Creating a marketing program that integrates social media is easier than you think. There IS a standard framework that can be applied to help ensure your efforts go smoothly. By following the steps below, you can build a marketing program that is complete and matches the needs of your organization.
1. Figure out what “success” looks like for your organization.
Every organization will have different goals when it comes to social media. What is most important for yours – is it a flow of new sales prospects? Enhanced customer service? Mentions and sharing? Open Discussion? Simply getting an idea of what your customers and prospects are interested in? Spend some time developing your key indicators.
2. Make sure there is executive buy-in.
If the leadership in your team or at the highest levels of your organization are not supportive of your efforts, the entire campaign may end up being a failure if starved of needed resources. Before starting your campaign, make sure there is agreement at all the levels necessary to execute your program.
3. Determine your primary audience.
By carefully examining who you want to talk to before starting your campaign, you will save valuable time and energy. If you are a B2B organization, your primary audience could be your industry partners or suppliers, or perhaps existing customers and prospects. For B2C companies or non-profit groups, it could be potential customers, members of a particular interest community, or something else.
4. Listen first.
After determining your audience, take time to listen to their existing social media conversations. This should give you an idea of their interests, perceptions and their opinions on your industry and perhaps even your company. Research gathered at this stage can be used to help build your marketing tactics.
5. Don’t just broadcast. Engage and build value.
This is social media. You are here to engage with others, so engage! Create conversations, or find existing ones and share content relevant to them. Offer value to your audience and they will respond. Simply blasting out marketing blather no longer works as it did in “old media.”
6. Work across channels.
Make sure that your tactics employ as many social channels as you have time and resources to engage in – but only those that you can dedicate the necessary time for. By engaging across channels, the entire program you create can be stronger overall, because connecting each channel (Twitter to Facebook, for example) can increase the interest on each.
7. Mix content types.
Your social media marketing plan should include as many different types of content as possible, from longer-form text to short snippets to photos, infographics, video and anything else you can think of to share. Keep mixing them to keep your overall content fresh and interesting to your audience.
8. Measure, Measure, Measure!
At each stage of your campaign, make sure that you are taking the necessary steps to measure the results of your tactics. Measure continuously against your initial goals to see what kind of progress has been made and what, if any, adjustments are necessary. Maintain your social media listening activity to gauge shifts in audience perceptions as well.