We know that most people reading this will NOT have a strategy yet will be getting disappointing results on their social media platforms. Taking the time to test and measure your content will also give you an advantage as you will up the efforts on the popular content and reduce time on those not so. If you take our advice you will start to see an increase in followers and an increase in revenues over a period of time. We have all heard the jaw dropping statistics on the massive proliferation of social media.
Small businesses are twice as likely to discover qualified leads over other business types. Local businesses have always thrived using word-of-mouth marketing and generating referrals from happy customers. The biggest mistake many small businesses make when implementing a social media marketing campaign is not having a strategy or plan. Did they stay committed to their plan long enough to build meaningful relationships with their community?
As a wise man once said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Don’t let another business’s lack of social media planning sabotage your social media success! So, has hearing other’s negative opinions about social media marketing impacted you and your success?
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Any sort of marketing plan for a client has to be uniquely created for that client and their needs. That may be true but I wanna see some format to which something that would sound pro to future client as well.
I question why would you get a client and offer what seems to be a social media marketing plan to them when you don't have one yourself. I use social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Stumble Upon, Pinterest and many other high ranked website to share my content, offers, updates, press releases etc. The key to engaging with your audience on a more personal level is to focus on the right customer, at the right time and with the right employees. In this article you’ll find out how to create a social media marketing plan to put customers first and improve engagement. In social media many companies take customer-focused brand messages and customize them into content for each channel. The reality is that your target audience has different communication needs depending on which stage of the buying cycle they’re in. Marketing consultant Tony Zambito believes the buyer’s journey begins before buyers think of themselves as buyers and extends beyond the purchase. The buyer’s goals and behaviors change throughout the purchase cycle, even among the same target market.
Consumers’ needs and behaviors are different when they’re not in the market to buy, when they become engaged in buying and when they become customers. Rosalia Cefalu of HubSpot believes different employees are best suited for communicating with customers in different stages of the buying cycle. When you include employees outside the marketing department, one-on-one engagement with your customers becomes more scalable.
Once you identify departments and employees, establish goals for them and customize social feeds or open new social accounts to connect the right employees to the right customers. You can customize your social messages and divide social responses with these three consumer personas. In this stage of the buying cycle, you want to find consumers who are in the market to buy, but haven’t purchased from you. Here you’re looking for people using the right keywords, such as mentions of your company, competitors, industry or specific products and services. Create social media campaigns to grow fans and followers and monitor conversations to engage with those responding. If your company has a public relations or corporate communications department, they may play a role looking for larger industry or corporate issues and identifying journalists or bloggers for media outreach. This stage is where you focus on keeping customers happy, resolving any issues they may have and further assisting them. Customer service representatives are ideal for providing what they may already do via the phone, email or online chat. Five Guys’ approach to social media begins with service and is driven by a process that empowers employees to connect with the right customers at the right time.
Employee involvement in social media has also made Five Guys’ content more personal, sincere and local. Individual Five Guys locations in the United States and around the world have their own social media accounts to communicate locally on promotions, new flavors or products and events that resonate with the community.
Five Guys consumer-centric approach enables individual locations to uncover customer feedback, respond directly and make changes that improve the customer experience.
Customer-centric social media produces satisfied customers who often become brand ambassadors, generating buzz and sharable content. If your social media marketing is using a customer-focused (but still brand-first) model, it may be time to consider a customer-centric approach. A professor and researcher at Johns Hopkins University, Keith Quesenberry has nearly 20 years experience as an award winning advertising copywriter and creative director for Fortune 500 and startup clients. SA Business IndexThe South African Business Index (SABI), which is an independent national networking and business alliance organization, was formed in order to fill a significant gap identified in the networking and communication sector of the business market. Facebook exceeded 901 million monthly active users at the end of March 2012.LinkedIn has over 161 million members in over 200 countries.
