Six Steps to Success in the Social Media World
1. Understand Your Target Audience
The first and most important step in any social media campaign is understanding your target audience. The most common misconceived strategy is to target the general public. You need to understand your audience and how to effectively communicate, precisely as possible, about your service or product. As a social marketer, you must create a two-way open forum, allowing a constant stream of exchanged information with your target audience.
2. Figure Out Your Objectives
Objectives are often driven by marketing or sales. Many companies today use social media as a tool for improving Search Engine Optimization (SEO), as it has long been directly accountable to improvements in web sales. A simple question to ask yourself, “What’s the goal or point of this program?” The answer is usually a combination of the following:
- Increase brand or product awareness
- Increase sales
- Lead generation
- Loyalty program
- Create a community
3. Connect With Your Audience
How do you connect with the audience? A well planned social media marketing effort starts with research. Finding out where your desired audience spends its time interacting and sharing content is critical in any strategy. Social media marketing is an investment in time and relationships. Creating profiles on several websites will improve awareness and begin the first steps in building your community. A good start would be to focus on some of the most popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Digg and Flickr.
4. Choose A Strategy
While creating profiles is a start, understanding how to use these social media websites is paramount. Creating a channel on YouTube for your monthly video seminars, generating potential B-to-B clients through LinkedIn, building a fan base on Facebook, driving traffic with your followers on Twitter, or building a great community on your company blog all sound great, but it takes a sound strategy for implementation. There are different approaches to each website; fortunately there are hundreds of articles available on the Internet. Some basic research will yield great results for strategies on the larger networking sites.
5. Measure Your Goals
Determine your key metrics before you get started. By leveraging social media monitoring services like Radian6 and web analytics such as Google Analytics, you can gain insights to improve results. Use tools like YouTube’s Insight to track videos posted on your YouTube Channel. The bottom line is that you need to measure your goals. Choose your objectives and goals, define them ahead of time, and create a plan to track your progress. This will allow you to not only gauge the success of your overall campaign, but allow for refinements on the fly while you’re still running the program.
6. Finally, Join The Conversation
Now that your social media campaign is running, it’s time to join the social media world. Go get social. Search for your name and your company. See where people are talking about you and join in on the conversation. Post comments on other sites and blogs leaving contact information or website address if permitted. Learn the lingo and jargon so you understand the way people talk. Learn how tool use tools like the “Hashtag” (#) or “Retweet” (RT) features in Twitter. Participate in ways that follow the accepted norms of each site. Become a community leader or topic expert by answering questions, starting discussions, and stay actively involved. You must stay current and relevant to continually build awareness of your person, company or product in the social world.