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Modern Marketing: Set Your Own Social Media Marketing Agenda

June 22, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

Evanne Schmarder

You can find your way around Facebook. ‘Twitter’ is part of your vocabulary. You began collecting e-mail addresses way back when. Blogging is on your radar and QR codes are on your mind. Congratulations…so what’s your social media marketing plan?

Much like a family road trip, without a roadmap – AKA a plan — you stand a very good chance of getting lost, becoming exasperated and struggling to arrive at your destination. A clear, concise social media marketing (SMM) plan should include competitive analysis, current benchmarks, objectives, strategies and tactics and a hearty review/revise system.

This should all work in conjunction with your overall marketing plan and certainly does not take the place of a business plan. Consider it a living document that needs to be revisited frequently. Just like your general marketing plan, your SMM plan should have a shelf life of no more than one year. Don’t keep it in the dark, either. Identify your stakeholders, share responsibilities and make sure everyone is in the loop when review time comes around.

If you are new to social media marketing, use this article to create a working plan. If you are currently engaged in social media marketing, use this article to audit your program.

Do Your Homework: Just like golden, olden school days, you’ll be well served to purchase a binder in which to store your SMM material, organized in a way that will allow you to quickly refer to it and add information as it becomes available.

As you begin to consider your SMM plan take a close look at your target market, the marketplace and the conversations happening in your industry. A little due diligence goes a long way. Who and where are the consumers you would like to reach? Are they engaging with others in the industry or on a pertinent topic? What seems to be working as far as networks go – do your prospects and even current customers congregate on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube? What are standard e-mail benchmarks for your industry? How are you currently communicating and has it been successful? Based upon your research, where will your digital presence be most effective?

Set Your Goals: Think about your objectives. Be practical. It’s fair to say that the end result of any marketing program – social media or otherwise – is to bring you bottom-line business. Remember, SMM is relationship-oriented – a soft sell. With that in mind, what goals do you have for your SMM program? Do you want to increase unique visitors to your website or a particular page? Develop strong brand awareness? Build your opt-in lists? Bump your search engine rankings up a notch or two? Each one of these objectives has a current measurement or benchmark.

At the same time, beware of equating the number of fans/followers/subscribers to a successful SMM program. It’s much more important to have quality than quantity. Quality fans/followers/subscribers want to hear your message, interact with your brand, and communicate with your business. While large numbers look impressive, it’s the interaction that makes a program successful. So yes, track these numbers, but do not use them as a sole measure of success.

Before you can know if your SMM program is working, you must know where you began. Do your homework. Make notes in your binder and print supporting data to refer to during the review/revise process. Armed with where you currently stand, set reasonable expectations 90 days, six months, nine months and a year out.

Budget Adequately: If I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it a hundred times: SMM is FREE! Right? Wrong! The platforms may be free to use but there’s definitely a cost associated with managing your social media networks – both in the initial set-up and the running administration of the networks. Whether you handle the program yourself, delegate the responsibility to a staff member or hire a freelancer to handle this for you, there will be the cost of time and expertise. You’ve already determined the platforms you’ll be launching into. What will it take to build and maintain a presence adequate for meeting your objectives? Brainstorm this with your team and add to your SMM binder – continuing to round out your plan.

Strategies and Tactics: Devise your approach by reviewing your research conclusions, objectives, budget and team. Once a complete picture has developed, begin your digital marketing by strongly branding each platform you are active on. This will include your logo, brand-identifying colors, tagline, URL, contact information, etc.

Once your presence is branded, SMM is primarily content-driven. What type of content will you be creating? While each platform is different, they all “feed” upon one another. For example, a video created with YouTube in mind can be used on Facebook, promoted on Twitter, embedded into your website and e-mail newsletter, appear on your blog, and act as a destination URL for a QR code.

How frequently will you post? Observe other successful social media marketers and use them as a guide. Find your own sweet spot. Create an editorial calendar to help you stay on track, organize your content and refer back to it when reviewing your progress.

Who will be responsible for engaging with your fans/followers/subscribers? Will you use contests, coupons, polls? What guidelines will you put into place in respect to responding to comments and questions?

What Does Success Look Like? Schedule a time away from the busy day-to-day activities of your business quarterly to review your SMM plan with your stakeholders – whether that’s you and your partner at a local coffee shop or a group of six in your conference room on a Tuesday morning, it’s critical to your SMM success. Prepare for this session by reviewing and recording in your binder where each objective stands, including supporting documents if applicable.

Conduct an honest evaluation of your SMM plan’s performance while honoring your timeline. Don’t expect immediate results, rather give your SMM program at least 30-90 days to take hold and begin to return results. Take the time to discuss results, understand what is working and what is not and revise any areas that are underperforming.

Work the Plan: In the end, a social media marketing plan is simply a tool. No matter how nice it looks on paper, if it never sees the light of day it’s a futile exercise. Make it your roadmap. Use it to propel you into the future; don’t be afraid to try new approaches and, conversely, modify or discard the methods that are not producing. Most importantly, keep it alive and growing… commit to working the plan.

Evanne Schmarder is the creator of the RV industry’s first Digital Marketing Workshop – www.DigitalMarketingWorkshop.com. She’s also the owner of Roadabode Productions, outdoor hospitality communication consultants specializing in social media consultation, seminar facilitation and educational presentations, SEO copywriting, business writing services, newsletter production, and public relations and the producer and host of the RV Cooking Show. Contact Evanne at evanne@roadabode.com or 702-460-9863 or visit her online at her B2B site- www.Roadabode.com or her B2C site – www.RVCookingShow.com.

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