Social media marketing strategy – key template areas for consideration
The definition of a social media strategy varies depending on the position of the individual in the organisation you are asking. There are a variety of strategies that can be used. Let’s have look some of them and highlight their impact on your business objectives.
Social media support strategy
Social media has given a platform to the customer where they can express their views about your products and services. This means that you may receive good feedback as well as bad feedback whether you engage with social media or not. It is essential for your business to use a social media marketing strategy template to consider how this feedback can help you to improve your products and services, and how you can integrate social media into your overall marketing strategy. It can also give you the opportunity to open a customer knowledge base Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) forum. Here you would be providing customers with a forum where they could contribute to support other customers, making them feel that they are an important player. Customers may be discussing your products and services online, so it is wise to join in that conversation, listen and help turn more people into customers.
Some steps you can take to implement this strategy:
- Internal support forums or closed communities / intranets.
- Create a video channel with solutions to common problems and allow users to post comments and also allow them to upload videos with “How to” solutions.
- Monitoring the main social media sites e.g. in the UK – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – where customers could be discussing or enquiring about your product or service.
- Actively make customers aware of your support channels, link them into your website with prominent icons at the top of your site.
Social media operations strategy
By adopting this strategy you will employ a new way to communicate with customers and potential customers. This can be done by introducing an internal social network. This is a very effective tool where information is updated on a regular basis. There are various solutions, some of these are:
- In house private networks
- Skype for video conferencing, file sharing etc.
- Lotus Quickr
- Open Atrium for document management and tracking work activities
- Internal wiki forums for discussion
By implementing a social media strategy you may experience more interest in your services and products, a reduction in incoming emails and a time efficiency benefit.
Social media sales strategy
Every business is unique, but one thing that every business executive is most interested in is social media Return on Investment (ROI) – the impact of social media on sales. Since review sites are increasing constantly and search engines are used to aid purchasing decisions, the sales strategy is linked closely with Public Relation (PR) and Search Engine Optimisation.
The focus of social media sales strategy is on identifying ‘social media advocates’ that essentially promote your product or service, as well as convincing customers to buy it. The more social media advocates you have for your business the larger your sales force is on social media and the higher the chances of converting social recommendations into sales.
Always ensure you are complying with the Advertising Standards of your targeted country. Please refer to organisations such as Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) (UK example) in your relevant target market.
To make your social media sales strategy successful, it is crucial to identify the right networks for your target market to find individuals who will be interested in your product or service. There are several frameworks that can be adopted to stimulate your social media advocates as highlighted in ‘Ideal participants in online market research: Lessons from closed communities’ study of a closed community.
Some steps that can be undertaken to enable social media sales strategies:
- Get in contact with community leaders in your field and ensure they are happy to support you
- Identify significant network platforms where your customers are and design a particular campaign to target them
- Actively engage with your customers to learn about their needs and monitor their opinions
Social media marketing strategy
Whereas a sales strategy focuses on how to sell your product, the social media marketing strategy goes a step further and draws attention towards what the customer thinks about your product or service and how customer requirements can be taken to development. The techniques to be considered here are from Search Engine Optimisation such as keyword research, monitoring trends to gain a wider image of what is happening in the market using Google Trends. You should also consider using information from your website analytics, for instance, which pages are visited most and in which product customers are more interested. Hence, this gives a clear reason why a marketing strategy should be included in Search and Social Media. Search and Social Media Marketing is now becoming a standard subject in European Business Schools curricula.
An additional opportunity social media marketing strategy gives is that you can ask customers directly how you can improve a product that some customers have experienced a problem with. By improving your product based on customer expectation, you are automatically promoting your product for more sales. Social media also provides a great platform for market research.
Some of the business objectives that you could consider measuring as a result of marketing focused strategy:
- Number of products/ service innovation ideas submitted by customers
- Numbers of constructive feedback discussions about your business
- Number of actions taken as a result of customer feedback
Some of the steps you can take to enable social media marketing strategy:
- Develop social media listening routines
- Seek community leaders in your field and ask for their opinions on your innovations
- Identify relevant platforms and networks where your customers are and ask them for feedback and consultations
What is social media marketing?
Social Media Marketing from a business point of view is a means to understanding prospective customers through feedback on products and services. Social Media Marketing cannot be separated from other marketing activities. To maximise the effectiveness of social media marketing, integrate other marketing tools such as television, search engine marketing, print etc.
Social media strategy template
As discussed above every business is unique and has a different social media strategy depending on the business sector they are in. However, one factor that should be determined by every business is that whether you are running a marketing or sales experiment, your strategy decision should be tested with a small project to access whether it is effective or not. The following are important factors that should be considered in a social media strategy:
- Business objectives- what are the aims that you want to achieve
- Determine what quantitative metrics you are going to employ to access the success of your implemented strategy. There are a number of free services available that you could use to access the effectiveness of your social media profile.
Looking for more inspiration for your social media strategy?
See how our Digital and Social Media Marketing MOOC could help you:
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Social Media Marketing for developing your international business
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