You have a social media marketing strategy, don’t you?
Sorry I had to ask, but I worked with small businesses long enough to learn that most of them don’t really have any clear social media marketing strategy that is tied to their business objectives as well as their overall marketing strategy!
A while ago, I wrote a follow up post to an article that was published on USA Today entitled “Social media a bust for small businesses”. That post was the confirmation that while there are several reasons why social media isn’t working for small businesses, the biggest of them all is not having a plan at all.
Many small businesses join social media just because of media pressure. They hear that everyone is recommending it, so they feel obligated to join the bandwagon because they’re afraid that they’ll be left behind.
This is not necessarily what results in social media failing their businesses, but rather their approach to joining social media.
They first hear that Facebook is great and go instantly create a Facebook page and start spending a ton of time on the platform. Then they hear from another “Social media GURU” that Pinterest is all the rage and they can’t help it but join the platform as well, and before they realize, they’ll be spread too thin wasting their valuable business resources on activities and platforms that will never justify their investment!
The right way to go about this is to have a well researched strategy that serves your business objectives. This will make sure that the resources you invest in this strategy will eventually pay off.
That being said, here are 3 essential elements that no social media marketing strategy can survive without:
Clear Business Objectives
You’d be surprised of the response I sometimes get when I ask business owners of the business goals they want to achieve from social media.
“I want to get 10,000 likes on my Facebook page”.
Since when acquiring 10,000 fans is a business objective?
One of the biggest mistakes small business owners do when starting to use social media to market their businesses is to concentrate on what I call “Vanity Metrics” and forget about real bottom-line metrics.
Unless those 10,000 fans will help you improve your bottom-line, they’re only good for your ego!
According to Jason Falls, the CEO of Social Media Explorer, there are 7 business objectives that could be achieved from social media:
- Improving brand awareness.
- Protecting your reputation.
- Enhancing your PR.
- Extending your customer service.
- Building a community of advocates.
- Conducting research and development.
- Driving leads and sales.
You don’t necessarily have to choose one goal or the other; because you can choose whatever objectives you want as long as you keep in mind that each approach to achieving those goals is different.
Accurate Buyer Personas
Having accurate buyer personas is probably the most important thing not only in your social media marketing strategy but also your overall business and marketing strategy.
Throwing something and hoping that it sticks isn’t the way to go here!
If you want your strategy to be profitable from day one, you need to know your ideal customer like you know the back of your hand.
Every single tactic you’re going to implement to get more customers for your business relies on your buyer personas. The more accurate they are, the more you know exactly what is needed to attract and convert your prospects into paying customers.
Buyer personas also help you learn where and when your ideal customers are spending time online so you can target them accordingly. Having this knowledge will ensure that no effort will go into waste!
Integrating Social Media
Yeah, social media is great, but there is no way it can function on its own.
I sometimes ask prospects of their marketing strategy to attracting clients or customers. Many of them tell me something like:
“I intend to use Facebook to get customers”.
How do you plan to get customers through Facebook, I ask?
“You know, we post great content and promote our products and services regularly”, they reply!
While this can work in some cases, most of the times, it won’t work. You know why?
Because social platform aren’t the best place when it comes to direct sales.
Email on the other hand has been proven to be very effective when it comes to converting leads into paying customers.
As you can see in the inbound marketing funnel above, social media’s greatest power is in getting awareness for your business, while email’s power is closing leads and turning them into customers.
This means that social media should work with other mediums in synchrony in order for it to produce the maximum results.
That being said, I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Leave a comment bellow!
Houssem Daoud is a social media marketing consultant and the founder of High Quality Social Media. If you need a more detailed process to designing the perfect social media marketing strategy for your business, then grab his free 80 pages+ ebook.