It doesn’t matter if you’re a Fortune 500 company or a Mom & Pop bakery, if you plan to have success with your social media marketing you better have a strategy that is researched, planned and ready to be executed seamlessly.
Like your other internet marketing strategies, you should start by researching or auditing your current efforts. Where are you at this point in your social media marketing? Do you have an established presence on one network, two networks, three networks?
Figure out which social networks you can be most effective on. For example, if you don’t have the resources to Tweet 5-10 times a day, you should focus primarily on Facebook, and if you happen to be a strong writer, you should begin a corporate blog to speak more casually to your customers etc.
You should define your target market and ask yourself “What would I want out of this Facebook page if I was a customer?” and more importantly, “Why the heck would I follow this company?” This honesty will allow you to figure out what your customers seek… is it deals? Product information? Latest news? Or just some interesting content?
By researching your target, you can also clearly identify a ‘personality’ or voice that your social media efforts can portray. You can position your business as if you were a part of your target. You know your customers better than anybody, so speak to them as if you were one of them.
Are they humorous teens or suave business men or women? Figure out what interests your customers have and begin to start the conversation around these interests. If you know they are sports fans, make some updates about your favorite team and ask them what their favorite team is. If they are financial advisors, you better be checking out Wall Street Journal regularly to identify yourself with your customers, and asking for your customer’s opinions on some current affairs in the world market.
You should also set goals and expectations for your social media marketing efforts. Define your objective. Do you want more website traffic? Do you want to shift your customer service efforts to Facebook? Are you looking to get more Likes? Obviously, all three of the aforementioned could be a part of your objective, but you must clearly define 1-2 objectives that you’d like to see in the short-term, as well as the long-term.
Obviously, these are just the basics of effective social media strategies, but they will help you improve your engagement levels because your customers will begin to trust your ‘voice’ and opinion if they can relate with you, and will begin to join in your conversation.