Since there are already many blogs that go into great depth on social media, we’ll focus here on the gory details of creating and sharing great content in various channels. Before we dive in, there are a few things you should know about social media marketing from a 30,000-foot view.
1) Get on board
A huge percentage of the world’s population is using Facebook and other social media and that number is growing. Google created Google+ because it had to compete or die. They take it that seriously and so should you. Almost every news show you see these days has mentions of things trending in Twitter. Social media is here to stay. Failing to pay attention to and quickly diffuse negative comments about your brand can crush your company, while being an active part of the positive conversations can make you shine.
2) Know your audience
Writing to the wrong crowd will be very ineffective, but knowing and defining the personas of the people you are targeting allows your content to move people more emotionally and deeply. If you can move people, you have a better chance of converting them into customers and retaining them.
3) Create clear objectives
Unless you know what you want to get out of social media, you will never be able to set up analytics tracking based on key performance indicators. It is much easier at the end of the year or quarter to report back success or failure when your objectives are in a clearly documented form that have been agreed upon by the whole team.
Make sure your various social channels have a similar look and feel.
5) Social media policy
Develop a social media policy and playbook so your team is all on the same page. Everyone should be working from a playbook that sorts out potential compliance issues and encourages brand message consistency.
6) Content marketing plan
Create a content marketing plan so your content has a greater impact and is timelier. For example, releasing a recipe guide to the Italian Christmas “feast of the seven fishes” on the Fourth of July won’t have the best impact. Riding the wave of a trending topic can propel you to huge content success, while writing in-depth about old news can be a waste of time.
7) Creating a social media marketing strategy
Hire an agency to help you with strategy at the very least and determine who—likely an individual or a team at your company—is extremely knowledgeable, tactful, and able to respond in real time to things that would be harder for the agency to handle.
8) Writing content
To help you write content, hire people who are strong writers and who know (or can learn) your business. If you can’t do it all yourself, having a flow of content from outside sources that is vetted by you will go a long way in creating a steadier steam of blog posts, ebooks, and perhaps eventually an actual printed book to solidify your reputation as a leader in your space.
9) Tracking and analytics
Set up deep tracking systems using Google Analytics (and ideally HubSpot). Studies show much of social marketing is undervalued because people don’t always buy immediately after a first warm-up touch from social connections. They bookmark you and/or remember you and are influenced more the next time they see you. In traditional marketing, we have always been aware it takes many impressions before someone trusts you. The number of impressions needed before someone buys from you is going up because people have more options than ever, so you need to get in front of people in a variety of ways to get the eventual sale. You need what is called attribution tracking, which lets you see the influence of the first and every touch a customer has with your site over time, not just the last tactic that made the sale. Don’t be too quick to throw tactics out until you get this type of tracking figured out. Attribution tracking is the most exciting thing about marketing in my lifetime. The old-school “Mad Men”-style died off because it didn’t have this tracking capability. While tracking like this is possible to do, few have real control over it without a tool like HubSpot or a really tweaked Google Analytics.
10) Get to know the tools
Radian6 is about $600 a month but is a very powerful way to monitor the buzz around your brand and respond in real time. HootSuite is a great low-cost tool that is hugely popular that does some similar things but not nearly as much. Software can be a huge time-saver, so budget for software and training even if you have an outside agency helping you.
11) Social signals
Know that social signals play a part in users coming to trust that you are someone they should do business with. They may also eventually send more powerful signals to the search engines than they do today. Start building your authority levels as these signals will only grow in terms of influence.
Do you have any other tips for a strong social media strategy?