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As with any business strategy, you need a plan for success and social media is no different. In order to effectively utilize social media as a viable marketing strategy for your business you must have a plan in place. “Failing to plan is planning to fail” says Alan Lakein a well- known author on personal time management. This simple quote applies in business as well. Just as you have a business plan and a marketing plan you need a social media marketing plan. Therefore when you are writing your plan for “getting social” you need to consider 5 important elements to ensure success. After all, there’s nothing worse than spending your time and efforts on something that simply is not useful for your business. Social media can be a very effective tool for small businesses when used the right way.
Let’s explore the top 5 key elements you need in your social media marketing plan.
First and foremost you must figure out what your overall goal is for using various communications channels on line. You can use social platforms to build your brand on-line, sell a product or service, or interact with your customer base. Whatever your goal is, your content should align with your objectives. Your primary reason for being in business is to address a need or solve a problem held by a specific group of people, i.e. your target audience. Therefore, your on-line strategy should also address the wants and needs of your target audience.
Which Media Outlets to Use:
There are so many platforms to choose from. However, it is critical to know which social media sites are best for your business type and your target demographic. Determining which social media outlets to use is a major source of contemplation for many small business owners. The best way to get clear on what social media sites your company should use is to figure out where your prospects and ideal clients hang out. The easiest way to do this is by conducting a survey to simply ask your followers the top 3 social media sites they use. It is much easier to get this information up front, than to spend time using social platforms where you get little engagement or following.
Your Content Must Be Engaging:
Ever heard the saying “content is king”? Well this applies to social media as well. Your content must educate and inspire a reaction and a response. It is important to provide information to your target audience in a unique and compelling manner. Of course, no matter what industry you’re in, there are hundreds and even thousands of people sharing information on the same subject, so you must figure out a way to stand out and make your content unforgettable.
Your Customer Service Policy:
Of course customer service can make or break a company’s reputation. Your customers must feel as if you value their business in order to continue buying your products or services. It is the same with social media, your social media followers and fans must feel as if you are responsive to their needs. Your social media plan must include how you will handle customer concerns and complaints on-line. In addition, you must assign someone to be responsible for your on-line communications strategy who knows the pulse of your business and how to engage with potential and current customers.
A System for Measuring Results:
When it gets right down to it, success must be measured in order to grow. Your plan should include some type of metrics to gauge effectiveness as it relates to your overall on-line goals and objectives. You must determine how well you achieved what you initially set out to do. Was your goal to acquire a certain amount of sales each month or quarter? Did you use a new sales promotion or tactic? How well did it work? Was your goal to attain a certain number of followers or fans? Did you meet that amount or fall short? Based upon how well you achieved your goal, you must give your company a grade to determine where there is room for improvement. Having a measuring system in place will help you to determine how effective your plan is.
Social media is certainly a viable marketing tool but should not be the only marketing strategy you utilize if you want to have sustainable growth in your business. In order for your company to achieve success, you must plan your social media marketing just as you would anything else.
Your assignment: If you don’t have a plan for how you will utilize on-line networks, create one based on the objectives you want your company to achieve on-line. If you have a plan, review it for effectiveness.
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