish to go with social media marketing, you need to determine where you are now.
Often the process of conducting a social media audit and setting objectives go hand-in-hand. You cannot hope to fly to the Moon if you can’t even get your flying machine off the ground!
A comprehensive social media audit normally involves three key areas:
One of the most important things to do here is to conduct a keyword research exercise. This helps you to determine what your customers are searching for. You can use a tool like Google AdWords Keyword Planner to do so.
Courtesy of SEO Book
Like all other forms of digital marketing, social media marketing begins with the story of your brand.
In the digital age, social branding is about creating both a Unique Value Proposition (UVP) and a Unique Story Proposition (USP). It is about starting a grassroots movement amongst your communities, and building a long-term relationship forged on trust and likability.
To storify your brand, it is useful to consider the following:
This is the stage where hard decisions need to be made. While it is true that every social channel has its allure, it is not wise to be a Jack of all social networks but a master of none.
Consider the following pointers when you evaluate which social channel to be in:
Following the selection of your social channel, you need to work on the social content itself. You can consider adopting the 80/20 rule in content creation here, as well as other best practices in written and visual content.
Here, there are four key aspects to consider:
Content alone isn’t going to cut it if nobody cares about what you have to say. This is where the “social” aspect of social media comes into play.
To grow your brand’s influence on social media, you need to build and grow your online communities. This involves a process of nurturing your fans, sharing invaluable content, responding to their feedback, and engaging with them actively on a daily basis. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and policies governing social media engagement needs to be established here.
Beyond managing your social media pages and accounts, you need to also work with influencers. Through the process of influencer marketing, you can expand your reach beyond your immediate communities for specific social media campaigns.
The old adage you cannot manage what you don’t measure rings especially true in the age of “measurable” marketing. In social media marketing, a whole range of KPIs should be developed.
These would include the following:
Put all of these metrics together and you can work out your social media marketing ROI – a topic which I’ll cover in later posts.
Last but certainly not least, you need to manage and execute your social media marketing plan.
Once again, there are several points here that merits careful consideration:
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