What goes into developing a successful social media strategy?
In a recent webinar with Thomas Varghese, the founder of eBizUniverse, he answers this question by examining the essential elements of a business-oriented social media strategy.
Varghese has consulted for major fortune 500 companies and is a very sought after marketing expert and speaker. His online marketing agency works with a variety of small businesses, non-profits, government organizations and media companies.
The following notes from the webinar outline five considerations to develop a profitable social media plan of action.
The number one thing that you want to focus on is connecting with your audience. This does not mean that you have to have the largest following or a massive number of likes. It means that you are actively engaging and cultivating connections with them by:
– Identifying your target audience and influencers in the space.
– Discovering the platforms that they are using.
– Tuning into what they are talking about and what they are interested in.
– Learning how and where they are talking about your topic online.
– Joining the conversation and sharing relevant and interesting content.
– Share and engage with influencer and audience content.
As you get going with social media, an effective tactic is to use it to demonstrate your expertise in your industry and establish yourself as a thought leader. Connect with your audience with open-ended questions to start a conversation. Show that you are listening and humanize your interactions.
Just like any marketing strategy, your social media efforts should be aligned with specific goals. If you are unsure of what you want to get out your social media activity then you may want to start by asking yourself a few questions:
– Why am I choosing to work with this social media channel?
– Am I here to raise awareness?
– Do I want to build a community?
– Am I trying to acquire new customers?
– Is my strategy aimed at increasing brand awareness?
After you have clearly defined your goals you have to find a tool to measure the return on your investment. Whether you are working to build followers, traffic to your website or another type of engagement you need to measure the results.
Each month it is important to create content with your audience in mind. This involves planning for events, conferences, telling stories, etc. This type of highly shareable content should offer value to your followers and scheduling the posts to go out at strategic intervals will support relevant and timely sharing.
Once you have your plan in place, you can often schedule messages to go out weeks or months later. This does not mean that you can put your social media efforts on autopilot but this type of planning can produce very effective results. You should also be sure to monitor outgoing content and activity and incorporate fresh and real-time posts into the mix.
With social media marketing we should always be striving to create engagement.
One of the main ways that this is achieved is through visual content such as photos and videos. The rate of engagement goes up dramatically when you pair written messages with visual content. Engagement can also be encouraged through questions, promotions, contests, quizzes and other types of campaigns.
In addition to providing value, having fun should also be on the agenda. Even if you’re a serious business you can still bring some fun into the strategy. As you are looking to start the engagement process, sometimes one of the most effective means to achieve this is by finding and joining a conversation that has already been started about your industry.
While your expectations might shift as you tweak and fine-tune your social media strategy, it is still important to set targets.
This involves allocating a specific budget and monitoring your ROI to see if it meets your expectations. This makes it possible to improve your campaigns to meet your goals and support your overall marketing strategy.