Steps to a practical social media business strategy
A personal blogger isn’t going to perform a SWOT analysis or dive into detailed market research and create piles of spreadsheets and documents so large that you can’t jump over them.
A social media marketing strategy can be three simple steps.
- See – What is today’s situation
- Think – Define goals and objectives
- Draw – Map a route to achieving the goals
Using these elements as a template maybe all you need to to create a social media marketing strategy.
Is it World Domination?
If you are considering starting a blog or company that is after world domination (for more on this check out Dr Evil from the Movie “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me“) in an industry and niche, then you may want to do some detailed research and analysis.
Once you have determined the focus and direction for your blog whether it be for business or pleasure is to map out a roadmap. This means putting in place some informed and researched planning to maximise the chances of success.
So what are some key steps in putting together a social media marketing strategy for your blog?
Step 1: Establish a Clear Focused Vision
If you are a personal blogger brand and you have clarity on your passion and innate ability, then getting the vision clear is the vital next step in the journey. If you are a business and have not created a vision statement then maybe its time to retire to the boardroom and give the neurons and whiteboard a workout!
A vision statement is an inspirational sentence or two that will keep you focused when uncertainty and temptations to take a different course confront you.
Nike aren’t one of the top sports apparel brands in the world because they have fuzzy thinking. Nike’s vision is short and inspirational.
“To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. If you have a body, you are an athlete”
Focus, motivation and momentum comes from being clear about where you are going.
Step 2: Obtain Commitment from Management
If you are creating a personal blog then that stakeholder meeting will be very short!
If it is a corporate blog then the CEO and Management needs to be on board. It quite often is done without the right people buying in and success is harder to achieve.
In essence it can be an exercise in change management to get the commitment and resources you need.
Some steps to help achieve this are
1. Start with the P&L
Be able to convince the CEO or CFO that it will drive more inquiries, leads and create more sales. In other words provide evidence that resonates with “show us the money!”
2. Get Customers Participating in a Pilot
It can be as simple as a customer writing a review or a comment on a blog post and creating content which increases customer engagement (up to 80% of customers are looking for a review when they come to a website/blog or online store).
The cycle of engagement includes
- Visitors come to the site to read reviews
- More visitors are attracted to the customers content
- Visitors attracted to the customers content become a new customer
- New customer writes a product review
3. Get Employees Participating
How do you keep people following behind as you try to change the company to a social business if they are not involved and engaged?
One method is to apply what is known as the IKEA Effect which states
“Labor undertaken in association with a project – similiar to assembly of Ikea furniture – increases people’s affection for the result of that labor.”
4. Tell Your Stories
This final step gives your employees a pulpit and voice within the organisation to tell their story of how they are assisting in transforming their company to a social business. It could be the product development manager presenting or communicating via a newsletter on how they have taken onboard customer comments and fine tuned products or services that better meet the needs of the market.
Step 3: Perform Research
In your area of interest or industry you need to sit down and do some research, it could be simple to complex but it will provide you with the foundation to identify opportunities to position your blog.
The research could include the following depending on time and resources
- Identifying trends
- Market and competitor analysis …what are the bloggers in your industry doing?
- What are the various key segments in your target market and which one do you want to pursue
- What are they doing well and what could you do better – this will assist you in determining what will make you unique or what is sometimes called your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)
From this you can determine the potential readers, prospects and customer personas
Some questions to ask about your prospects
- What do they read or view?
- What are their problems?
- What social networks do they use
Step 4: Create and Prioritize Goals
It is important to know what you want to achieve. If you are a captain of a ship you need to determine where you are going before leaving harbour.
- Do you want to improve brand recognition
- Capture more inquiries
- Increase sales
- Drive more traffic to the blog
Which are the most important?
Step 5: Create and Design Tactics to Achieve Goals
Once the goals have been determined then you can create the tactics on the platforms where you audience is
- Drive traffic to a landing page that captures emails and basic customer information
- Increase Facebook likes – putting your brand and content in front of more people in their Facebook news feeds and ticker
- Publish content on your blog and promote it on Facebook and Twitter and Slideshare to position your brand as experts
This is just the tip of the iceberg, there are many different tactics that are only limited by your imagination and creativity. The implementing comes down to resources and how deep are your pockets
Step 6: Determine the Cost and the Budget
This where the priorities determine where you spend your money and what you actually implement.
Some tactics to achieve your goals will be more expensive than others
- Creating a landing page for your blog that is well designed to capture leads could
- Creating a custom welcome tab for your brand on Facebook that drives traffic to your blog
- Paying for a Facebook marketing campaign to increase your Facebook “likes”
Other tactics and tasks can be free and done quickly and easily
- Implementing a Facebook “Like” Social Plugin on your WordPress Blog is easy and free
- Installing a Tweet button for easy sharing
- Placing a Twitter counter button to display social proof
Create priorities for your goals and implement the important ones first in order of priority
Step 7: Resources Purchased and Allocated to Achieve the Goals
Implementing these tactics and building the web assets requires the right resources to be found and bought.
- Money – this doesn’t require any more explanation except you may need to do one of these three! “Beg” (this is usually not a pretty sight), “Borrow” (this is where that special friend who is a designer or programmer comes into the equation) or Steal (just don’t get caught!)
- People – finding these can be a challenge but if they don’t have all the skills hire “passion” and a “go get attitude”. They can be full time, part time or a consultant/contractor
- Tools – these can be both free and paid. A WordPress template that doesn’t require a designer can be had from about $45. If you require a really in depth social media analytics tool such as Radian 6 or Meltwater Buzz start from about $500 a month
Step 8: Plan and Create Content
Content needs to be created that communicates and tempts your audience to engage with you. If you are aiming at becoming the resource for your industry then in depth articles videos and ebooks are a must
- Blog articles
- Facebook updates
Could also include polls, surveys and competitions. In a multimedia world content needs to be in a variety of formats and not just text.
4 Key Media Formats
- High definition images
- Power Point Presentations on SlideShare
- Audio -Podcasts
Step 9: Publish and Promote on Social Networks
Creating the content is just the start, marketing your content continuously and consistently is vital!
Building your tribe and networks on Twitter and Facebook should be a priority so that you have a ready made audience when you launch your blog.
Promoting it on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn is a good place to start for B2B’s. If you are targeting a consumer market the Facebook, Twitter and YouTube would need to be seriously considered in your social media network selection.
Organic social media marketing will take time so it is sometimes a good idea to use Paid Social Media marketing on Facebook or LinkedIn to be a catalyst to accelerate your marketing campaign. Just like you would use Google Adwords to accelerate being found online until your organic SEO starts to produce results.
Optimizing your Content
One other important element that should not be forgotten is to optimize your content on your blog and social media networks for “search” and “sharing“.
Search – Write articles using key words and phrases that customers would use to “Google” you. Also if you are publishing images on Flickr, Videos on YouTube and presentations on Slideshare (or any other social media channel) then make sure that you optimise the content by writing a headline, including a description, enter tags (Keywords)
Social – make sure you have social media sharing buttons wherever you have content. You want people to share. Don’t make it hard for customers to share and spread your great content!
Step 10: Measure and Monitor Results
You are not going to get your marketing right every time so you need to measure and monitor your results.
Tools such as “Google Analytics” and “Facebook Insights” can be used to measure and monitor the elements that tell you to ensure you are moving towards your goals
Make changes to what is not working and keep doing the activities that are producing results.
Be patient it will take time as your build your blog traffic and remember your vision and goals.