These are the steps we need to take to make social media work for your business. In a previous post, we explored the key concepts you need to understand so you can use social media effectively. Go to that post first, as it will give you a good understanding and help you use social media even more effectively.
If you’re ready, let’s go through the key steps to make social media work for your business.
Step 1. Make social media part of your marketing plan
Social media should form some of your marketing activities but not all of them. It should be part of your marketing plan not a separate add on.
Too often I meet companies that have developed a Social Media Plan which is completely removed from the rest of their marketing.
Either it’s because they dislike social media, so have outsourced it to someone, or because they love social media and want to be on it all the time!
The trick is to look at your marketing activities as a whole, keeping your customers in mind, and to make sure that social media sits alongside all your other marketing activities. Yes, you can then separate it out into its own plan to give to someone to implement but it should never be planned in isolation.
Think of it as like training for a triathlon – you’ll have your separate swimming, running and cycling training plans with their own goals and activities to achieve those goals but you’ll plan them together. This makes sure you achieve your overall goal: successfully completing the triathlon by pulling together all three elements. Social media is just one marketing discipline – it has to integrate with all the others.
Step 2. Create your social media plan
This can be broken down into three very distinct creation phases, which need to be done in this order.
First: Start with your customers
For this to be most effective, you need to come up with a plan for each of your customer segments. This is crucial as they each segment will be using social media in a different way. Typically, once you have done created a social media plan for your focus segment, you will find overlap with your other segments – but focus first. Choose one segment.
Now, answer these questions about your chosen segment:
- Which social media tools do they use and why? For fun, for business, to look for ideas, recommendations, knowledge…?
- When are they on social media? What time of day? Which days? Are there seasonal peaks and troughs?
- What do they like on social media? Visual content? Links to articles? Intelligent commentary? Personal insights into your business?
- What don’t they like on social media?
If you don’t know the answer then do some research – start by asking friendly customers you know or people who match that segment.
Take the time to sketch out who your customers are and how they use social media.
Next: Determine your messages
What messages do you need to get out to them? What do they want to know about your company, your products, your services, or about topics that relate to all of these?
List all the messages you know are important to them. Start to think about how you can create content around those messages.
Finally, create your plan based on what social media they use at each point of their journey to purchase
Systematically go through the steps of the Buyer’s Journey.
Think about the information they need and the information you wish to give them at every single step of the Buyer’s Journey.
Determine which social media tool they are using at this stage. Match the tool with the messages.
A basic example is:
|Stage of their Buying Journey||Social Media Tools they use||What they like, want and need to see||Key Messages|
|Aware||Twitter||What they like, want and need to see|
sharing key influencers’ content; commenting on others’ content so new people notice you; use of hashtags.
|We are here, we’re experts at doing A, B and C, we’re approachable.|
|Interested||LinkedIn ||Photos of what you’re up to; personal messages; visual memes; testimonials.||Reinforcing expertise; keeping those who “know” your business interested; building relationships.|
|Considering||LinkedIn ||Postcard testimonials; video testimonials; why choose us quick guides (visual).||We can help you – here’s the proof.|
|Adopting||LinkedIn ||Expert advice and commentary on others’ posts.||You’ve made the right choice in choosing us.|
|Loyal||LinkedIn ||Talking heads / postcards of satisfied clients saying what else we have done for them.||Here’s how else we can help you.|
You can see that it is not, “one message across all social media delivered in the same way at every single point of the Buyer’s Journey”. It is tailored, thought through, and planned.
There are very few businesses who can completely avoid social media these days. If your customers are there, you need to be there. However, make sure you are a business that is using it as part of an integrated marketing plan and matching it to messages and how customers use it.
If you missed it, my previous blog post looked at the key concepts you need to understand to be able to use social media effectively. Click here for it.
Kara Stanford is a marketing strategist, specialising in helping SMEs.
Contact her to find out about her workshops and events or for a chat about how she can help your business.