Social media marketing is a trend from which no one can escape. In some cases, social media platforms are used to communicate random messages, which do not directly support the organization's marketing strategy. Evidently, maintaining social media pages can be a time consuming and expensive task, and this investment must be justified. In this sense, a social media strategy represents an intelligent, rational way to protect resources, grasp every opportunity, and lay the ground for a positive return on investment.
A promising social media strategy depends on a coherent, sustainable, and solid social media marketing plan. This document guides the design, development, and maintenance of a social media strategy. The plan, which should be concise and clear, also helps the team comprehend the strategy and facilitate its implementation.
First of all, besides following a popular trend, there must be a valid reason to put social media marketing into practice. In other words, the social media strategy should pursue a well-defined objective: Create brand awareness, boost traffic to a website, increase subscriptions, etc. Moreover, this objective must directly support the broad marketing strategy of the organization. It is important to notice that, without a measurable plan, determining the return on investment turns almost impossible. Moreover, a solid objective entails and triggers relevant actions, besides mere "likes" or "tweets."
If your organization has already performed social media activities and has built a significant audience, the next step is to analyze and determine the elements that have generated positive results and those that wasted your resources. Similarly, proceed by studying the characteristics of the audience. Identify the segments of the audience that responded actively. This analysis also entails a close inspection of the social networks in use; the goal is to determine which sites were particularly relevant, suitable, and useful for the business and its audience. In this context, each social media platform has a different purpose, which is taken into consideration to define content specifications, call-to-actions, and the overall marketing approach.
A proper understanding and appreciation of the audience is vital. A company or organization that thinks and acts strategically is one that reviews the information obtained through research and articulated in the business plan. Besides the fundamental elements, which include demographic and socioeconomic data, psychological and other behavioral aspects play a critical role. Figure out how your audience interacts with you and the type of engagement you need. Also, identify the incentives that prompted this audience to follow you and interact with you in the first place. Create a profile of each major group to facilitate this process.
Know your audience on a deeper level, including their habits, online behavior, and interaction in social media sites. Determine the type of content that triggers interest and exhorts engagement: Retweets, likes, comments, shares, etc. Also, pay attention to the interaction that your competitors achieve with their audience. Doing so should help you recognize suitable alternatives and prepare initiatives. Finally, find inspiration from industry leaders and recognize the type of the content, incentives, personality, and voice they used to engage.
The content plan embodies one of the fundamental elements of a social media strategy. It specifies the characteristics required to create original content and curate content from secondary sources. In doing so, this document establishes the format to be used: Blog posts, infographics, videos, images, promotions, etc. The content plan also consists of a calendar with dates and times, scheduling updates and uploads; moreover, the content selection should reflect the purpose established for each social platform by the organization.
Maintaining a constant measuring and analysis system helps you invest wisely in social media marketing. Doing so provides the necessary information to determine the return on investment. Besides, this procedure discloses the type of content, times, call-to-actions, incentives, and segments that produced greater participation and exposure. In other words, it shows how well the social media strategy accomplished the objectives and supported the organization's broad marketing plan.
By investing in social media marketing blindly, you risk your resources and miss important opportunities. When strategized properly and wisely, social media marketing has the potential to create awareness, boost exposure, increase quality leads, and even foment and maintain loyalty. How smart is your social media marketing strategy?
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