When creating a social media marketing campaign through sites such as twitter and Facebook, one has to create a plan that will promote the company’s interests and values while letting go of all control. Social media has a life of its own and if your campaign is not built to deal with the possible consequences of releasing control, your social media campaign may be doing your company more harm than good. The following is a list of best practices when creating a social media plan for your company:
- Have a plan – Creating a social media plan is the first step in getting your company started. You will begin with selecting the market you will be targeting. Find out what networks they are on and begin creating a list of sites you will join. Research to find out if your competitors already have a foothold on these sites; study them to know of whether they are successful and where you can improve upon their tactics. Read the comments and reactions that others have posted to see if they have a good following and how often they update. This is also the point where you begin to plan what message your campaign will broadcast. Consider it as part of your company branding and keep it consistent. This includes figuring out who will be in charge of updating the networks, and budgeting for hiring a new employee if need be. Since this person will be in charge of representing your company, be sure it is a professional person who will report directly to the head of the company on progress.
- Create an Representative Identity – Understand what you want to say and who will say it. Will you be representing the sentiments of the CEO or will you be joining using your logo mascot identity? This will be based off your research into who your market is and to who you think they will respond to best. For example, a company selling a professional service may do better off being represented by the CEO identity who offers expertise and legitimacy as opposed to a toy manufacturer who may benefit from being represented by a cartoon or toy identity. Select a professional picture as the face of the company and be sure to leave the pictures of last weeks crazy party out. This is of course unless you are in the business of throwing crazy parties. Keep your images relevant to your market audience.
- Focus on Relationships – This is the most important recommendation on the list. Social media networks are built on the fact that we want to stay connected with friends and loved ones but don’t focus on your number of connections alone. Relationships are what the whole phenomenon is about. Creating a network of friends who you do not stay in contact with or don’t repeatedly update is useless and may make your company look cold. If you do not have time to focus your attention on the networks you have created it is best to not create any network at all.
- Let go of Control – Understand that social media sites have a life of their own and posting your company to these sites is an open invitation for feedback including complaints and criticism. Keep your intentions transparent so that you don’t appear deceptive. Always be accessible and never ignore important questions your network may have. If your company has recently made news for a recall or for a potentially embarrassing incident, do not try to ignore it and hope it goes away. Chances are that someone is already talking about it, and eventually it will lead to bad press. The best way to combat this is to be sincere in how you handle the situation and to direct the conversation from the start. Begin blogging about the incident and how you plan to fix it. This way, you can curb a downward spiral before it starts.
- Analytics – Certain sites such as Facebook allow you to get a certain amount of analytics on who is visiting your site. Find out who they are and target that industry. Also set up a Google alert that will email you every time your company is mentioned on the internet. This way you can have an early warning to your company being misrepresented.
- Set up Benchmarks – Benchmarks and goals will allow you to rate the success of your social media efforts. It is only through them that you can know if your efforts have been worthwhile. Some companies will focus on the amount of friend requests they receive, while others will be happy with new sales leads. Some others will target different promotions on different networks to find out which are working best. Regardless of your tactics, figure out what you want out of your campaign and being realistic with your goals, start with small, reachable goals that will grow and evolve throughout your social media lifespan. Without goals it will be difficult to gauge if your efforts are paying off.
- Be Consistent – Focus your efforts collectively to form a consistent message. Most social media users are members of numerous social media networks and chances are they you will come across each other on another site, be sure your message is being reinforced to avoid any confusion.
As you can see there is a lot involved in creating a basic social media strategy. In order to be involved in what your audience is saying about you, make sure you hire a professional to create and implement a solid strategy based on relationships. Otherwise you can hurt your company by being inconsistent and appearing deceptive. It is our belief at SABA that a successful online marketing campaigns start from the bottom up. As a professional SEO and SEM company, SABA can develop a successful social media plan for your company that will help with your website’s Optimization, ultimately leading to more sales and a higher ROI. Call us today to begin your online marketing plan.