Social media has become a basic form of communication for people of all ages. In today’s online world, a strategic social media marketing plan is a requirement for virtually every type of business. The traditional ways of communicating and marketing to customers has changed dramatically. If a potential customer can’t easily find your website or your social media accounts, you don’t exist for them. In 2018, your business needs to have a social media plan that reaches your ideal customers where they are spending their time.
Marketing’s primary goal is to reach customers at the critical moments that influence purchasing decisions.
“Today’s battle for hearts, minds, and dollars is won (or lost) in micro–moments—intent-driven moments of decision-making and preference-shaping that occur throughout the entire consumer journey.” Source: think with Google
Social media may be the only form of marketing that can reach today’s customers at every stage of the buying process, from comparing products or services right through the decision to purchase. Social media has become even more important as mobile has become the dominant way most people get online now. Even more importantly, when their experience with your product or service is positive, social media users are likely to share their experiences with their online friends. I know from personal experience that women on Facebook and Twitter frequently share their experiences with products, brands, and services with their online friends and those recommendations influence my thinking.
Social media marketing is different than traditional marketing campaigns. Successful social media marketing strategies are personal and interactive. People aren’t interested in being advertised to in traditional ways. People use social media for a variety of reasons but being entertained or informed is central to the experience. So simply running a traditional looking ad about your newest product probably won’t attract much attention. However, posting content that captures attention in an amusing way and informs the user about how your product will make their life better, easier, or happier is likely to result in more click-throughs and conversions.
According to Mark Schaefer (2014) an effective social media marketing plan revolves around three important elements: targeted connections, meaningful content, and authentic helpfulness.
An effective social media marketing plan nurtures connections between your business and your customers. Social media for your business should be focused on customer engagement. When you find out what your customers are interested in, what they are concerned about, and then provide them with useful information and content, they are much more likely to engage with your business. By using social media to talk to them, not at them, and most importantly, listen and respond to their issues and concerns, you have the opportunity to build a lasting relationship.
Simply having a business Facebook or Twitter account isn’t enough. Social media won’t work for your business without valuable, consistent, and compelling content creation and distribution. Content is core to all of your social media endeavors. Content is what gets your story out and engages your target audience.
Authentic helpfulness is as important at targeted connections and meaningful content. In general, people use social media sites to get away from the real world for a few minutes or several hours. They want to see cute family photos, connect with friends, or watch funny animal videos. They aren’t usually deliberately seeking information about your products or services on social media. However, people do want to engage with companies that will help them save money or improve their life in some way. That’s where the concept of authentic helpfulness comes into play. You have to give away some useful content to build relationships and trust with customers. Content that is viewed as helpful can include:
Providing helpful content builds relationships that can lead to paying customers.
The challenge for business owners is that social media changes quickly. Social media has become so popular that developing a social media advertising strategy is important for most businesses. Staying current on social media platforms and their unique specifications can be difficult unless you have the expertise and time to devote to it. Understanding the new requirements, features and restrictions of each platform is necessary in order to keep your social media marketing plan on track.
Bigger businesses can afford to have marketing staff dedicated to establishing and monitoring their social media presence. But for small business owners, it’s not that easy. Small and mid-sized businesses typically have limited personnel who can focus on establishing and maintaining a successful social media campaign. Colorado Springs SEO for Growth helps businesses of all sizes implement an effective social media marketing plan.
Are you ready to get social? You probably realize your business can’t live without it but you may not know how to develop a social media plan that works for your business. Colorado Springs SEO for Growth offers a wide range of services specifically for social media marketing campaigns. Click the link to learn more.