These days, every business needs to utilize the power of social media in order to compete successfully. The huge popularity of social sites has made them a superior way to connect with customers and to network with others in your field or industry.
There are lots of businesses and individuals who are struggling with how to incorporate Social Media and it can all turn into a big mess very quickly if it is not set up and maintained professionally and efficiently.
Whether you outsource your social media management or manage it in-house, in order to have the best success, planning your strategy carefully, and documenting it, is key.
Below are seven essential framework components for an effective social media marketing strategy.
Essential # 1 – Executive Summary
This may be the only document your CEO or a prospective investor may review so it should be written as a summary of all of the components of your plan.
Begin with a general overview of your intentions for the social media marketing strategy. You will want to create short sections that address the problem, the solution, the opportunity, competitive advantages, a handful of bullet points that describe how you will monetize social media, who the core members of the team are, the economics of social media marketing, and funding required and the milestones the organization hopes to achieve using the funds.
This may also include elements such as customer outreach, integration with your existing websites and blogs, distribution of digital content (if relevant), and development of customer loyalty through engagement.
Essential # 2 – Goals and Objectives
Next, consider what the primary goals and objectives of the strategy will be. This may depend on your area of business – for example, if you are an author, one objective may be to connect with your fans. In general, the three goals of any marketing strategy are to raise brand awareness, to engage customers and build a community, and to transform anonymous traffic into customers.
Essential # 3 – Target Audience
Your target audience is your current customers and potential customers, who should be described in detail in this section. One of the goals being to gain new customers, you may need to do some research to determine what the demographics are of your potential customer base.
Essential # 4 – Locations and Sites
Here, detail on which social networking channels you intend to develop a presence. While it is advisable to participate in all the major sites, you must consider the time required to keep up.
It is important to research and consider social sites that are indigenous to your and your target markets’ niche. As social media grows, there are more and more networks added almost monthly.
You will be reaching your target audience with your messages and posts in the places where they prefer.
Having a presence that is erratically updated, or used only for advertising purposes without engaging your followers, is worse than not having a presence at all.
Tip: It makes sense to at least secure your business name at the main sites, to keep others from taking it and to have it on hand when you are able to begin participating.
Essential # 5 – Controls
Once you fully understand how followers and fans interact with your brand on the social networks you choose, you should detail what areas of each of the networks you will monitor. Many of these social sites will act as a “second home” to your website and the reactions to content your business posts should be closely monitored.
You be able to identify evangelists for your business fairly quickly if you listen and engage in that order.
Essential # 6 – Tactics
This is where you will describe in more detail what type of content you will include at each site. In this section, go into some detail about how each site will be used, including how often it will be updated, what interactions will be had with followers – such as question-and-answer sessions, promotional specials, and contests – and what followers will and will not be permitted to do.
It may also be worthwhile to come up with some ground rules about how you will handle any adverse events or inappropriate postings that might arise.
Your content creation efforts, if done properly, will result in leads to your site. Here’s an idea of how the social media content you create will effect your lead generation:
Essential # 7 – Reporting, Measuring, and Analytics (ROI)
In order to determine the effectiveness of your social media marketing, you need to gather and analyze data during the 3 distinct stages you set it up in: 1) Launch, 2) Management and 3) Optimization. You will collect number of visitors and followers, success rates of different types of promotions, and the like.
Much of this data is easily available to you by looking at your profile’s statistics. Keeping track of metrics such as these, and evaluating regularly for trends and shifts, will enable to you to adjust your strategy as needed.
Social media is effectively a requirement for any business that wants to stay competitive. By compiling a wise plan and strategy from the outset, you give yourself the highest chances of running a successful social media marketing campaign.
It should be done in writing so that it can be referred to, but can be rewritten at any time as new needs develop. It should be measured by taking into consideration how much your customers are worth to your business as compared to how much it will take for you to run a social media marketing campaign.
Bonus Essential #8 – Social Media Marketing Plan Graphic
It’s always a good idea to create a visual aid for easy reference. Here’s an actual rendering for one of our clients’:
How will these essentials help you to keep your social media on track and what other essentials does your plan include?
That’s a great article, I’ve been using twitter for a month now and I’ve been trying to learn new methods of engaging directly with our customers. This was very helpful, Thank you.
