Social Media is one of the biggest buzzwords in Internet Marketing on Long Island today and has been for a few years. It seems as though every few months we hear about another social media property that Long Island business “have to be on” or we’re going to miss the boat and lose sales opportunities. First it was LinkedIn, then Facebook, then Twitter, then YouTube, then Twitter, then Google+… Now we have Pinterest and Tumblr and Orkut and CafeMom and Meetup ….. and a host of new social media sites seem to spring up every couple of months. It can be so overwhelming it’s no wonder that many of the Long Island business owners I speak to just want to stick their head in the sand and pretend it doesn’t exist.
Unfortunately, this is not a good strategy. Like it or not, social media is changing the way we do business and has become an essential element of any successful digital marketing strategy. The company that is able to take advantage of the social media opportunity stands to benefit by increasing its access and influence with customers. If it’s not going to be you, you can be certain it will be your competitor. Do you really want to give them that power?
If improved online branding, generating leads, developing good will and providing excellent customer service is important to your Long Island business then here are five essential steps to achieving social media marketing success.
Five Essential Steps to Achieving Social Media Marketing Success
1. Start with a Plan. If you fail to plan, you will plan to fail. Social media is not simply setting up a Facebook page and broadcasting your latest sales. It’s not another advertising medium like the Yellow Pages, newspaper or radio station. When social media is done correctly, it’s a two-way communication vehicle, not a broadcast one. To engage on social media you need to have a plan. You need to start by Identifying your objectives and how you will measure them to enable you to put the pieces in place to achieve long-term success. You must have a clear focus to the quality of your social media content or you will be like the guy at the party who starts to tell a story that goes nowhere, only to start another one halfway through. You don’t want to be that guy. You’ll be ignored on social media just as he is at the party.
2. Establish Your Company Persona. Who are you going to be online? People connect with people; not corporations. Don’t speak AT your prospects; speak with them. What kind of persona is going to appeal to your target prospect? Are they looking for someone fun, professional, friendly, helpful? Who will they connect with? Whether it’s friendly, professional, funny or knowledgeable, adopting a style that will appeal to your target audience will make sure your company voice remains consistent.
3. Plan your Comment Strategy. Remember, social media is a two-way conversation. People will be talking to you online. How will you handle that? Sometimes they ask you a question, sometimes they will pay you a compliment and sometimes they will complain. Be prepared to respond to any scenario. Of course thanking people for a compliment is a lot easier than handling a complaint, but you need to be prepared ahead of time. I’ve seen time and time again that having the right response can turn “a raving complainer” into “a raving fan” who goes out and says great things about you and your company to all their friends. Preparing guidelines for what your team can and cannot say, including how you will handle negative comments, will prevent potentially embarrassing or sensitive content from being published.
4. Plan Your Content Schedule. Now you’re ready to join the social media conversation. Here’s where failing to plan is really planning to fail. If you don’t have a schedule for when you will post on social media, you’ll never do it. And if you’re going to plan When, you have to plan What. Remembering when you come in to the office on Monday morning that you have to post something that day is a recipe for not posting the right content that engages your readers. More likely than not, you’ll just post anything because you have to, not because it is meaningful to your followers. Take time to plan content that will appeal to your customers, combined with a content schedule, will enable you to post content at the most responsive times of the day.
5. Measure, Tweak and Improve. The best laid plans oft go astray. No matter how well you plan, you can’t possibly know what content will appeal to your target demographic. You can only do you best and see what happens. That’s the important part: “see what happens”. You have to review your campaign objectives at regular intervals and if necessary, adapt your approach to improve engagement with your fans and followers. Only then will you perfect your social media program and gain the competitive advantage you seek.
In conclusion, social media marketing gives companies an excellent opportunity to develop good will and enhance their online reputation. Failing to harness the power of social media is essentially leaving money on the table and handing your competitors the advantage.
Need Help Planning Your Social Media Strategy?
If you would like help planning your social media marketing strategy, get in touch with us at 631-615-2983 or contact your Long Island digital marketer here.