Many businesses both big and small fail at profiting from implementing a social media strategy. Remember, social media isn’t a separate part of your marketing efforts. It must be integrated into your overall marketing strategy for social medial to be effective.
I have developed a simple 9 step process to consider when building any marketing plan and in particular a social media marketing plan (see Figure 1 below).
Understanding Your Customers
Knowing your customers will help you assess the types of media to consider. And, the emphasis to place on each. Are your customers older? Are they more likely female? Where are they likely to purchase/shop?
Where Are You Now?
Who are your competitors and what are they doing promotionaly. What is their market share compared to yours. What is your market potential?
A great blog article on helping you understand the steps to market sizing is: How to Effectively Determine Your Market Size
Conduct a SWOT Analysis
Strengths - Do you have better customer service, better technology, bigger name recognition?
Weaknesses - Do you have fewer locations than your competitor, lower perceived value?
Opportunities - Are you moving into a unique and niche market? Is your competitor less nimble and capable of change?
Threats - A new competitor could move in quickly, no patent, easy entry.
Check out the following article to help you lay out an effective SWOT analysis: Discover New Opportunities, Manage and Eliminate Threats
What are you trying to achieve here:
- Increase the customer base
- Increase sales
- Reduce attrition
- Enhance awareness
Know Your Audience
Detail your segments for targeting and the unique qualities of each regarding demographic, psycho- graphic and behavioral data. This will be key to understanding the most appropriate social media strategy for each segment.
Select Your Social Media Channels
There are four dimensions you will need to consider here for purposes of building an effective strategy.
1. What social media channels make the most sense for your segments? Consider setting a priority of which social media to implement first, second and third. Especially if there are budget and resource constraints. This is very important. But, do NOT make the mistake of thinking you must be in every social media channel available. Some may not make sense for your business model.
2. Next think about if you will need a blog or a YouTube Channel? There are many other beneftis to blogging such as SEO and link building. Here is a great article by Search Engine Journal that may help: 7 Ways Businesses Benefit from Blogging
3. What about gamification of your brand or service? For example, badges for completing so many tasks. Serves as a great retention tool. Check out this article: How to Gamify Your Marketing
4, And lastly, do you need to worry about monitoring ratings? Do coupon sites make sense? What about social commerce?
Ensure a Good User Experience (UX)
As you lay out your plan, ensure you are representing the brand consistently across all channels both social, digital and traditional regarding the look, feel, price, options, etc. You do not want to confuse the customer. Be very deliberate here.
Regarding mobile, ensure your sites are working well in this environment with good responsive design and a supporting app if that makes sense. Remember, we are using mobile and tablets at higher and higher rates every day to access the web. So you need to be where your customers are. And, you need to give them a good experience.
The Action Plan
Lay out every step to execute the plan identifying responsible parties and due dates. Set your budget. Do not forget the tools. You will need tools to monitor your social efforts like Hootsuite. Additionally, to help you understand what percent of your budget consider this detailed article on the matter: How to Allocate your Marketing Budget
Monitor, Manage and Measure
Name one person to oversee the execution of the plan, hold regular update meetings. And lastly, define how you will determine success of your efforts by establishing measurable KPI's.
Hope you find this road map helpful. Would love to hear your thoughts.
Perry D. Drake