This is episode 2 in my social media 101 series, where I head back to my expertise in social media to share a few secrets. You can read episode 1 [blogging] here.
If you are using social media as a way to spread your message, be it your blog, your business or your professional platform the one thing you need to understand is that social media is not a ‘quick fix’ marketing strategy. It is not just a case of joining up to Facebook and Twitter and watching your follower count grow and numbers increase. As much as it pains me to say it, you do need to put in the time to develop a workable strategy to implement and follow through.
Having said that it certainly doesn’t need to be an in depth 100 page document that will exhaust you before you even begin, but it does need to contain some basic steps.
But…! I hear you say:
‘Twitter – I just don’t get it.’
’Facebook is for teenagers.’
‘Social media won’t work for my business.’
’I don’t have the time.’
These are a few of the comments that I used to face constantly from business owners and bloggers when initially faced with social media. Many have tried and failed, and many have tried to begin not knowing where to start. And, unfortunately, many are just bobbing in the ocean, waiting for the social media wave to sweep them onwards to success. Basically, they are wasting precious time and getting nowhere. Fast.
Why? They don’t have a plan. They don’t have objectives and they haven’t set goals. Simply: they don’t have a strategy.
So, how do you develop a strategy?
When developing your social media strategy there are three main areas that need to be considered.
- What is your main objective for using and being involved in social media?
- What is secondary objective?
For example, your main objective may be to create a targeted following to promote your product/service to.
Your secondary objective may be to increase your newsletter subscribers.
If you are a blogger, your main objective may to simply get your blog out there, and your secondary objective may be to build your readership.
Your main objective is general, your secondary objective must be specific. Neither need to be complicated. Step 1 complete!
2. Target audience
- Who are your target audience?
- Where are they connecting/‘hanging out’ online?
For example, if your business makes hair accessories, such as clips and headbands for kids, your target audience would be mothers. You would then need to look at where they are connecting online. It may be that Facebook has a huge presence of mothers, as well as online forums such as Connect2Mums.
Many bloggers and authors tend to hang out on Twitter and engage in general chit chat, if you are a blogger or writer, this could well be the place for you.
So define your target audience and find out where they are.
- What goals do you wish to set to achieve your objective?
- How will you measure your effectiveness/success?
Goal 1. To increase your Facebook likes to xxx in x months
Goal 2. To increase subscribers to xxxx in x months.
Goal 3. To see an increase in website hits from x to y in z months.
How detailed and specific your goals are will depend on your purpose and objectives. If you are beginning an online business you should be focused on specific and performance driven goals, whereas if you are a blogger you may be a little more casual with your goal setting.
Once you have completed the above steps you can then sit down and work out:
- which social media networks and platforms are going to best suit your business, blog or platform
- target-audience research
- setting specific goals to meet each objective
- selecting the appropriate social media tools and resources
- an action plan with an appropriate timeline.
Social media marketing is like anything in life; the more you put in, the more you get out. For those who have a uniqueness, have their target audience identified and are gifted at the art of connecting it may come easy. For others it may be more difficult. Either way the hard yards need to be put in for the rewards to be seen.
I would like to end by saying this is a very general idea of how to set up a social media marketing strategy. Each step can be expanded upon and explained in further detail – if you would like any assistance or have any questions I would be happy to answer them in the comments below or on email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you intend to seek professional assistance in this area I would off this advice: The process needs to be detailed and designed to your specific circumstances, goals and objectives. Be careful who you choose out there!