image (60)Social Media Marketing is more than just setting up a Facebook Page or Twitter account and posting updates when you have the time.  It is also not a forum for the direct sales pitch.  It is a powerful tool that when used correctly can create leads and sales for your business.

In order to reap the benefits of Social Media Marketing there are 4 areas that must be considered.

Strategy – Developing a solid strategy or “game plan” is the key to any worthwhile endeavor.  And while the ultimate goal may be sales, the using social sites to “pitch” your products will probably backfire.  Social Media is not the place for direct sales. A winning strategy generates leads by involving the audience. This requires interesting, well-planned content.

Campaign –Once the strategy has been formulated, the campaign is launched.  While it is important to stay true to the goals and company “brand,” how friends and followers interact with the sites must be considered.  Content should be adapted to fulfill their expectations. This is what pulls people in to become customers and loyal followers.

Creativity – A Social Media Marketing campaign must be creative.  The right balance of original, educational, informative, interesting, amusing, or even controversial content will spark engagement.  While information about the company is important, it is often the unexpected, funny or quirky content that gets shared. This attracts new friends and followers.  Creative content gets the conversation started, which can turn followers into ambassadors (or even sales people).

Analytics – As with any marketing plan the efforts should be measured.  While ROI for Social Media can be a bit vague, the content and engagement on the Social accounts can be tracked and measured.  This enables you to tweak your content to make it both valuable and sharable.

Social Media Marketing has matured over the last few years. People expect companies not only to be present on social sites, but to be fully committed to keeping the sites interesting and worthwhile.  Companies that understand and use Social Media Marketing appropriately will ultimately be rewarded with satisfied customers, eager to share their experience with their friends.