Whether you’re a brand promoting products or services, a business trying to increase awareness of and interest in what you’re selling, or a startup clamoring for attention, you’ll need to be involved on some level with social media.
Here’s the bad news. It isn’t magic. You don’t flick a switch and turn it on and off. That’s advertising.
Social media has the potential to far outweigh the power of ads but effective social media marketing takes planning and hard work. Plain and simple.
Good old fashioned ground and pound, elbow grease, put your back into it hard work.
You have to be smart about your planning, tactics and strategies, but too many marketing professionals believe that social media is this supernatural, set-it-and-forget-it miraculous wonder that happens when you post updates on Facebook and Twitter.
Posting updates is only the 1st step. Well, actually it’s the 10th step, after:
- establishing your social media goals
- setting short and long term objectives or milestones
- planning your strategy, tactics and approach
- defining your audience
- developing your online voice
- determining which types of content your audience will be interested in, respond to and share
- creating the content (video production, graphics, photos, infographics, memes)
- deciding if there will be a paid promotional component
- writing and scheduling the updates and corresponding content
- Posting updates
YOU: What? I have to do all those things first?
ME: Yes, if you want it to work. Or, you could just post Instagram photos of your waffles every morning and tell people how excited you are to eat them.
YOU: Mmmmm waffles.
Now in the words of Buddy Ackerman, “shut up, listen and learn.”
YOU: Who’s Buddy Ackerman?
Assuming you’ve taken care of 1-10, here’s what’s next:
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Manage Your Community
The next step is community management. Circle back and see if anyone is interested in what you posted. Has anyone replied, commented or shared? Do they have questions? You need to act on that, and fast. People absolutely love it when they hear back personally from a brand, business or startup they follow.
Jack The Trends
On a daily basis, take a look through the news and upcoming events. Are there ways to tie them into your agenda using hashtags? Are you ballsy enough to “news jack” like Kenneth Cole and run the risk of a media backlash, or are you the play it safe type?
Aggressively Find New Audiences
Actively go after and engage your audience on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and don’t forget Google+, which happens to improve the search ranking of the content you post to the channel, especially among people logged into Google which is a lot of them.
YOU: What? But this is social media.
ME: I know, but you should do some paid promotion too
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn Google and many more channels all have various ways to promote your updates, videos and other content on a cost per impression or cost per click basis. This extends your reach and brings in new fans from outside your immediate social media networks. You don;t need to break the bank on this. Start slow, do A/B testing, and measure results.
Analytics / Tie Social Media Activity Back To Sales
This is the last step. You have to look at not only the numbers of followers and likes but how did this activity impact your bottom line… sales? Draw lines where you can between the activities that are working and increases in sales. Double down on the things that work and stop the ones that aren’t.
YOU: But what about those books that say I can do social media for one hour per day?
ME: They’re not factoring in the time required for steps 1-10, plus team meetings to discuss direction, go over analytics, make adjustments, create new content, look for new opportunities
Successful social media requires a significant investment of time and you can go one of three ways:
- Do it yourself
- Build an internal team to handle it led by a social media manager
- Hire a social media or PR agency to handle it for you