In this post, we examine this social media landscape with an eye on how to make it work for you by initiating social conversations and coordinating your social media message with your traditional media messages appearing in print, radio, television, and especially on your Web site. In May 2005, Business Week online magazine published the story, “Blogs Will Change Your Business.” Even though the article predated the splash of other social media venues like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace, that original story is still being read, downloaded and linked to by thousands of people each month. Social media reaches out to the world via the Internet where those, who might be interested in what you have to say or sell, are spending more of their time reading about companies, products and services just like yours.
If you’re wrong, apologize, then make it right – Every company makes mistakes or falls short at times. Listen carefully to suggestions, then act – Some of the best ideas for product and service innovations have come from customers. Make message your focus – Getting started in social media is not just about being up to date on the latest technology or being on the newest social networking site.
Learn what’s being said about you – Find out where the existing conversations about your company, its products and services are taking place and what is being said. Have a goal – With your research in hand, determine what communications objectives are being met by the different messages posted on your site.
Social media rules are no different than rules for all other forms of professional communication, in which employees are directed to use sound judgment and common sense because their personal comments reflect on their employer.
Once you’ve done your homework, designated responsibility for the work, and have decided which social media tools are most appropriate for your messages, create an official presence in the social networks you plan to use. By the numbers – Adding social media to your overall communications plan will take time and resources. There is a variety of benefits for using social media as part of your overall communications plan. OverviewA client wanted to celebrate their 125th year in business by launching a two-month comprehensive social media campaign.
All of us working in marketing and communications need to be more effective, more measurement-minded and more innovative in developing solutions for the coming year and beyond.
Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. What type of information is not only engaging, but is something followers would like to share? Implementing a social media strategy can be difficult, it can be stressful and, if you’re not familiar with it, it can be downright frustrating. Not having enough time is perhaps the most popular reason people decide to avoid social media. You don’t want to hit a square peg into a round hole so it’s important to identify how you’ll tie social media into the bigger picture. Not knowing what your customers want to read, see or do is a major problem that your business will have to swiftly address because such a lack of knowledge could have a cataclysmic effect on your business. The next logical step is to scrap social media from your marketing plan and all because you went in halfhearted in the first instance! Thinking hard about who your customers are, where they would be and what they would want from you. 800 million Facebook users, millions of tweets per day, Facebook would be the fourth largest country… By now you should know that social media is not only here to stay, it is a crucial part of any marketing strategy.
So it’s not hard to understand why using social media’s power to amplify word-of-mouth marketing messages is a must for small businesses.

The “if we build it they will come” mentality is ineffective and will leave you bewildered and coming up with mistaken ideas like “social media marketing just doesn’t work in my industry” or “there is no advantage of using social media in my market”. It may not display this or other websites correctly.You should upgrade or use an alternative browser. They are a signed agreement by two parties, where one party agrees not to share any proprietary information about the other.
Unless you do have one yourself and you are just looking to compare the one you have to others. That's the beautiful thing about the internet, you can see 100% of what a company is doing online to promote themselves. How about you give us an idea of what you are planning and then allow us to critique what you've thought about thus far? This process is good and effective, but it puts channels, content and messages first and assumes the target audience’s needs are always the same. Zambito has expressed this thinking in terms of B2B, but it applies to social media as well.
For these reasons, it’s a good idea to make sure your prepurchase, purchase and postpurchase interaction with the consumer are different. Setting up a social care team enables you to generate customer engagement throughout the buying cycle to gain new customers, repeat purchases, loyalty and brand advocates. Or if you’re a B2B company, you could activate sales representatives to address the needs of leads. Automation could also play a role such as for scheduling follow-ups in a week or two to find out if customers are still happy.
They’ve been able to boost engagement by connecting directly with individual customers instead of simply talking at their target audience with general brand messages. Connecting individual customers with front-line employees via social media has enabled Five Guys to be a more customer-centric company, which is a challenge with over 1,200 locations across the globe. Monitoring this type of feedback on a local level is much more efficient, making one-on-one engagement more scalable.
Identify which buying cycle categories your target audience goes through and which people in your organization are best suited to engage with each consumer persona.
We suggest 8 steps you can take to effectively integrate your message across media, and guide it along its way.
Business Week Editor Steve Baker said that if the article had been published in print, it would’ve gone into the recycling bin years ago. As a professional communicator and marketer, you can’t afford to stand by quietly while others are shaping your brand reputation.
