Social media is in the news a lot these days, in part fueled by the hype surrounding the Olympic Games in London, which are being billed as the “most social games ever.” Of course that’s true, since social media is a relatively new phenomena. I worry the hype will give the impression that social media marketing is something you can just turn on and off for an event and have success. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The reality is it takes time and effort to build a successful social media presence and create successful campaigns. One of the primary reasons businesses fail at social media is they tend to treat it like a wish list – it’s a great idea but they don’t put structure behind it.
Much like a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, when they don’t see immediate results, the effort often gets set aside.
Like any other component of your business, if you want to have success in social media, you need to plan for it. The good news, there are many models and templates out there you can refer to for setting up a plan. It’s important though to make sure you tailor the plan for you business and the available resources you have available. As you put your plan together, there are 5 “Must Haves” you need for social media marketing success:
This has been number one on several lists I have seen lately, and that is where it belongs. Social Media are great tools for attracting relevant prospects to your business website. But it takes time to build a following and engage folks. You don’t just flip a switch. In our own experience here at Weidert Group, we have seen a slow but steady buildup of our overall social media reach since we got more aggressive about a year ago. Our reach – which is a sum of all followers in all the channels we use – grows steadily at about 5 percent a month. To get that growth, we are publishing content on a daily basis. That takes time and resources that you must be ready to expend. For us, it’s paid off, with 27 percent of our leads coming from social media.
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Do you know where your potential prospects are? No matter how good your strategy is, if you are not getting the message in front of the right people, your efforts will be diluted. Do some research on the different social media channels to see where your prospects might be. If you’re a B2B, chances are LinkedIn is going to be a primary channel for you. B2Cs will want to expend more energy on Facebook. Important tip: Not all channels have equal importance for your business. Concentrate on the one or two services that have the greatest likelihood for success. You can always add others as necessary or as you develop your presence.
You have to have something to say that is meaningful, or those prospects won’t pay attention to you for long. Fresh content that speaks to your prospects pain points is mission critical. One of the tools we recommend is writing a good blog that you can then promote using your social media accounts. Other things to share include: whitepapers, case studies, press releases. If you can’t generate it yourself, find someone to generate it for you.
A simple, but critical, component of any strategy is a calendar to keep track of when and how you will use social media to distribute your content. In the beginning, your calendar will probably be a simple one, with both your content and distribution on it. A simple excel sheet will probably suffice. As you gain proficiency, you’ll need a more detailed calendar (or calendars) for content development and distribution.
The best way to maintain your commitment to social media is to create a good process for managing it in an allotted time. While it’s important to consistently commit the time, you also have to run your business. The best way to balance these demands is to setup a protocol of what you will do for social media each day and for how long and then stick to it. As a starting point, we recommend a protocol of just 30 minutes, a couple times a day. Again, as you gain proficiency, you will find that you can do more in less time. It’s a good starting point to keep it manageable.
As you put your social media marketing strategy together, there will be a lot of other elements you include. But if you build it around these five elements, you will have a fundamentally sound plan that will help you build long term success for your company.
Still need help? At Weidert Group, we offer a Social Media Jumpstart service that delivers a social media marketing action plan incorporating all of these elements along with step-by-step training to quickly build proficiency and success.
To learn more about using social media marketing to attract more relevant prospects for your business, please check out our FREE e-Book How to Enhance Your Internet Presence Using Social Media.