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8 Steps to a Solid Social Media Strategy

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How to develop a social media strategy is one of the hottest topics on digital marketing blogs today. Now that there is no refuting social media’s importance, business owners big and small want to know, “How do I develop a more effective, efficient social media strategy that grows my customer base?” We’ve got just the checklist for you, but first, consider this quote from fellow digital marketer Veronica Fielding:

“People don’t want to be marketed at in the social channel. This is where they want to talk to each other, and brands are there by invitation. They have to be a great guest at the table.”

In thinking about social media marketing, you have to remove your corporate cap and instead think like a fun party guest, focusing on how you can develop relevant, interesting, enjoyable, and ultimately share-worthy content. From there, a following and uptick in sales are only natural.

What do great party guests have? First of all, they look sharp and presentable. That’s where a good social media page design comes in handy. You don’t want your looks to deter potential fans. Secondly, they are polite and warm. You want your social media messages to have a positive, engaging tone. Thirdly, they illuminate a room with sparkling conversation. They bring a dish to pass or a gift for the host. You can achieve these objectives by crafting thoughtful blog content to share and offering special deals for your social media audience.

Without further ado, here are 8 steps to a solid social media strategy:

1. Choose your audience.

It’s important to remember: You are not marketing to a stadium crowd. You are speaking to individuals. Companies often hesitate to discuss their areas of “specialization” because they don’t want to alienate potential buyers or leave anyone out. We have found that companies can rarely be everything to everyone, and that a broad-brush strategy does not serve a business best. Instead, develop several core areas of buyers you want to address and make unique pitches to each market.

Sometimes this means creating a few different social media sites. For instance, Geico has different accounts for customers who wish to ask questions, customers who wish to follow racing news, and customers who love the Gecko mascot. According to recent research, Sixty-three percent of brands have multiple presences on Twitter, In fact, the average large company has 178 social media accounts!

Other ways to segment your audience include using hashtags, circles, lists, filters, groups, search, and different RSS feeds for your blog.

2. Spend time on content.

The best blogs don’t happen by chance. They are the culmination of multiple department heads sitting down to hash out a game plan, professional bloggers enlisted to put down just the right words, consistent scheduling to create a predictable posting pattern, and appropriate follow-up to ensure all comments are responded to and all hot topics are re-visited in future posts. Carefully decide upon topics and keywords for each post, but also do not lose sight of the larger picture and what you wish to achieve. Each post should be a step closer to your overarching goals. Learn how to create an editorial calendar here.

3. Develop a cross-platform campaign.

What do you want people to DO? While your primary goal should be providing information that is interesting to readers, you still must have an end game in mind. A truly interested reader will want to move naturally to the “next step.” If they can’t take that step with you, they’ll take it somewhere else. Decide what you want your call-to-action to be — whether it’s to contact you for more information, sign up for a newsletter, take advantage of a special promotion, or take part in a viral campaign. Use this message consistently across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, blog posts, and websites. You also want your logo, color scheme, fonts, and graphics to remain consistent across platform for a better branding experience.

4. Mix it up to engage followers.

The 70-30 rule strategy says to maintain 70% fun, useful content and 30% promotional, action-oriented posts. Involve your audience in the conversation by asking for their participation from time to time. Social media channels are always tinkering with which sort of posts they allow a greater reach — be it text only, text plus image, image only, text plus URL… so it is best to vary up your posts to cover all bases. Incorporate infographics, quotes, Q&A, or posts designed to get shares. There are countless strategies for driving more engagement with your posts, but check out what Kissmetrics and Julia Claire Campbell have to say on this topic.

5. Check your analytics.

Not everyone truly enjoys the nitty gritty, but research is a MUST if you want your social media marketing to have any meaning for your company. There are tons of tools out there to make this work easier, but many people start with what is offered through the social media sites themselves and Google Analytics. Bigger companies typically outsource this “grunt work” and allow the final reports to dictate their next moves, without getting too bogged down in the details. Firms like Mod Girl Marketing specialize in Google Analytics reporting to help large companies see exactly where their marketing and advertising dollars are going. Essentially, you need to know: What type of content and keywords are working? What is not working? What topics lead to your desired goals?

6. Keep a pulse on trending topics.

Creating your editorial calendar around holidays and special events is a sound strategy, but you also want a little bit of flexibility to capitalize on hot topics that everyone is buzzing about on social media. Check Yahoo and Twitter for trending topics and keywords. Look up your top industry keywords on Google News to see what others are discussing. Make sure you are at least aware. Attend industry events to get ahead of the curve and predict what people will want to know about in the near future. Getting there first can be an advantage when you’re looking to be seen as a leader in your field that people can trust for the latest information.

7. Remain flexible.

Remember, social media is not something you can set and forget. It’s constantly evolving. Be sure to see what changes have been made in the world of SEO, Twitter, and Facebook from time to time to be sure your strategy is still current. We like to visit the following sites to stay up on the latest trends and news:

Marketingland 

Searchengineland

Brafton

Social Media Examiner

Social Media Week

Mashable

Social Media Today

The Content Marketing Institute

Social Media Explorer

Of course, don’t forget to follow 8 Ways in 8 Days for fresh industry updates! We could go on and on forever.

8. Ask for help.

It really is a full-time job to keep a pulse on the ever-changing landscape of SEO, social media, and content marketing — which is why, we figure, many business owners end up contacting Mod Girl Marketing to borrow our expertise! There is no shame in finding a trustworthy partner to help craft or implement your social media content and strategy. Our custom packages let you choose how much involvement you’d like. We have some clients who are very hands-on and involved in the direction their content strategy takes, and others who prefer to let us handle all the details. Whether you are just getting started or looking to get more bang for your online marketing buck, Mod Girl Marketing can help you get there fast.

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