I was reviewing a potential client’s social media campaigns last week and was struck by the wide range of post topics. Many had nothing to do with the business, its services, it’s people or its target audience’s interests. It appeared that the goal was to use social sites to attract an audience – any audience. There was no rhyme or reason to the type of content or the social networks used. Most importantly, no real dialogue was happening.
If you’re in the same boat as this business, don’t worry. You still have time to dock and consider these five steps to an effective social media strategy:
Social media channels are excellent marketing tools if used correctly. The trick is deciding what you want to get out of them. Perhaps you want to increase traffic to a blog or your website. Maybe social media can be used to generate leads. Or maybe it can be a platform to speak to existing customers, elicit their feedback and improve customer service.
Who do you want to reach on these platforms? Is it all end users? Media influencers? Pacific Northwest women who are or 25 to 45 years old? Once you know whom you’re trying to talk to, it’s time to pick the channels where you’ll connect with them.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, …. the list of social media sites is long. And few businesses have the time or manpower to use each effectively and consistently. Decide which work for your goals. For example, Facebook is great to increase brand recognition or request feedback on a new product. Twitter is a perfect tool to promote your latest blog post or drive targeted traffic to your website. Choose your sites wisely and remember that there is only so much time in the day – a stale Facebook page for example, is worse than not having one. Now that you have the why, who and where, it’s time to establish the what.
4. Choose your content wisely
Unlike the business I referred to, you need to know the type of content you want to share. If you’ve spent any time marketing online, you’ve heard the phrase “content is king.” This applies even more to social media, because there is often an immediate barrier – it’s a social setting. Who wants to be sold a new widget while perusing photos of friends on Facebook or finding the best beer-cheese soup recipe on Pinterest? I’ve often said that a website is your business and social media is your cocktail party. Make your content fun, interesting and something that your audience would want to share with a friend.
5. Measure your results
If you run a TV or radio commercial, you review how many people saw or heard your ad and monitor the ensuing sales boost. You need to do the same thing with your social media efforts. How much traffic was driven to your product pages? How many people retweeted your latest blog post announcement? How much is your overall reach growing on Facebook? Review your success metrics and how well each channel is hitting them. Then, as with any marketing campaign, optimize and remeasure.
Now, pull up the anchor and paddle on!