And it allows you to comment on news and events that others publish – it lets you explain to readers how these events may affect your industry, and your products and services. If your customers are commenting about something you can and should change, take their feedback seriously and do something about it.
Use online listening devices such as Google Alerts, Twitter Search, Radian6 and PR Newswire’s Social Media Metrics to track conversations about your company and any mentions that appear online by using specific key words related to your company name, products and services.Talk to people within your organization who interact with customers by phone or e-mail. There is a big difference in speaking ‘on behalf of your company’ (as an official spokesperson) or ‘about’ your company, its products or business partners. Here are some ideas to help you start:Comment on a conversation – An easy way to enter the conversation is to comment on an existing conversation. For every activity, find a good reason to do it and a way to measure its effectiveness for your plan. By listening to and observing the responses and opinions of customers, you can discover their pain points, capture ideas for improvement, promote innovation, gain inspiration, learn, and develop empathy for your customers’ points of view. They sought to connect with current and potential clients, build relationships and generate leads for business growth.ChallengeThe challenge was integrating the client’s message into a new platform, and educating the target audience about their presence in this new medium.
A giveaway was promoted, employee involvement was encouraged and the anniversary was highlighted by featuring photos of the celebrations at the 170+ locations across several states.ResultsThe campaign reached nearly 1 million people through shared impressions among the 7,500 fans who joined the Facebook, and more than 150 of these fans engaged with the client by posting comments and liking content. The first step you can take is to take your strategic goals for the year and find out how social media can help you reach those goals. Social media is there to bridge that gap so if you want to know what your customers are thinking there are a few ways to address the issue without having to read their minds. With that in mind you will start to really produce significant and targeted pieces of content that your customers will definitely want to read and respond to.
And small, local businesses in particular have a tremendous amount to gain on social media platforms.
However, social media has had slower adoption in local small businesses mainly due to lack of resources, hurdles with technical know-how, or uncertainties about effective usage or social media ROI. Putting up a Facebook fan page and then waiting for users to appear is the same as making jewelry and then trying to sell it out of your front yard hoping that the right customer strolls by. Develop a social media marketing strategy and leverage the social media platforms to achieve your business goals. I would strongly recommend sitting down with your client and try to best understand their marketing needs, and figure out how to best mix social media into a comprehensive marketing plan for them. This Action plan is just a generic and that I'm still open to what my client would suggest until agreed. These are common for employees, contractors and consultants to sign when working with large corporations that have business secrets to protect. And some industries do better with quality photos while others are all about words and diagrams.
I have found that visitors or customers majorly look for social media pages regarding latest updates and activities taking place in company. Start with the customer’s need and then build the social media process, content and resources around the customer.
Then set up a process and training to connect the right customers with the right people at the right time to scale your engagement and improve your social media marketing results. What tactics do you use to make personal connections with your customers? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
In the process, you can coordinate your product and service message and broaden its reach to new audiences, build your brand and learn more about the public perception of your company along the way. By integrating traditional advertising and communications messages into social media venues, you can guide your message instead of controlling it. And it only takes minutes to publish your message, instead of days, weeks or months like other more traditional print or broadcast media.Traditional media is a monologue. Your primary goal in using social media is to improve communications with your audience, and to reach them where they’re spending time. Where there’s change, there is always opportunity – engage and benefit from this new and emerging medium. Social media should be fun; it should give you an opportunity to connect and engage with potential customers and most importantly it should be one of your greatest marketing assets. When you’re running your own small business your time is probably pretty well booked which can make it difficult to establish a social media presence.
Goals can be anything from the amount of leads social media brings in to the amount of profit you’re bringing in from the various platforms monthly. Instead of using superpowers, try asking them what they’d like to see from you, use analytics and big data to see what people are looking at and responding to and keep up with (or ahead) of the trends in your industry.
