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Small businesses are struggling with social media. Most don’t have sufficient funds and human resources to leverage to create meaningful content to share across social media platforms. Many hear the endless siren calls from industry pundits that sells the sex and sizzle while ignoring the hard work it takes to build a presence that engages a social consumer.
We consistently deal with the same problems over and over with clients. Most just don’t have the patience to build an effective content marketing strategy and build out digital touchpoints across the social web.
They rush pell mell into setting up Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube accounts, with no holistic marketing strategy that adequately addresses marketing ROI content marketing initiatives, web site optimization, SEO best practices and inbound lead generation management. This is tactical marketing, with no thought about strategic marketing.
Resist diving into the pool with no thought about the depth! Here are three marketing strategies to work through as you start a social media marketing campaign.
First - your web site works properly right? Our formula for successful social media marketing starts off with an in-depth review of the client’s web site. Does the site facilitate user navigation and engagement (menus, user interface, forms that work) have calls to action, incorporate quality images, utilize compelling content that resonates with the visitor, incorporate in-bound marketing elements, and most importantly, include a “search engine friendly” (keywords, SEO plugins, titles) WordPress Blog?
We go through a careful holistic review of a web site, with an actionable plan behind the review that addresses the “missing in action” marketing elements. If all of these elements are not in place it makes no sense to start a social media marketing campaign - the traffic won’t convert and your diluting you marketing investments.
Next, what are your big picture content marketing needs? Text, videos, images, blogging, infographics or some combination? These help you define the right platform and downstream content marketing initiatives.
If your a B2C brand with a strong consumer focus you may want to utilize extensive imagery that will resonate with your targeted customers.
Your images can be developed internally, sourced online (with proper image credits) or be generated via user generated contests via social platforms. Leverage your content development costs as much as possible - build a high quality Pinterest Account, then share these images across social platforms with emphasis on Facebook and Twitter - rinse and repeat.
If your a B2B brand then your customers will typically respond better to long form content: Blogging, PowerPoint Presentations, White Papers, Newsletter, Ebooks. Again, leverage your content costs by sharing multiple times across all social media platforms. A well written blog post can be shared via Twitter or Facebook 3-5 times each in a thirty day period and at optimum times for that platform.
Third who is the customer and where do they congregate online? Most small businesses do not have sufficient marketing resources to build a strong engagement on all social media marketing platforms. You are much better off identifying your customer and then picking no more than two platforms that will drive social media engagement.
Who competes with you in your market segment? Check them out online - look at their social media accounts by assessing Fans, Likes, Followers, Engagement Levels, Time on the Platform, Bios, #hashtag usage (increasingly important), Kred and Klout scores, etc.
Don’t make the mistake of looking at your competitors and assuming they know what they are doing. Many do not and your social media marketing strategy will never get off the ground. Leaving you to wonder why! Analyze their social presence carefully - we use Twitonomy for Twitter analysis and Listorious to come up with “thought leaders” and brands we want to use for competitive analysis for clients.
If targeting businesses (B2B) your better off with a blended strategy that utilizes Twitter and LinkedIn. Assuming your blogging of course as a mainstay of your social media marketing. Consumer focused brands typically are better targeting Facebook and Pinterest, with YouTube as a third social channel.
To summarize: content rules social media, not the snazzy platforms and apps - pick your social platforms carefully, do some kind of SWAG review of your competitors, realizing they may not know what they are doing and test and then analyze marketing ROI. Rinse and Repeat!