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10 Things You Can Do for Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Posted @ 12:28 pm by Owen Frivold | Category: Community & Social Media, Digital Marketing, Technology | 0 Comments

Last week was very interesting for the social media space. MySpace was sold to Specific Media for a $35M, a far cry from the $580M that NewsCorp paid to acquire it in 2005. Google + was released on an invite-only basis. People even celebrated Mashable’s Social Media Day on 6/30 in cities all over the world. Though there is plenty of activity in the social media space and the top players may change, one thing seems to be clear: it is here to stay. As such, many companies are having to rapidly integrate social media into their corporate marketing strategy, but are struggling to determine the proper strategy and resources and budget to ensure its continued success as a marketing channel.

When considering social media marketing as an option for your organization, there are many factors to take into account. Once you have started building a presence in a platform and acquired an audience you’ll need to keep them engaged. To do so, you’ll need to be prepared. Here are a few tips on how to kick start your social media strategy:

  1. Benchmark the performance of your existing social media channels. If your company has already started engaging with social media, chances are you’ve gone with the most established platforms, Facebook and Twitter. You may even be performing quite well! That said, if you want to build out a strong social media presence, you will want to test new innovative strategies. To do so, you’ll want to benchmark your channels’ current performance. Long term, you could even perform pilots or A/B or multivariate testing to see which approach(es) will generate the best results for your company.  Regardless of what you’re looking to optimize, you’ll need benchmark data. That can range from standard social media stats (Likes, followers, comments, tweets, etc.) to more complex KPIs, or even sentiment scores through voice of the customer analysis tools. Once your benchmark analysis is complete; you’ll be all set to test and track the data crucial to your business objectives!
  2. Be natural. As Scott Monty (head of Social Media at Ford) said, “Social media humanizes Ford.” Contrary to a spokesperson or celebrity endorser, however, social media has no recognizable face. You can adopt a fun or quirky or even intellectual voice, but there will need to be consistency in your tone and messaging in your communications, and above all, it should not feel corporate-y.
  3. Select your social media channels wisely. You don’t want to get carried away in every social network that pops up. That said, you may find that your competition is expanding to various other social media channels and feel the need to match them. Unless there is a strong and compelling case to do so, resist the urge to match your competition’s every move. Let them get carried away in trying to juggle content generation and approval for 6 different networks that a sub-set of their users may come across! If your business doesn’t actively post videos, you may not want to invest too much in expanding your YouTube channel. This will allow you to act faster and be more efficient in the channels you do choose to keep active. This also leads to the next point…
  4. Adapt and be flexible. Social media marketing is a nascent practice, and that makes for part of the fun of it. If you get caught up in rigid approval processes and overbearing guidelines, your content will appear that way, and you won’t be able to react fast enough to real-time events. You’ll want to be consistent and have a certain expected cadence in your communications, but the best examples of social media marketing out there go beyond the formulaic. In order to engage with your users or customers, you’ll want to be both proactive and reactive; sticking to a rigid plan only slows you down. Even if you have established a roadmap, realize that it will probably look drastically different three months after you first created it—and that’s ok!
  5. Know what you want. There are so many different ways to apply social media that you need to have clear goals in mind. As with any marketing channel, your strategy and approach will be different depending on what you want from it. For example, Comcast has chosen to build out a separate customer support channel in Twitter to ensure that users who need assistance can clearly differentiate between their marketing and support channels.
    Comcast Marketing’s Twitter account.

    Comcast’s Customer Support Twitter account.
  6. Be creative. Everyone is looking for that “secret sauce” that they execute and repeat over and over again. That will rarely happen; what makes social media campaigns successful is their originality, not their formality. Dos Equis has done an excellent job at leveraging their “Most Interesting Man in the World” campaign by allowing users to generate a vast majority of the content on their Facebook page. Any Facebook user can invent another one of their anonymous spokesperson’s claim-to-fame and post it on their page, promoting his mythical status. There are plenty of fun ways to incorporate geo-location services into the mix if your business has a physical location, which range anywhere from incentivizing users to “check in,” to following your page, to posting reviews.
  7. Define appropriate KPIs. As mentioned in the first point, KPIs will help you measure your performance, but it’s equally important to have the right KPI for the job. Google Analytics and many other tools now have features that will allow you to measure your “social engagement.” Though it can be of interest to upper management to report back on the number of Twitter followers or “likes” or “fans” your Facebook page has, this metric in and of itself does not tell you much. It’s a tough nut to crack, and many people are trying to identify the right proxy measure for engagement, influence or reach. Services such as Klout go a little further and combine several measures to come up with a stand-in measure for influence.
  8. Empower you social media team internally. Regardless of your corporate structure, your social media marketing team (and it may just be a team of one) will need to be able to navigate your organization quickly to ensure timely reaction (whether it’s PR, Legal, Marketing or Product). The role and career path of the corporate social strategist has yet to be fully defined and companies have tried placing social media management in departments ranging from marketing to customer support or even HR. Regardless of the department, the role is becoming increasingly cross-functional and will require visibility across your business.
  9. Stay active. It’s always a challenge to have your limited resources focus on keeping all your social media channels active. Having thousands of followers on Twitter or “Likes” on Facebook simply because your ran a campaign giving a 10% discount on their next purchase will only get you so far, but re-tweets, comments, posts, contests, challenges will keep your presence felt. Once you have established a following, realize that the hardest part is keeping them engaged, but if you can develop a dialogue and following among your users or customers in any of your channels you’ll have successful passed the toughest barrier. eBay has done a great job at focusing on engaging their followers with a variety of deals and contest, or even re-tweeting people’s great finds and publicizing them to their follower base.
  10. Rally the troops. It’s important to communicate and demonstrate the value of your social media marketing strategy and team to your employees. With greater understanding of the value comes more collaboration, contribution and cooperation. Jeremiah Owyang published a study on the roles that a corporate social strategist currently play in organizations and clearly demonstrates the need for buy-in from the organization at-large.

The landscape of social media platforms has and will continue to change at alarming rates. Although many can try to predict the impact  of new players such as Google+ entering the space and try to get ahead of the curve, no one can say for sure what social media marketing will be like in six or twelve months’ time. If you want to learn more about how SolutionSet can help your organization develop a social media strategy or run campaigns, please contact us.

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