The 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report showed that when using social media, small businesses are twice as likely to discover qualified leads over other business types. I’ve also heard business owners say that they tried social media marketing and it was a waste of time. Unfortunately this is what many small businesses do and then they declare that social media marketing doesn’t work. Social media should be only one piece of a larger marketing plan that may include things like improving SEO, conducting PPC campaigns, and perhaps even advertising through a variety of media.
The more that people read and linked to the story, the higher the article rose in search engine rankings under the topic of “blogs.” As more people read and referred the article, its popularity snowballed.
Make it work for you instead of waiting for something negative to come up in some social media conversation to which you will need to react.
Look at ways to communicate more efficiently and how to re-purpose existing content to reach new audiences.Before you enter the social media conversation, have a plan with specific objectives for what you want to say and why readers may be interested in reading and responding. When it is appropriate, and when you can add something of relevance and value, comment on the subject. Most people today understand that if you have a small business (or any kind of business for that matter) then you’re going to need a well designed website and some sort of presence on social media. But, if you’re serious about implementing a social media strategy here are two steps you can take. If you can do all of that there’s a good chance that you will go from having an average social media presence to an awesome social media presence.

Like if you are targeting housewives, your best time to market and communicate is early in the day. Last year, Business Week updated the article with new information about new emerging social media and the impact on today’s businesses. And when you enter the conversation, the ground rules dictate that you have to be willing to receive the responses of others.
Watch and gauge reader reaction and response.Start a new conversation – There are several ways to start a conversation depending on which social media venue you’re using. Document all major content points, and specifically what was done or said about areas of customer concerns and complaints. Still, there are those that have decided to not go online or explore the realms of social media. Option 1 – Hire a Social Media Specialist: This route can go a couple different ways so to make it a bit simpler we’re going to break down the two most popular options. Social media is an integral part of running any kind of business (big or small) today because without it you’ll have a very difficult time attracting potential clients. If you are targeting younger people (in one country), the best times are the hours after school. To continue to keep the story up to date, they’re now soliciting new facts and figures from their readers through their Web site. Or, more precisely, take 8 steps to integrate social media into your traditional marketing and communications plan.
The biggest difference between social media and traditional media, and the thing that makes many corporate executives uncomfortable, is that social media messages can’t be strictly controlled. Look at ways to extend the message from a standard online press release or news story into multiple social media venues. On Facebook, you can simply ask a question or make a comment about a subject and see if others respond. Tally both positive and negative comments, overall traffic and reach, as well as the size of the social “connections” you make (friends, followers, fans, etc.). Firms that are trying to establish themselves on social media typically hire either a full-time manager or they outsource the job to freelancers. This one article, now more than 7 years old, continues to live and grow in relevance.The “strange thing” that happened to this Business Week article to give it such a long and vital life is the reason for this post. But they can be “guided.” We’ve all heard stories like a scandalous e-mail from a company executive that makes it onto a social media venue.
Is there something being talked about that would be useful or interesting to other customers or prospects?Read your own Web site – It may seem obvious, but look at your existing connection to the Internet – your company Web site. How about that video of a product manager speaking at a conference seminar, or the photographs of your corporate involvement in a charitable event? Using LinkedIn, you join industry-related groups and then ask a question or make a statement and solicit readers’ comments. Then, provide your management team with a regular summary of the effects of your presence and participation in sites.
These specialists will know all of the tricks of the trade giving you access to social media gold and will allow you to spend time elsewhere. It’s this potential for broad reach and longevity of a message that differentiates social media from traditional media, and it’s why every marketing communications professional needs to consider how to integrate social media into their traditional marketing communications mix. Other people link to it and share with their friends, and in minutes, it becomes breaking national news.
These are all materials that could be easily translated into social media venues.Go for strategic visibility – Evaluate and choose the social media venues that allow you to contribute most effectively to the conversations about your company.
If you can simplify your comment into 140 characters or less, you might consider Twitter as a means to send out a teaser statement that will attract readers to a longer story you post elsewhere.Creating a blog gives you much more control over the content you publish. If you can’t think of a way to evaluate your activities, then consider eliminating it from your plan. Listed below are the top three reasons we hear when people refuse to take part in social media and what you can do to turn what may be perceived as a potential liability into one of your companies greatest assets. Just be sure they’re in it for the long haul as you don’t want to keep looking for (and training) new managers.
