As the Internet rapidly changes the world, it’s also completely transforming consumer behavior and expectations. You know you need a killer social media marketing plan, and you know you need it fast. But the world of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, et al. can be intimidating. Where do I start? What do I do? Here are four steps for creating a social media marketing plan that gets results:
Get a strategy – Set a specific, measurable goal, and a series of concrete steps you can take to get you there. Unless you’re hawking a growth-hacked product with virality baked into every step of the funnel, social media works best at the top – to acquire and activate potential users. But don’t forget that consumers now demand social media interactivity on Facebook and Twitter, so these are also powerful platforms for customer service! You’ve got to figure out what your business needs to accomplish, then brainstorm ways that social media can help you get there.
Know your audience - If you’re a racing company trying to market aftermarket catalytic converters to young men, Pinterest might not be the first place to go, because its audience is typically middle-aged women. Put in the time researching the key demographics for each site:
- Facebook: Has over 1 billion users, with more than a third of its base made up of major income earners of both sexes.
- Twitter: Primarily used by tech-savvy young people.
- Google+: Mostly used by tech-industry folks like Google employees and, increasingly (due to Google’s recent support for Authorship Markup) Internet content creators.
- Pinterest: This site has five female users for every male, and they tend to be between 30 and 50 years old.
- LinkedIn: Has 200 million users that are focused on networking in their careers, and are the most sophisticated (and marketing-resistant) population of all the social media platforms.
Use specific tactics on specific platforms - You may have heard this old saying: “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” Just because you’re on a social media site doesn’t mean people will start throwing likes and retweets at you. You have to interact with users in an authentic, organic way that is native to each specific platform. If you’re on YouTube, it means not just producing and sharing your own videos, but passing on other funny, interesting or engaging videos you find. If you’re on Facebook, it means being involved in comment threads, posting on your fans’ pages when you find content relevant to their interests, and sending them well wishes on their birthdays. Get to know each site’s subculture and the way that consumers organically interact with the platform and each other, and then mimic that.
Be dedicated and be patient - Sure, signing up for Twitter and LinkedIn is free, but social media marketing is incredibly time-consuming and expensive. You’re not just posting original content; you’re also curating fun, related media from around the Internet to share with your community. You also have to gain the trust of your social network that you’re not just there to spam them. This takes time and effort! Social media marketing doesn’t pay off overnight, so be willing to stick with it for the long haul.