We know from Part 1 of this series that the purpose of social media marketing is to connect you to your users and customers. Crafting your social media marketing strategy as an executable plan helps you to recognize the potential value in having an SMM strategy. So now that we know for sure what an SMM strategy is and why it’s important, I’d like to explore what is actually in a social media marketing plan.
Building Your SMM Powerhouse
In the first post of this 7-part series, I compared social media marketing to a house that you’re building. “For the sake of simplicity, think of social media marketing as a house you’re building. In order to build this house, you’ll need to find a neighborhood, survey your land, figure out what type of house you want, draw up the blueprints, get the right resources (tools, people and equipment), build the house and inspect it to make sure it’s habitable.” I’m going to run with that analogy.
Find your neighborhood
Most of us want to live in a comfortable neighborhood where we feel safe and can plant some roots. If you’re living the night life, you may favor Midtown or Downtown. People with kids are probably looking for a place outside of an urban center. You want to go where people share commonalities. If you already have a blog, product or business then you already know who your end user or customer is. So the first step in your strategy is going to be a bit of watching and listening to see where your “social neighborhood” is and what’s being talked about.
Survey your land
Much like a business plan, a social media marketing plan is most effective when you’ve taken the time to really assess where you are compared to where you want to go. Before you map out a strategy, look at your current social media presence and any marketing efforts. Gauge how (or if) they are working for you and what your competitors are doing in the same niche.
Figure out what type of house you want to build
The next executable action takes some imagination. What kind of house are you building? Are you building a sprawling ranch or a one-bedroom cottage? Trump Towers or Down in the Delta? What is your ultimate goal in launching a social media campaign? Your strategy or plan should be fueled by the need to meet specific business / organizational objectives. Set measurable goals that you expect to see as a result of your SMM efforts. If you know what you want, you can organize a doable strategy to get there.
Here is where you identify the how. How will the house be constructed? What will be in each room? How large are the closets and what’s the distance from the vanity to the shower? In social media-ese, how will you reach your users and customers? Will you promote contests? Reach out to industry leaders? Offer freebies? Shape your blueprint to meet your goals. You don’t have to pursue every idea, only the ones that make sense within the context of what you are trying to accomplish. Remember, you’re not chasing omnipresence. You’re chasing efficiency. How will you shape your blog content to support your marketing efforts? What kind of time line have you designated to support your efforts so that you don’t overwhelm or underwhelm your target audience? Script it! Write it down.
A buzz word for resources is tactics. Everybody’s talking strategy and tactics. Sounds way more official than plan and resources. Your resources include the people on your team who will own the social media marketing. It includes the tools you’ll use for your marketing efforts – blogging, social networks, YouTube, bookmarking, etc. Since you know your neighborhood, you can identify precisely where your users are hanging out. There’s no point in organizing an elaborate Twitter blitz if your neighborhood is hanging out on Quora. This is where you identify specifically which tools you will use to carry out the blueprint plans. As far as your team goes, you’ll know who’s doing what at the end of it all. That way you can all be accountable for your respective parts of the plan.
Build the house
This is where you implement your master plan. Open accounts on the platforms on which your users are active. Listen to conversations, get engaged, be responsive, check your comments and post your blogs on schedule. Work everything according to the plan you laid out.
Monitor your success. Are your efforts producing the returns you thought they would? If you’ve erected a 12 to 18-month timeline, assess how things are going at the third and sixth months. Are you on target? How do you even know if you’re successful? Do you need to adjust your goals? Have you increased the traffic to your site or seen a boost in sales? Is the cost of running your social media campaign justifiable in light of the success you’ve seen since the campaign began?
For the rest of the series, I’m going to break down a few of the meatier aspects of the strategy so that you are clear on the steps you can take to finally get it done and see results without the blah-blah.
Stay tuned for my next part of this series.
Please leave me a comment too!