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Wednesday, November 07, 2012


A lot of mistakes I see businesses making when joining social media networks is leaping in without a plan – or to put it more precisely – without a strategy. It’s something I think many of us overlook. After all, when we use something on a day-to-day basis for our own personal enjoyment (I mean, who doesn't log into Facebook during their lunch break or on their night-off?) we assume we can treat social media marketing with the same flippancy and casualness.

But social media marketing is just that, it’s marketing. You wouldn't jump head first into a print ad campaign without thinking about the marketing credentials and the strategy behind it first and you shouldn't jump head first into social media marketing either.

The sheer power of social media marketing has already been proven so don't waste your time trying to convince yourself of the potential opportunity. While I'm not claiming every company needs to hire a social media professional to plan out their strategy, what I do recommend is sitting down with your marketing team and answering a few questions, outlining a key points, and jotting down some ideas or key concerns.

1. Think about your demographic
Before you start posting status updates, think about who's going to be reading them and what time of day they're most likely to check their updates and news feeds. Take for example, if your main demographic included teenagers and school children, posting during school hours would be a big waste of time because they would be in class (hopefully) and wouldn't have access to their accounts. Posting during the evening however or during lunch break would be prime time for updates as this is when they'd be online and looking through updates.

2. Brand your pages
Your social profiles are just like your web pages and emails. They should all be branded. Make sure you've got your logo clearly and concisely displayed somewhere on your profile and make sure your colors and design features echo your websites in some way as well. Make sure these choices are consistent throughout your social networking too – because it’ll be confusing for customers and fans if not.

3. Set a budget
A great part of social media marketing is communicating with your customers and fan base, encouraging their interaction. While you don't need a budget for this initially, in order to drive your presence forward on a larger scale, you might want to set up competitions or give-away's. To do this effectively, you need to set aside a budget and a realistic one too. Do you want to give away smaller prizes on a regular basis, or do you want to give away a large prize once or twice a year? All these little details need to be taken into consideration for your promotions.


4. What are using social media for?
While social media is for encouraging brand communication and inevitably increasing traffic and sales, you need to consider what your customers and followers are interacting with you for. Are they following your updates because they're funny, or do you give away bargain discount codes? Do you post interesting and insightful content or are they following you because they get a behind-the-scenes look into your company? All these thing matter and once you've identified this pull, making updates become easier.

5. Set targets
Set yourself realistic targets on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Think about how many updates you want to post daily, and then (on a larger scale) how many likes and interactions you want on a monthly basis. Keeping track of these things is a great way to prove how worthwhile your work has been – but it’s also a good idea as you can see if your technique and strategy is actually working over time. If not – it might be time to try a different social network – or reevaluate the strategies you’d had in place.

By asking yourself these questions and taking the time to answer them honestly, you can dramatically improve your chances of social media success. The benefits of social media can be yours with a little planning and hard work.


This Guest Blog Post was provided by Elle-Rose Williams – who works with WhoIsHostingThis. You can find out more about them, here

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