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To be effective with integrated digital marketing and achieve social media success today, you need more than a website. Social media has evolved from a powerful communication medium to a key marketing channel. It offers a platform for customers to find you when they’re seeking reviews, comparing pricing, or researching offers.

Increasingly, people end up on websites after encountering your brand on Facebook or clicking on a link in a Twitter feed. Using social media to direct traffic to your website and generate new leads is an indispensable part of your marketing mix.

Although it’s tempting to dive right into the plethora of social media sites out there, to achieve social media success, it’s important to develop a strong social marketing plan first with goals and metrics that structure your efforts, and measure your progress and effectiveness.

Your Plan For Social Media Success

Developing a social media marketing plan is no different from developing any other strategy. The basic components can be established by answering these simple questions:

  • Who are you targeting with your social marketing?
  • What goals or objectives do you want to accomplish?
  • What social marketing tactics and channels will provide measurable success?

Who are you targeting with social marketing?

Prospects? Customers? Analysts? Media? All of the above? Once you’ve decided on the targets, flesh out the defining characteristics of each group by developing buyer personas. Start by listing the characteristics for each buyer persona, but then add a social marketing dimension.

What goals or objectives do you want to accomplish?

Social marketing requires time, effort and resources. That’s why you need clear goals, objectives and action items for every social channel. As with any new strategy, test a variety of social marketing channels and tactics to see which has the most significant impact on your goals.

What social marketing tactics and channels will provide measurable success?

You don’t have time to properly develop content and branding for every channel. For social media success, you need to take some time to discover where your prospects are (or your customers, or other audiences). Are they on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, or another? There is no point in developing a strong presence on a channel your audiences don’t frequent.

The Golden Rules of Social Media Success 

Don’t take yourself too seriously. I know you’re trying to eventually sell products and services, but social marketing is not the place for first sales calls. Try instead to be social. Introduce yourself as you would at a cocktail party.

  • Inbound marketing is great but it’s not enough. Even the inbound marketing software vendors use combine inbound tactics with paid promotions and telemarketing. Never underestimate what a bit of outbound marketing can do for your business.
  • Start your marketing by producing good content. Due to the volumes of content already out there, this is getting harder all the time, especially if you’re starting “pay-monthly” websites. Today’s content must be cheap, engaging and even entertaining.
  • Add a strong call to action that clearly tells your audiences what you want them to do after engaging with your brand.
  • Try to add value. Prospects and customers need to be rewarded for engaging with your brand and consuming your content. If you don’t add value, social media will never work.
  • Social is a two-way street. You shouldn’t be talking at someone. You need to keep the lines of communication open in both directions. That means that when someone contacts you, you should respond quickly and sincerely.
  • You should today start using social media to drive sales in order to get orders tomorrow and lift up your profits.

Red Flags for Social Media Marketing

  • Don’t be misled into thinking that by creating social pages, you’re done. In fact, this is just the beginning. Create a social presence that engages your target personas and promotes relationship building and sharing.
  • Don’t simply dive into social marketing until you’re ready. Look before you leap. You need to set objectives, goals and KPIs that will measure success.
  • Don’t brag and don’t sell. You need to understand that becoming a thought leader is diametrically opposed to endless self-promotion.
  • Don’t resist social media because proving ROI to your boss will be challenging. Keep in mind that you can show progress if you establish a baseline first.
  • Don’t think of social media sites for advertising opportunities alone. Your brand is more important. You can advertise more effectively when you are building on a successful social media presence.
  • Don’t assume every social media site will work for your business. There are simply too many of them. Do your homework first and review which social media sites your customers frequent.

Last thoughts

Social media success can be achieved by anyone. If you’re an introvert, get over it. You need to be more social. Reach out to people who may really need your help and find your perspective useful.

If you’re an extrovert, rein it in. Resist the urge to share what you had for breakfast. With every social post, ask yourself: “How does this add value to my brand?”

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