Cultivating brand potential


6 steps to “Stay on target!” when managing Social Media Marketing

Posted by: Jaine Bolton

Categories: Digital,

Tue, 13 Dec 2016

Like a lone X-wing fighter facing the Death Star, social media marketing can seem a bit overwhelming. Luke had the force to use, but social media marketing needs a bit more of a tangible plan.

Step 1 Where are we now?
Before you begin tweeting, posting, pinning or taking on the Empire, it’s important to take stock of where you are. Conduct a social media audit, what channels are you using now? Do you have any customer insights? Who are they and how do they currently interact with you? Equally, don’t forget to look at what resource you have available, can you manage everything in-house with the staff you have now or do you have the budget to outsource all or some of your digital marketing?

Step 2 Where do you want to be?
What are the key objectives you want to achieve through your social media marketing activity? Some examples include:

  • Sell: Do you want to acquire new customers and/or meet retention targets?
  • Serve: Do you want to provide customer excellence through social media?
  • Sizzle: What’s your WOW factor, your added value? You can use social media to highlight the best of your brand, product or service in a unique way.
  • Speak: Are you going to actively engage with your customers online and encourage a dialogue?
  • Save: Are there any quantifiable efficiencies or gains you can make using social media as opposed to other channels?

Remember not all of these will have a Return on Investment (ROI) so consider splitting your goals into two groups Non-ROI Goals like blog comments, email registration or retweets and ROI Goals like website enquiries originating from social or cost per lead compared to other channels.

Step 3 How do we get there?
You need to look at the overall high-level strategy of how you will achieve your objectives. Look at ways that you can segment your target markets and what will be the sequence of your communications

“The approach will not be easy.” JAN DODONNA Star Wars – A New Hope

Step 4 How exactly do we get there?
“You are required to manoeuvre straight down this trench and skim the surface to this point. The target area is only two meters wide.” JAN DODONNA Star Wars – A New Hope

This is the point at which you will need to start producing a more tactical content plan taking advantage of the 8 P’s of social media marketing –
The old marketing Jedi-Masters of:
•  Product
•  Price
•  Place
•  Promotion

and the 4 new social Padawans on the block:
•  People
•  Personalised
•  Participation
•  Present.

As Tom Laine explains in his SlideShare “In social media, we market ourselves by participating in conversations with people, we give our company a face by personalising our messages and we’re present whenever they want to talk with us!”

Personalisation is a key consideration; it’s about understanding your customer and talking to them in a language that they understand. Discovering that target market and personalising your messages to that niche will hopefully see your social media efforts resonate greater than a scattergun approach.

Step 5 The Action Plan
Clearly define the roles and responsibilities and the structure for implementing your social media strategy. Do you have enough internal resource, do you need to recruit or outsource to an external agency? There are pros and cons for each of these options, sometimes a combination of both in-house resource and hiring an external agency can be the best of both worlds. Social media implementation can be carried out very effectively by internal staff who have good knowledge of your company, but at the same time it can help to have the more objective view of an agency with insights and expertise into what works and what doesn’t.

Step 6 How do we monitor performance?

There are a number of criteria or Key Performance Indicators that you can measure against; influence, engagement, and loyalty which are all great when you are first starting out on social media, but ultimately the only measure that truly matters is ROI. Using your assessment of where you were in Step 1 you should be able to benchmark your performance against your objectives in Step 2 and because you separated out your goals into both ROI and non-ROI objectives this will be all the easier to match up the metrics with the objectives to establish if you actually got the results you wanted.

Of course, it doesn’t end there, once your social media activity is underway, it shouldn’t stop. Don’t feel overwhelmed, though, or that you have to be on every social media channel. If time and resource are limited, focus your efforts on where you will see the most return for your time and budget. It is better to be creating awesome content across a couple of channels than mediocre across them all.

Over time you will know what works and what doesn’t and for those dark moments when you’re not sure whether to post an ebook or retweet that marketing influencer, remember, “The social media force is strong with you.”