Social Media Marketing Plan

by Paul Friend, Friendly Consultancy of Derby, find me on google+

Many marketers are solely focused on the ‘how’ rather than the ‘why’ of social media.

The most precious resource for a marketer is time. Social media can drain your time, especially with the emergence of new platforms. You need to have a plan—and more importantly, an objective—and be able to measure what you are doing. For a small business it’s one thing, but if you are doing it on behalf of a client or a brand/company, they want to know what they will get out of their social media budget. First of all, you need to have a plan when it comes to social media marketing.

If you concentrate on the tactics alone, then the value of a Facebook like is meaningless. It might be a secondary metric, but at the end of the day, you need to know how it affects your business objectives. If you just look at the tactics, you completely miss the whole business picture.

As a small business owner, it’s easy to get caught up in the numbers. There is more focus on the ‘how,’ because you can be too concerned about trying to keep up with everyone else. Facebook likes aren’t what you should use to compare yourself against your competition.

Likes are important to companies that want to get brand recognition in the marketplace—although it’s not a business objective, it’s more brand awareness.

Trends marketers need to understand 

Social media users join social networks in order to get back in touch with friends on Facebook or colleagues on LinkedIn. When you start to share more information and ask questions, the more you go to these social networks as a source of news, visual inspiration or entertainment.

So what used to be about communication is now about information. Companies need to be informed and not just talk about themselves, but more about things that their target audience would be interested in.

One of the trends seen very clearly is paid social. With Facebook’s recent announcement that you don’t need third-party apps to do a promotion anymore, what they are trying to do is to get companies to invest more in Promoted Posts to market the campaigns instead.

In order to keep your engagement level up, you need to do Promoted Posts on a regular basis to keep your page fresh in people’s minds. The idea behind paid social is that you need to pay to play, which is becoming more important.

A lot of companies believe that social media is free and that they shouldn’t have to pay for it. With paid social, it can really assist your social media marketing. It can accelerate all of the organic things you do; it’s a trend that everyone should acknowledge.

Consider StumbleUpon’s Paid Discovery to generate website traffic and why businesses can have success with it.

Most companies make the mistake with paid Stumble of having just a home page. Instead they should have something that’s a resource for their target audience.

Friendly Consultancy has found with some campaigns that traffic from StumbleUpon has seen lower bounce rates, more time on site and more page views because you can target the right audience with the right information. It’s all about relevance.

Where a business should start with a social media strategy

Most companies have multiple objectives, with brand awareness being one of them. The more defined your objectives are, the easier it will be to plan your tactics, metrics and measure ROI.

If you have a lot of different product lines, look at your own corporate strategy. What is your strategy outside of social media? This is where your social media objectives should map into your corporate strategy.

Ask yourself what the three strategic things are as an organization that you want to push forward on in the next 3-6 months or 6-12 months. You need to think how social media can help you. You’ll learn about the people you can use in your organization to help you create a more inclusive social media strategy, which will be more comprehensive and help you company-wide.

The next part of your strategy is to consider what social media channels you want to establish a strategic presence on. You then have to look at the different functionality of each channel that you can maximize. As you measure and create your metrics from your objectives, you need to figure out how your activity on these channels contributes to your sales.

Over time, you will then see which platform contributes more to your sales. This gives you the insight into where you should increase and decrease your investment. You have to adjust these levels regularly and take a data-driven approach to be able to fine-tune it.

The advantages of paid social

Should someone even consider the paid social? It all comes down to the fact that time is money. There is an opportunity lost for whatever you do.

A lot of small businesses that have grown organically probably spends about a £100 a month on any given tool. You don’t have to use paid social. The best way is to grow organically. This is easy for companies that already have brand awareness, but if you don’t, it will take a lot longer. The problem is that it’s easier for your competition to gain mindshare.

Although paid social is one component, it’s about maximizing potential. Whether you use it or not, it’s something to be aware of. It’s another tool in your toolkit that you can use.

One way to use paid social is if your goal is to reach 20,000 likes and you are only at 15,000, you could budget to supplement your organic growth rate to help you achieve your target. This can also bring in new blood that might engage with your content in a different way.

It’s a component you should experiment with. If one hour of your time is worth £20, then spend it and use that time to do something that is more strategic or more valuable.

We are not saying that blog commenting and engaging on social media aren’t extremely valuable, but you can’t be everywhere at once. You have to be careful how you spend your time on social. Use paid to supplement it.

 

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