Why have a Social Marketing Campaign?
Creating an effective social media campaign and managing it effectively will undoubtedly reap rewards for your business. However, before you start, you need to assess what is right for your business and also what is manageable in terms of time and commitment for your specific circumstances. Creating a presence on social marketing platforms such as Twitter or Facebook will help market your service, but the work required to build and maintain such a presence will need to be ongoing and will require you to engage with your audience effectively and regularly.
Social media marketing is rapidly becoming a standard marketing tool for even small businesses. In order for your business to be competitive and seen by its target audience, it is essential that you incorporate social media campaigning within your wider marketing plan as many of your competitors will be doing this already. However, when planning a social media marketing campaign, you must be aware of how different the approach needs to be in comparison with more traditional ways of marketing. People join social media sites to connect with other people, not to be given the hard sell and therefore you will need to be prepared to join in with conversation and being able to give valuable and relevant advice.
Get to Know your Target Audience and Connect with Them
Your first step is to find your target audience and then develop connections and engaging with the people who have a specific interest in your products or services. You will need to make your campaign manageable, so be selective in the social media platforms that you use and who you choose to befriend or follow as you do not want to spread yourself too thinly. Focus on the social media platforms where your target audience have their strongest presence and use this combined with the wealth of knowledge you’ve built over the year’s whilst interacting with your customers to carefully tailor your marketing campaign.
In addition to potential customers, it is important to connect with other experts in your area of expertise who will then be able to help you and your business and vice versa. This will not only help you to create an effective presence online but help build and be an active part of an online community that advises and supports itself.
Once you have your audience it is important to connect with them and be consistent, interesting and informative. Listen to your audience’s conversations, and respond to their concerns or queries by giving valuable advice enabling them to connect with you. Nurturing strong and effective connections will take time and will need to be an important aspect of your social media strategy.
How often should I be engaging with my Audience?
It is important to keep a strong and consistent presence with your audience, particularly at the beginning when you are building your following. Choose how regularly your business can commit to your social media campaign and then stick to it. Develop a social media schedule which keeps you visible, but does not take you away from other areas of your work. It may be worth reviewing your time commitment after a given period to see how successful the campaign is. You could then look to increase your presence if it is effective or addressing areas of your strategy where you could make the process more time-efficient.
The Tools of the Trade
There are a number of tools which can help you manage your social media campaign, many of which are free. One of the most popular of these is HootSuite, an extremely dextrous and usable tool which will allow even the strongest of technophiles to schedule, monitor and post to various media from one location. A good starting point for any budding social media virgin is to use tools like this to schedule tweets to run on a regular basis throughout the week, and then monitoring the responses to it on an ad hoc basis.
It is of the utmost important that you check your pages daily for queries and respond where necessary through Facebook or Twitter as soon as they come in. The timely response of a representative from an organisation can be worth its weight in free publicity and can be the difference between average and exceptional customer service. If you are using Twitter, look at what your followers are talking about and feel free to join in the conversation if it is relevant to you and your business. It can also be extremely valuable to periodically scan Google Alerts for any mentions of your business to flag up any positive or negative responses to your brand. By keeping an ear to the ground when it comes to social media interactions with your brand you’ll be better placed to either construct a response to quickly and quietly diffuse negative situations or highlight and fully utilise any free publicity that might float your way.
Keep the Momentum Going
Once you have established your business on the social media landscape you must constantly keep monitoring ways to improve your presence, such as new social networking venues and tools. Look for new experts within your field who are both relevant to your business as well as being an active and vocal presence on social networking platforms and work on building relationships. Look at creating a synergy between your existing and future traditional marketing campaigns and the social media outlets you engage with. These could include competitions, giveaways, etc. and could even draw a new audience built from your offline pursuits towards your social media presence.
Monitor your audience’s movements as they may choose to switch to a different social media community, so you will need to be prepared to move over to their new location whilst taking into account any changes in their behaviour as well as learning how to use the new social media platform appropriately.
Your daily social networking schedule will be dependent on your time and commitments and will need to be scheduled to fit neatly around your other committing rather than being seen as a last minute additional task. It may take a little time to find the right fit for your working day however by monitoring your schedule on a regular basis and keep making modifications to your social media plan you should eventually be able to strike a balance of daily tasks that allows you and your business to enjoy the fruits of an effective and efficient social media strategy.
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Hi I’m Ed, and I work in the exciting, fast paced and ever-changing world of office equipment and services for Expert Market. I’ll be trying my best to keep you abreast give you a wide smorgasbord of handy hints, tips and advice to get the squeeze the best out of your business. Feel free to follow us at @expertmarket on Twitter for all the latest from the world of B2B equipment and services.