What to Include In Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
A well planned and executed social media marketing (SMM) strategy takes you where your users and buyers are. It lets you share the voice of your organization, get real time feedback for your products, create an instant buzz for your new product offerings, build customer loyalty, and reach an informed target audience. The great thing about a well carried out SMM strategy is that it requires very little financial investment from your side.
I) What to Include In Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
An effective SMM strategy will leverage all quality online social hubs where users and customers meet and converse. A good SMM portfolio includes a presence on diverse and multimedia social sites. Let’s take a look at the key elements of a good SMM strategy.
- Social Networking Sites
There are various social networking sites where you can create profiles to connect with your target audience directly. Create a Facebook fan page. Create tweets and retweets on Twitter. Create your organization’s profile on Linkedin. According to statistics released by Facebook, the social networking website has around 500 million active users, of which around 50% log in every day for commenting or browsing. A Facebook fan page thus makes a lot of sense to reach an active online audience. On the other hand, Twitter has real time updates and news-worthy tweets that even search engines show in their search results. The tweets about your products are quickly read and responded to by other users. A Twitter account to respond to and create a buzz about your product is therefore essential. Linkedin is accessed by a variety of professionals and businesses looking to connect and research for work and business. Hence, a Linkedin account for your organization is great for networking within the industry or with vendors.
- Blogs, Microblogging
Blogs give you a wide platform to talk about key issues. Blogs are also a great way of bringing traffic to your main website. For an effective blog, you need to post fresh and relevant content frequently, monitor and respond to comments, create internal links, and build a community of loyal readers. Microblogging through sites like Twitter also lets you send short, crisp updates.
Some famous company blogs are www.engadget.com, googleblog.blogspot.com, blog.facebook.com & en.community.dell.com/dell-blogs/default.aspx. If you want blogs related to SEO, you can check out searchengineland.com, www.seomoz.org/blog or www.searchenginejournal.com.
- Online Videos
Websites like Youtube have created a whole new arena for multimedia interaction. Sharing and viewing videos is now, not just an activity enjoyed by individuals for their own pleasure, but also a great way for an organization to share information about its products. Organizations have found sharing interesting and related videos on Youtube to be a great way of ensuring continual, sustained interest of the target audience. You can upload interviews of your top management, share presentations, or even share videos of social or business events in your organization. When Intel uploaded fun and digitally enhanced videos of its Consumer Electronics Show exhibit, it not only created a buzz but also ensured users got to know about its new Core Duo processor.
- Photosharing, Slide Sharing
Sharing relevant and interesting images with your user base also helps in creating pleasant, long-term associations. The images can be about widely anticipated events like a product launch, celebrity associations, or the organization’s internal events. Websites like Flickr have an active user base and can be leveraged for this purpose.
Slide sharing, on the other hand, directly appeals to the user’s needs by sharing information that they need and would use in their business. If your organization has conducted any good-to-know research, you can share the findings online. You can also share your presentations, slides, and reports through websites like Slideshare and Scribd.
As per Podcast.com, “Podcasting is the method of broadcasting audio files over the internet which can be downloaded and listened to via your computer and/or portable music player. The reason why podcasting is linked directly with the name iPod is due to strictly to the familiarity of origin of the word wherein people first began downloading music audio files to listen to them on their iPods.“. Podcasting can help you reach more users to promote your products and services. Many users find podcasts a great way of staying in touch with new developments while on the move. Websites like Blip let you conveniently share your podcasts. Other famous podcast sites are podcast.com & Apple’s Itunes Podcast.
II) Points to Consider Before Formulating a Social Media Marketing Strategy
The sites mentioned above are very useful and can change the path of your organization towards tremendous success. However, if done without proper planning these same sites and strategies can backfire as well. The most important thing for you to do before you begin charting out an SMM strategy, is that you first need to fully understand the status quo of your organization’s online presence. Here are a few things to consider before you formulate a social media marketing strategy:
- Analyze your online presence:
o Use metrics to find out more about your online presence. You need to ask questions like: What is the total count of visitors on my site? Where do they come from? How many of them are directed by search engines?
o Find out how often your website gets linked by other sites.
o Check how often you post fresh content.
o Find out if you have an active presence in target markets.
o Rate yourself vis-à-vis your competitors in the online environment. Find out what your competitors are doing better than you, and also what you are doing better.
o Check your status on social networking sites. Do you have a presence already that needs to be optimized? Or, do you need to start from scratch?
- Define and analyze your target audience:
o Check where your target audience generally interact more.
o Check what keywords they are using.
o Find out what they need, and where their interests lie.
- Identify and analyze what you want from your SMM strategy:
o Check the enthusiasm and commitment of your top management and marketing department for having a dedicated SMM strategy. In case the commitment seems inadequate, discuss and educate till you get a dedicated and informed agreement.
o Assign responsibility to the correct department, whether it is PR, marketing, communications, or other. Create a team with well defined goals regarding your SMM strategy. This may mean creating micro-goals like number of blog posts per week, time duration set for responding etc.
o Study the existing sites and find out where you need to focus your attention the most.
o Create measurable target goals of what you want to achieve from your SMM strategy.
III) Monitoring Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
For your SMM strategy to pay you long-term dividends, you need to make sure you have practices and checks in place that ensure efficient execution and a quick response. The following measures will help you ensure responsiveness and professional interaction:
- A query, tweet, or a comment requiring clarification on the Facebook page, blog, or other portals must be replied to within 24 hours.
- Blog posts, tweets must be of high quality and value and/or knowledge enhancing. The content in your posts should be good enough to get linked by other sites.
- Blog posts must be frequent enough to sustain interest.
In case of critical comments, it’s better to respond to them immediately and fairly. Negative comments need not always be deleted or removed. If you suspect trolls or deliberate misinformation, one way of ensuring more transparency is by creating a Login requirement for posting comments on your blog.
Start your journey now!
Remember, the beginning may be slow. It takes time to engage your audience and build loyalty. Keep your interactions transparent, fair, and timely. With a continual engagement in diverse social media tolls, you will be soon rewarded with a vibrant, online community for your organization.