By: Christopher L. Campbell –
I’ve seen it too many times: departments or even entire organizations claim to have a social media marketing strategy. I hate to break it to you but writing a couple blogs and posting a few tweets doesn’t constitute a social media marketing strategy. Everyone loves social media, they love the glamor and glitz it offers including the derived benefits but no one wants to put in the real work that it requires. Most marketing departments will say that they’re doing social media marketing but in reality consider it an afterthought. What’s even more shocking is that very few have implemented a clearly thought out strategy or even process on how to execute social media effectively. In my experience I often find that a lack of strategy often comes down to a lack of will, no planning, little effort and zero investment. Well, just as with anything in life…you only get what you put into it.
Social media. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary social media is defined as forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos)
Social media marketing. Tech Target defines social media marketing (SMM) as a form of internet marketing that utilizes social networking websites as a marketing tool. The goal of SMM is to produce content that users will share with their social network to help a company increase brand exposure and broaden customer reach.
Did you get the difference? One is a medium and the other is an action. One is a sharing of ideas while the other is a tool in the marketing mix to drive awareness, engagement and conversion.
Getting on track. To get your social media marketing program on track here are three questions that you will need to answer and address:
- What are you trying to accomplish?
- Do you have a clearly defined process?
- How are you measuring success?
Define your strategy. It’s important that you define early on what you’re trying to accomplish. Are you trying to drive brand awareness? Or, are you trying to drive engagement? Do you need to improve customer service? Or increase your customer conversion rate? Understand what you want to accomplish via social media and set clear goals.
Develop a process. Having the intern post a blog or a few tweets is not a process. Determine the required accounts for your industry. Look, you don’t have to have them all. It’s best to start off with a few accounts that align with your driving your business goals. At a minimum, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter should be a basic requirement. I do caution you to not starting an account you’re not going to manage or maintain. Whether you have dedicated staff or a group of people handing social media duties, create a calendar and set aside time each week to contribute and respond to your audience. Don’t make it a one-sided affair so be sure to contribute and engage in other communities other than yours.
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