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Developing a social media marketing plan across all platforms
Cameron Tyler | August 21, 2012
Digging into social media marketing can feel as hard as the classic child at the beach trying to dig a hole to the other side of the world. With so many different options available, lingo to learn, and platforms to keep up with, it’s no wonder that so many companies have taken their sweet time getting around to marketing on social media sites. You can use their delay to your advantage, though, as you develop a social media marketing plan that will effectively reach as many platforms as possible.
Identifying Your Target Audience
Before jumping into every single social media site you can find, spend some time evaluating who is part of your target audience and what sites they use. Of course, Facebook is one of the front-runners for people of all ages, while Twitter is lagging behind in reaching the older demographic. Instagram’s use is restricted to people with smartphones, and Pinterest’s audience is more female than male. Although it hasn’t quite taken off yet, Google+ is a great way to reach tech-savvy people, and it has some features unique to businesses.
Based on the demographic you’re trying to reach, research what sites those types of people are most likely to spend their time on, particularly when they’re interacting with businesses. Then, determine what sites to focus your marketing strategy on. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin, so select just the networks that will help you best reach your target audience. For example, although Pinterest is popular, it’s very visually oriented. Unless you can put together some great visuals, you may want to stick to reaching this audience through another site, like Facebook.
Creating an Integrated Marketing Approach
Rather than coming up with a separate marketing strategy for each social media website, coming up with an integrated approach that also includes print, radio and television is the way to go. If you’re promoting the same message across all of the channels, people can see your offline ads and find the same content online, regardless of what social media website they use most. This convergence helps you come out with a consistent brand message and rally people around one specific goal.
One of the best ways to integrate your marketing is to issue a challenge to your potential customers and provide tools across all of your marketing channels to help them achieve that goal. Although you don’t have to give the exact same tools everywhere, having your communication focused around that theme will provide some coherence. You may even find that people seek out your business on other social media sites to find more of the content that can help them achieve their goals.
When you’re creating your marketing approach, the one thing it absolutely needs to include is a giveaway. Consumers point to giveaways and discounts as the main reason they interact with brands on social media websites, and this is the best way to generate attention around your brand. Especially if you reward people who share or retweet your posts, you’re giving away your products and services for one of the most valuable types of advertising: personal recommendations.
Keeping Up Your Social Media Presence
Social media these days is bringing in more customer service aspects, in addition to the brand messaging and promotion. Therefore, once you start a social media account, it’s critical to keep it up-to-date and to monitor your account so you can respond to customer questions and complaints in a timely fashion. Many companies hire a marketing expert to manage social media accounts, although this isn’t always possible with smaller businesses.
Another option is to use software to help you integrate communication from all of the social media channels. You can not only manage all of the comments and replies, but also start tracking long-term patterns in what your customers are interested in. This can help you post the most effective content that will engage people with your brand. Having the best mix of brand deals, helpful tips, brand announcements and links to others’ content increases the chance that people will engage with you on a regular basis.
Social Media Marketing is a Long-Term Process
Although you can run a promotion and get people to flock to your social media pages, you also need to focus on the long-term goals of developing customers who are loyal to your brand. In addition to developing a big cross-platform marketing campaign, it’s important to keep engaging with people through your social media accounts. Whether you’re providing valuable tips related to your products, timely current event posts, and of course, the occasional deal, you’re renewing interest in your brand and keeping people tuned into your account, ready to step into action when you launch your next campaign.
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