Social Media can be a powerful way to increase brand awareness, monitor your business reputation and offer better services. Nevertheless, using Social Media as part of your marketing strategy is not as simple as many people think. In order to have better control and better results with your Social Media campaign, build a flow chart starting with the following steps:
1. Research – Which Social Media are good for you
After conducting the research you must be able to answer at least the following questions:
Which Social Media networks can be used to reach my target audience?
One of the most important steps is to choose the right Social Media networks in order to successfully reach your target audience. Some social media are more business oriented (LinkedIn, Xing) while some others are great tools for finding news and articles (Twitter) etc. Your choice depends on your industry, the nature of your product/service, your language, the characteristics of your target audience etc.
Even if Social Media are considered a cost effective solution for lots of businesses, have in mind that sometimes traditional channels can be much more effective especially in B2B cases.
Here are some key issues you should know before investing in Social Media websites:
- Terms and Conditions
- Posting, Replying
- Community development
What are the risks of getting involved in such networks?
The main risk in Social Media is that you can`t control what people say. In order to be able to manage a future crisis you must be flexible, monitor what users say about your company, locate potential issues and be responsive.
Tip: Negative comments or mentions with strong language and no arguments are not always worth answering.
A secondary but also important risk in Social Media is investing too much time without having a clear strategy or goals. Remember that you should not focus all your strengths on Social Media and that there is not a single formula of success for all businesses/industries. Make sure you adopt the optimization philosophy according to the feedback and the results (experiment – measure – improve).
2. Define communication objectives
In social Media you have the option to speak and/or to listen. It is your decision whether to ignore what people say or to consider it a useful feedback and try to improve. By using Social Media you can add value to your services by understanding the needs of your customers. Just make sure you do it professionally as it is vital to define your objectives and align them to your corporate communication strategy. Generally a change of customer’s opinion for a brand can be achieved only if a campaign has specific and clear objectives.
Tip: If your objectives target only on increasing website visits (traffic) then Social Media are not recommended. Instead, try internet advertising options such as pay per click, display ads etc.
A successful Social Media campaign, like in all communication campaigns, requires an action plan. So open an excel sheet, list the channels and schedule the various tasks (i.e. monitoring, replying, posting, community building etc), add corporate announcements, events and seasonal “material”. Remember that you should have clear objectives and predefined available resources for this campaign.
4. Community Development
Social Media community development is the process to build your global network within social media. This network can be a source of information related to your customers needs or to your brand reputation.
Follow people of common interests on twitter and start new discussions in groups on Social Networks like LinkedIn or Xing. Share content that your target audience will it find useful. Don’t try to reach millions of people in one day. After all community building is a long term process.
5. Cross Linking to other Social Media
Driving traffic through various social media embassies of your business can be an effective way to promote your business. This is because in this way you take advantage of the different characteristics that are supported in the various Social Media. So when you build accounts or when you post messages on Social Media don’t forget to cross link them.
6. Measuring Social Media
Measuring the effectiveness of a Social Media campaign depends on the objectives you have set. The various metrics that Social Media networks provide can be useful way to understand the reaction of the users on the messages that they receive.