Social media represents an evolution in communications and an opportunity to build relationships unlike anything before.
Collect a snapshot of the one-way conversations you’re already having with your customers and the content of your communications. You don’t have to be everywhere, just list the broad spectrum of available tools and consider how each might serve your company’s needs. You can define the topic, review comments before they are posted, and also post video and audio files. Option 2 – An Hour of Social Media a Day Keeps the Doctor Away: Or, it at least gives you some sort of presence on social media. By using social media to broaden the distribution of your business communications, you are taking your message to where people can be reached more easily to connect. Your customers and potential customers are online every day looking for and commenting about news, ideas, and products and services. Look for pages that are updated frequently or that might benefit from adding a way to accept feedback or two-way communication.
For example, if you have a video of one of your managers giving a presentation at an industry conference on your Web site, you may consider posting it on YouTube to make it available to a wider audience.
There’s a lot of flexibility, however, you’ll need to make your audience aware that your blog exists by linking to other sites with similar interests, or sending e-mails to alert potential readers of your published posts. While we would not highly recommend this option, as your results will likely not compete with someone who has extensive experience with social media it’s at least a start.
And if your company isn’t taking part in the social media conversation, you can be sure your competitors are there, searching through blogs and articles for new ideas and insights that could improve their business. Can your messages be adapted and coordinated to answer or address customer questions and concerns?Summarize your research – Compile all your results from this research in a social media report that you can present to your company’s decision makers.
You could also include excerpts of the presentation in a blog entry and provide a link to the full video.Define your selection process – Don’t just rely on the tools with which you are most familiar. A blog gives you an increased presence on major search engines (so people can find your business Web site easier too), and enables you to build a regular audience if you provide regular information that is useful and relevant to your readers’ needs. It will also give you some insight into the industry, which could be useful if you hire someone in the future to manage your accounts.
They’re placing their ads on sites where your customers visit, and they’re looking for ways to leverage your social media silence to their advantage.Give up control, gain new opportunities – Control of your marketing message today is an illusion. Show them the contents of conversations happening about your company and evaluate for them the potential impact that social media can have to influence these conversations in a positive direction. Even if you’re not using social media, your customers are, and messages that they publish about your company can be just as beneficial as anything you might publish yourself. Possibly, you already know what tools will work best to get your message out but, for the benefit of a client or company executive not familiar with the social media landscape, you want to explain your rationale. It requires long-term planning to integrate it into your existing Web site, but it can be rewarding in shaping the direction and content of conversations.Micro-blog (like Twitter or Tumblr) could help you gather information and build an audience prior to an industry conference presentation, and would allow you to continue the conversation and field additional questions or comments after it is over. You may not be able to control what others say in the social media conversation, but you can provide a balanced perspective of events and control your part of the conversation, and that’s your greatest opportunity.Managing online criticism – One quality of social media is its openness and transparency.
It’s much more valid to say, “From my research, I believe YouTube would be the best choice for a video-sharing tool, because it offers a free posting and key-word search capability, and has a large and involved community of viewers.”Assign responsibility – Identify who will be responsible for managing social media use. Or, you may want to consider using a presentation-sharing media site (like Scribd or Skype) to host a real-time online Webinar using PowerPoint or a video presentation to a select audience of invited guests. Decide who will generate the content, who will monitor it, and how these new activities will fit into the current workload. Never publish anything that you wouldn’t want thousands of people to read.Whose social media is it anyway?
According to Brian Solis, a recognized leader in social media, the question of who owns the responsibility for handling social media publishing within a company is an ongoing battle.
You remain in control of creating the strategy for your message and releasing the official version.
This gives customers and prospects a perspective on which to base their opinions – and include in their conversations. A Twitter post you make might send a reader to a positive news article or blog entry about your company, a new product or service innovation, or a release about your presentation at an important industry conference. Always consider the relevance of your conversations; stay focused on your communication goals, objectives, and the value of providing balance and facts as part of a conversation.

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