Develop a Social Media Plan and Implement It
A virtual sales team. That's what happens when you allow your customers to recommend your products and services. The more fans you create, the more likes you motivate, the more shares you inspire —your contacts will reach out to friends and relatives who'll promote your firm.
So what's your strategy?
- To reach and engage existing and potential clients.
- To spread the word about your products and services.
- To continue to have a vibrant and interactive social media presence.
- To maintain a professional image.
- To include links to your website.
- To keep in mind that social media isn't a set-it-and-forget-it kind of marketing tool: Consistent participation is necessary for success and to build a fan base and reputation.
Engaging your audience means retweeting and commenting on others' participation, besides adding your own content. Remember that social media focuses on the user base: Provide information that's relevant and useful to your existing and potential clients — a topic about your industry, for instance.
Ask your customers to take part in the conversation: People may be more likely to engage if they're invited.
- Ask a specific question.
- Suggest that people submit photos using your product.
Today, people are able to interact, learn, investigate and make purchases online. Your followers, fans and connections have a lot of influence on their families and friends.
Your ability to influence depends on two factors: your credibility and your reach. A strong, professional and engaging social media presence adds to your credibility. Your reach can expand beyond the number of fans, followers and connections you have as they share your content, products and services within their circles.
What if your strategy works too well and you have such vibrant social media activity that it's taking too much time and energy? You may start dreaming about bringing someone on board to manage it — part or full time.
What can you expect your social media manager to do?
- Supervise day-to-day social media activities.
- Manage your firm's reputation and client relationships.
- Update accounts.
- Add posts and images.
- Respond to users' comments, tweets and other interactions.
- Respond to complaints.
- Collect data and analyze results to figure out where social media efforts should be concentrated to increase your return on investment.
- Spearhead a promotion or organize a contest.
Look for someone who's knowledgeable and passionate about social media, with:
- Strong writing and editing skills.
- A background in customer service, sales and/or marketing.
- The ability to problem solve.
- Excellent listening skills.
As opposed to marketing methods of the past that simply involved casting a wide enough net to catch some fish, social media lets potential clients find you. It's a less intrusive marketing technique and allows you to spread your message across the internet. Cross-promoting social accounts can extend the reach of content.
And once you move beyond just counting likes or friends, you can move on to focusing on advanced metrics:
- Leads generated — delivering a fresh batch of warm leads is a surefire way to turn the right heads.
- Web referrals/share of traffic driven — see the share of traffic being driven by each channel.
- Conversion rates — examine the ratio of comments per post to the number of overall followers or page likes that you have to determine whether your audience is compelled to add their voice to the content you post on social media.
Get inspiration from what others in your industry are sharing, and see how you can distinguish yourself from competitors and appeal to prospects you might be missing. Companies in every industry imaginable have managed to bring attention to themselves through advanced social media strategies. See whether they've shared any social media advice or insights that spark ideas for your company.
Your social media marketing plan should be constantly changing. As new networks emerge, you may want to add them to your plan. Rewrite your social media strategy to reflect your latest insights, and make sure your team is aware of what has been updated.