It’s 2018. Our definition of reality is constantly expanding to the digital realm, and it looks like there’s no plan of stopping. In saying that, getting down to business now means that we also need to get down with posting.
Social media presence is everything. Why waste money on billboards (small businesses can’t afford to anyway) when digital ads are cheap, target audiences are easier to find and it seems that practically everyone is looking up products and services on the internet (primarily on social media) before they do their shopping.
However, there are downsides.
The social media network giants show some staggering numbers and facts:
When you take all the hard facts into account, it becomes evident that you will be setting yourself up for failure if you don’t approach social media marketing with a plan. 60 million businesses are no easy competition, and as a brand, you’re also putting your posts and ads to compete against consumers’ friends and families. In circumstances such as these, a bit of good old planning can be just what it takes for your business to establish its presence in an ocean of drooling marketers. If you’re wondering how to lay out a rock solid social media marketing strategy, here are some of the most crucial steps to take:
Dedicate yourself to:
Then, just as important as identifying your target audience:
This is by no means an exhaustive list, however, the important thing to take away from it is that you have to approach social media marketing with the same professionalism you use in every other aspect of your business.
If you’re still not convinced you should take the time out to create a social media marketing plan, there are a number of ways having a clear business vision backed with an arsenal of data can help you run your business efficiently. Let’s explore a few.
1. Without A Plan, You Complicate Your Marketing
The question is not what are the benefits of a good SMM strategy, but rather, what will you lose if you don’t have one? You’ll essentially be making it more difficult for consumers to buy your products or services because they’ll be asking themselves: what’s this business about? You have to devise the shortest way to reach the exact type of audience you’ll need, and then present them with the message they would like to hear the most.
A focused marketing strategy is like the glue to make all the pieces that comprise your business or brand fit like a puzzle.
Sounds simple? It is, but it’s also easy to lose it, especially if you have multiple products, or cater to different markets. There are a lot of businesses out there who offer a plethora of products that are not connected to each other in any obvious way. Food products and cosmetics, really? T-shirts and books. That’s no Aliexpress, that’s just what having no direction looks like.
One common trap for small business owners is trying to compete in a lot of different markets and segments by offering unconnected products or services.
So, asking yourself all of the following questions is highly relevant:
There’s almost always something to get rid of.
We understand that there are some tough decisions to be made, but if you want to enjoy long term success and steady growth, getting rid of any excess works like a charm. If there is more than one market under your brand, you may consider refocusing by branching out, or nesting in a new brand. Always observe market dynamics and see if your offerings match up with your key competencies and whether they are profitable for your business. Once you have a core focus, look at the different segments of that market and see what the demand is, who are the competitors and if there is an opportunity to expand what you offer.
3. Consistency Inspires Trust
What if you pivot from a business that offers “this” and “a little bit of that”, to a brand that gets recognized for how well it manufactures, creates, distributes, or in other words: just generally gets the job done, in one, single, unique, amazing THIS? If you want to hijack your way to brand recognition and success, you won’t ever do it by being a jack-of-all-trades. Pick your forte, and make sure your quality, service and presence are consistent.
4. An Effective Strategy Will Make Business Decisions Easier
Once you know exactly what your business stands for, what it does, and who it would be useful for, you can focus your attention on finding the right people. That could mean researching the places where your target audience likes to hang out – Facebook, Twitter, Insta, quora – or all of them. You can tap into their habits as consumers, and learn how they like to buy. If you are keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing, that might even be a shortcut to all of this.
Essentially, an effective strategy means that you know what you’re looking for – if a particular decision doesn’t lead your company in the direction you previously established as part of your strategy, it’s easier to identify it, and steer clear.
5. A Great Social Media Strategy Will Give You the Specific Parameters to Measure Your Goals
Any business owner, entrepreneur, solopreneur, or other business animal will probably have some resemblance of a business goal in mind. But the thing with goals is that they aren’t that useful if you don’t have specific parameters that define their achievement. If your primary goal is to bring in sales, then how many sales do you have to bring in before you consider that goal a success? How many newsletters, how much traffic?
So this is the pro-tip of the year: Make sure your objectives are very specific, easily measurable, time-bound and realistic. You have to set goals that you can achieve. Let your goals be milestones, rather than fantasies for the future. And that’s what an effective strategy means anyway: a set of specific parameters that allow you to stay on track when making important business decisions.
6. There Are SEO Rewards to Be Reaped
A good social media plan is one sure way to boost your site’s traffic and rank it on google, which in turn can increase your brand’s digital presence even more. No matter the platform (or ideally, platforms – as each social media account is used for entirely different networking behaviors) you’re using for your social media marketing efforts, they all have one thing in common – they allow you to link back to your website and direct traffic there. Effective SMM combined with solid SEO efforts is one delectable recipe for success.
7. A Killer Social Media Strategy Helps You Cut Marketing Costs
When you focus your marketing efforts to specific, well – researched audiences, using well thought out marketing strategies it means you’re making the best bet.
You won’t be throwing your hard earned marketing bucks to the wind and seeing them evaporate into thin air, without a way to tell where they went. Instead, you’ll be targeting a specific audience, with messages and branding tailored to appeal to them, and putting it where they are most likely to see it.
And, at the end of the day, social media marketing is still, without a flicker of a doubt, the most affordable way to market, and the consumer audience you’re marketing to is constantly increasing.
8. Even Better, It Brings in Sales like there’s No Tomorrow
Remember the fact we mentioned that “conversions increase 133% when mobile shoppers see positive reviews before buying”? Along with the fact that 78% of consumers say companies’ social media posts impact their purchases, it’s nothing short of impressive. A good social media presence, with the right branding, and contextualized in the right way, can only lead to more conversions.
We are living in the age of unboxing videos (with millions of YouTube views) and people who make a living out of reviewing products. The age where “Influencer” has become a prestigious job title. Your social media marketing plan better catch up to it with a well thought out, strong strategy as soon as possible if you still want to be part of the game.
That means that, all in all, an effective social media strategy gives your business a competitive advantage. Especially because there are an awful lot of businesses out there who still don’t have one.