What’s Your Social Media Marketing Strategy?

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Do you have a Social Media Marketing Plan?

If not, you need onebefore you get started with your Social Media efforts.

If you are a marketer you’ll already be familiar with a marketing strategy and plan. Social Media Marketing is no different – you must have a plan.

And if you’re an entrepreneur, you may wear the marketing hat anyway. You still need a strategy.

Whether you want to use Social Media Marketing to launch a new product, promote an existing one, improve customer loyalty or improve brand awareness, a strategy and plan are crucial.  It’s not enough to have Social Media tacked on to the end of your traditional marketing plan as an afterthought.

So what should your plan contain?

Here are my 8 9 top recommendations for what you should address.

  • Your target audience – who are they and how do they prefer to network? What Social Media tools do they currently use?
  • Your goals – what are they and how do you plan to achieve them? Do you want to attract more prospects? Improve customer loyalty? Attract a new audience? Get buzz for your project? These are questions you must ask… and answer
  • Your success measures – how will you know you’ve succeeded? Will it be through product downloads or trials? Will it be the number of people clicking through to your site? Or the number of qualified leads you gain? Or the success of a sweepstake you run?
  • Your competitors - Do they have a large Social Media presence or none at all? What type of campaigns are they doing? If they are doing nothing, you have an opportunity for grabbing an advantage
  • Your Social Media content – for example video, audio, written. Depending on what your audience likes and uses you will probably use one or a combination of these.
  • What’s “your soft offer?” – How will you convert your prospects into sales or customers? You need to outline this in your plan
  • Your Social Media Tools – Will you use YouTube, a blog, Twitter, Facebook? Community forums? This depends on all of the above. Not every tool will work for you, and sometimes the only way to find out is to try them and see. Having a strategy makes it easier because you can make a decision as to what to try and why, tracking the results of each tool you choose.
  • Your resources – Most Social Media tools cost little or nothing to set up and run. However, there is a considerable investment of time required for any Social Media effort to have long term success. Who will keep the blog updated with regular posts? How will you address comments so that the blog is truly interactive and conversational?  How many people do you need to allocate? What’s your plan for tracking – and acting on what your stats are telling you? Many never consider these questions (until it’s too late)  – but if you don’t, frustration and failure are that much more likely.  So carefully consider the time you can afford to invest compared to what’s needed.
  • Last, but certainly not least, how will you encourage word of mouth marketing and the viral nature of Social Media? How will you get people talking about you without “you talking about you?”  It’s a significant advantage of using Social Media and you want to make sure you use it.

The marketing landscape has shifted power into the hands of your customer, your potential client. They’ve changed how they buy, and what they do before they buy. They expect more interaction with you.  That can be rather overwhelming for businesses that are used to controlling a message that until now has traveled in only one direction – the consumer’s.

A Social Media strategy will help you cut through the noise, make better choices and select what works for your audience, your company and your objectives. It will position you to meet many of the seemingly huge hurdles to getting started.  A strategy and plan will almost certainly make you more successful in your Social Media efforts.

Think of it as your road map to success.

Do you have a Social Media strategy?   How has it helped you in your social media efforts?

Written by Nicky Jameson

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I’m Nicky Jameson an urban photographer from London, England, who lives in Toronto. Welcome! My art reflects my love of architecture, historic landmarks, hidden urban gems and capturing the seemingly mundane from a different perspective. Enjoy – and please visit my online art galleries at Fine Art Website to purchase prints. Or engage with me on Google Plus Twitter or Facebook.

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12 Comments

  1. Amiek March 17, 2010 at 6:33 am #

    Thank you so much! I’m teaching communications students on digital communication and I feel social media strategy should be part of is. At the moment I’m comparing notes, but I like this simple, straight forward model. Thanks!

  2. Kate November 23, 2009 at 11:59 pm #

    Hi Nicky, How awesome of you to post this topic. Thanks so much. As others have noted, there are tons of blogs about “tools” but not “strategy”. I found the link via mashable, but I’d like to see a post on “metrics” and “measuring ROI”. Thanks again!

    • Nicky November 24, 2009 at 8:00 am #

      @Kate: You’re welcome Kate. Glad you found it helpful. Metrics and ROI on the list! Thanks for commenting!

  3. Nicky April 22, 2009 at 10:02 pm #

    Thank YOU Richard both for visiting and your comment. I’d be happy to write an article for your blog… just let me know. In the meantime I loved your YEO post on Twitter followers and the comments. I will be back over to comment and I’ve also bookmarked it to re-blog. Nicky.

  4. Richard Shatto April 22, 2009 at 2:55 am #

    I found you via your answer to a discussion question on Linkedin. This blog is a wonderfully full yet succinct commentary on Social Media Marketing, thank you. I’d like to call on you someday to submit an article for my own blog. ~rs

    Richard Shatto’s last blog post..5 Reasons Social Media is your Businesses Most Important Issue Today

  5. Nicky March 11, 2009 at 6:33 pm #

    Jordan – glad to hear it. It’s been so popular that I’m thinking of building it out a bit, so any feedback is welcome.

  6. Jordan March 11, 2009 at 12:36 pm #

    So glad that I came across this page. My company has been trying to build a social media marketing plan template, and this is a big help.

  7. LJ Jones November 19, 2008 at 11:53 am #

    Thank you for not starting your guide to social media strategy with a list of tools. Tools are not a strategy. You hit it right on the head by starting with Target Audience. We can’t define or develop anything without first knowing who our audience is. Only then can we develop a message to communicate to them and decide where to communicate that message.

    twitter.com/ljjones

  8. Nicky October 29, 2008 at 8:48 pm #

    Yes, the basics are key. Or as I like to say, if the basics are there, you can’t go too far wrong because they’re like a compass. Thanks for the questions too… I will be doing a future post on where to find your audience and how to listen from them. Stay tuned!

  9. Greg October 28, 2008 at 10:35 pm #

    No matter what the technology, it always comes back to the marketing basics. Thanks for the advice, Nicky. Look forward to seeing more of your writing. Any suggestions for finding out more about “listening” to your audience, i.e. where to find the crowd you want to target? Metrics would also be interesting. Great stuff!

  10. Nicky September 18, 2008 at 7:51 pm #

    srivikas – Thank you! I am glad it has helped. I am planning to expand on this topic in future posts and articles so do stay tuned.

  11. srivikas September 18, 2008 at 5:03 am #

    I have been watching the social media sector for a year now and i finally see an article which gives me a perspective on what are the elements to be covered in a social media plan.

    i am all set to draw a social media road map for my client/accounts i am handling

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