Great! If you need help–we offer these services! http://www.digistreammedia.com
I am in the process of developing my first social media marketing plan. This article is going to be extremely helpful in laying out all of my research in an effective format. Thank you!!
Great! If you need help–we offer these services! http://www.digistreammedia.com and our blog is: http://www.digistreammedia.com/our-blog
Social Media is for People, Real-Tine Brand Management is for Business. This article shows what a brand needs to do pretty well but does not show an actual way to accomplish this for a business today. The Social Office Suite is the best platform in the market to give you the tools you need to Build your Brand, Monitor your Brand and Develop your Online Community so you can Drive revenue. Here is a link to Why SOS is the right choice for a company of 1 or 100,000 http://portal.sliderocket.com/socialofficesuite/Why-Social-Office-Suite-2012-jpg
This article is a how-to/ what to include in framework for writing the social media marketing strategy as opposed to how-to do social media or real-time brand management…the platform you promote here is not exactly relevant but helpful for anyone looking to compare monitoring tools.
This is a very informative article on what happens when social media is working on all cylinders. I do think you should actually add curation in the mix. Just for an example this article is curated and made available from you and to other visitors. Then the actual curation is sent out into social media (ours) and could go through the exact process, or at least some if not all of the process thereby driving even more traffic back to the original piece of content. I think this is worth mentioning.
Curation is a tactic not framework for creating a plan…Thanks for keeping it top-of-mind tho for channels…
Thanks for taking time for sharing this article; it was excellent and very informative. Though you make some very fascinating points, you’re going to have to do more than bring up a few things that may be different than what we’ve already heard. Continue with the great work on the site. Thank you.
Not sure your comment is clear, but keep in mind that there are many different levels of knowledge and experience amongst us. If the shoe fits…wear it!
Thanks for such a comprehensive overview. As you’ve highlighted the need for a clear plan before launching into social media is essential. Hopefully this will become part of that canon known as ‘common knowledge’ in the future and no longer will companies just want to ‘do social media’, without really knowing what it is a tool for in the first place.
Social media is fine for telling things to customers, but the real beauty is really engaging with them. This two way process both strengthens your brand and provides your company with valuable insights about what the customer wants and expects from the organisation in the future.
Thanks for your appreciation Luke. You’ll probably really like this article: http://digistreammedia.com/2012/02/8-essential-steps-to-internet-marketing-part-i/
8 Essential Steps to Internet Marketing – Part I
It takes a look at the proper way to execute an online plan which should be done even prior to considering social media!
What an excellent post! You can not control you can not measure! I’m glad you mentioned about reporting, measuring, and analytics.
What an excellent post! You can not control what you can not measure! I’m glad you mentioned about reporting, measuring, and analytics.
Say thanks a lot for your efforts to have decided to put these things together on this blog. Excellent. Wonderful. What is interesting here is not just info, but style of presentation of information. Really Great.You has explained the matter and most importantly, you really have mastered the art of article publishing. Thank you.
Well, there are many more articles that may help you here and on my blog: http://www.digistreammedia.com/our-blog
Excellent post! Thanks for sharing this. I especially like the “Social Media Effect” flowchart. I think a lot of businesses underestimate the importance of having a strong website to convert all the leads they generate through social media. Marketing attracts, but your website should be the central place for conversions.
What an engaging and interesting article Jichél. You are correct to say that in order to compete successfully, business must utilize the power of social media. You offer insightful pointers to implement an effective social media marketing strategy. But have you considered incorporating social media marketing with important business functions such as conferences and events? As a Marketing Director at Cisco, I have found that integrating digital/social media marketing with conferences and events yields a positive and overall effective outcome. Digital and social media is an engaging way to increase user participation, interaction and interest before, during and after an event. This boosted interaction gets the user most importantly thinking after the event, which is the outcome that a business wants! Thanks again for the intelligent article, Jichél, I hope to see companies incorporate the power of social media marketing with other fundamental aspects of their business.
Lays it all out nicely. I will use this article as a checklist for my next campaign.
I agree that Social media marketing is a very powerful way to communicate with your customers about your products and services.
Check out my blog on Social Media Marketing – Facebook more addictive than beer in Goa?
Thanks for this valuable informations. It really helped me