The Fool Proof Social Marketing Plan

Your colleagues, countless articles, the success of viral marketing campaigns and expert bloggers have finally convinced you that social media is a force to be reckoned with.  Communication platforms such as Twitter, FourSquare and Facebook allow companies to create and build new and existing relationships.  Tools such as hypertargeting identifies your market with surgical like precision.  Web analytics measure your performance to identify both your strengths and weakness.  You’re ready to jump on the social media band wagon, but naturally, you ask yourself “HOW?!” 

Like all marketing endeavours, it all begins with a great idea: “Let’s start marketing through social media!” followed by a well thought out strategy.  Here’s how to make your social marketing plan fool-proof:

1. Establish Objectives – What short-term and long-term goals do you wish to fulfil with your social media marketing efforts?  Having a SMART (Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) goal isn’t enough these days – they need to be SMARTER (Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely, Evaluated, Re-evaluated).  Your objectives should answer the who, what, where, when, why and how of your campaign.

2. Listen – Always keep one ear to the ground and listen to what the public has to say about you and product.  What are they interested in?  What’s working, and what isn’t?  What suggestions have been made?  Don’t fall victim to thinking you know exactly what the consumer needs.  Go straight to the source to find out: Twitter, Facebook, blogs, Google searches, Yelp, Amazon.  You’d be surprised how honest and forthcoming the public can be when it comes to airing their satisfaction/grievances.

3. Target Market – If social media is the latest addition to your marketing mix, then it’s possible that you may have already identified your target market.  But consider this: is your target market online?  It’s entirely possible that your social marketing efforts might tap into a secondary market.  Determine the extent of their internet activity: usage, frequency, user status, and loyalty to specific mediums.  Identify demographics, psychographics, geographic and behaviouralistic traits of your audience and structure your content strategy accordingly.

4. Communication Channels– A variety of social media platforms exist, including but not limited to Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs, websites, FourSquare, Facebook, all of which allow you to create a flow of communication and create/facilitate relationships with potential and existing users.  Consider the benefit of these channels and how they will be integrated into your current strategy.

5. Stand and Deliver – Create a content schedule to facilitate timely delivery and increase campaign efficiency.  Identify how frequently content will be delivered and by whom within your organization?  Will everyone contribute or will you a dedicate a team to the social media marketing efforts?  What content will you deliver and what conversations do you plan to create or join?  Critical to the delivery is relating the content back to the objective and branding strategy and adopting a distinct voice within the market.

6. Measure Results – Analytics such as URL trackers, search engine ranking, site visits, Google Alerts help take the guesswork out of planning and reveals the effectiveness of your campaign.  These tools of the trade help monitor your results and can determine how much traffic is generated through your website, your website referrals, all amount of time spent on each page, number of retweets on twitter, number of “check-ins” at your establishment via Foursquare.  What is measured ultimately depends on the goals as identified in your objectives.

7. Evaluate and Re-evaluate: Reflect on the campaign and see if the results measure up to your goals and objectives – were they achieved?  Make the appropriate adjustments and continue striving for success!

Click here for a full scope of delivering a successful social marketing campaign.  Delicious, isn’t it?  Bon Appetit!

Sources: Reve NewsExpansion Plus, MRKT3311 Team A, Wikipedia,

Image credit: De Telegraaf

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