Social Media Strategies

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Many business owners and marketers are confused enough by the hype surrounding social media and are so frozen by choice that they do nothing.  Social Media isn’t hard to do, but it does take time and energy to do it well, so it is worth discussing where your energy is best spent. What strategy best suits your business type, and where your budget is best allocated.

5 steps to establishing your social media strategy

Step 1: Be very clear who your customers are

This is the core principle of marketing and sales, but often overlooked. So often I walk into a business and ask who their target markets are and they respond with ‘everyone’ or ‘all females’ or ‘every business owner’.  This is such rubbish! Just doing a simple sales analysis for your last quarter will quick reveal ‘segments’ of the broader market. For example…

  • Females, aged between ’25-35′, located in ‘City’, with interests in ‘xyz’
  • Service based businesses with turnover of $X, with staff size of X, located in X, in the x industry sector.

Without knowing this, you are going to waste a lot of time, energy and money building a useless social media presence. So, be crystal clear as to who you are directly targeting.

Step 2: Find out where your customers hang out

Now that you know who your customers are, it is much easier to pick the best Social Media channel to invest your marketing dollar. Is it Facebook, Linkedin, Youtube, Twitter, Pinterest or Google+? It is most likely a combination of several channels.

Here is a fantastic infographic explaining the demographics of the top Social Media channels

Different social media channels attract different genders and age groups. In a recent survey published by mashable, 57% of Facebook and 59% of Twitter users are women, while young tech savvy men are on Google+ (71%).  New kid on the block, Pinterest is heavily gender imbalanced with 82% of users being women. Of interest, 50% of Google+ users are 24 or younger. Linkedin is a must for B2B sales, with 49% of users over the age of 45 – this is a great place for targeted relationship selling in the service sector.

Step 3: Prepare (write) interesting content for your customers

No one (yep… ZERO) will engage with you in your chosen social media channels if you don’t have unique content that is relevant to them. Many business fail at this critical step.

There is no point in having a Facebook business page without adding content to it. Likewise, there is no point in having a Linkedin profile if your resume isn’t up-to-date.

Be mindful of type of content you publish in particular channels. For example, Facebook isn’t a place to blatantly push your product. You need to think of creative ways to enlighten, educate, entertain and connect with your ‘likers’.

Each channel has its own unique set of behaviours and etiquette that regular users abide by – get to know these rules BEFORE you engage.

So choose your content to suit your customer AND your channels. It could be an article, industry update, competition, newsflash, game, video, podcast, survey, coupon, or any combination of engaging ideas. This list is long, but don’t try anything too crazy to start with, just start doing something and test and measure.

Step 4: Switch on the channels

Ok, so now you know who you are targeting, where they are and what content you need to produce to establish a presence. Try to be unique, consistent and professional with your communication. Use each channel in a way that suits the market and the channel.

For example, in our experience, businesses with consumer brands do very well on Facebook if the brand has executed its strategy well. Likewise, savvy users of Linkedin build strong B2B relationships. It very much depends on your style of business, the risks you are prepared to take and the budget you have.

It can be disheartening in the beginning because building a critical mass of ‘likes’, ‘followers’ or ‘connections’ takes time. Artificially inflating your numbers by purchasing followers, whilst in the short-term may appear advantageous, will not result in any long-term benefit.

Stay committed and have patience. Facebook does have some powerful paid advertising tools to help promote your business pages and I thoroughly recommend using these.

Step 5: Distribute your content

Getting your content out on each channel can take time, especially if you plan to customise it to suit (which I would recommend). Approach it from the core, or the hub and then work your way out.

The hub is your website. Getting the majority of your content onto your website first is key to success. Using tools to track performance of the hub will then indicate if your content is successfully reaching your intended audience which in turn will help you reach your commercial goals.

Feed parts of your content to each channel and drive traffic back to the hub.

For example, update your Linkedin ‘Status’ that links back an article published on your website. Add the article to your Facebook newsfeed, add your ‘authorship’ from Google+, tweet the article title then email your database and watch your followers grow.

If your content is good quality and hits the mark, then you will see results. If not, analyse your statistics and approach it from a different angle.

My best advice is to start DOING SOMETHING! It takes time and effort to build a successful social marketing strategy so better to start today than wait for tomorrow.

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