by Danielle Caird – Social Media Strategist / 2011
Are you twittering randomly in the hope that it will bring you a customer one day? And are you blogging because they say that this is the best way of putting your business on the map? In other words, have you really thought about how you are using social media to market your business?
Without a social media marketing plan it is difficult to use social media effectively as a marketing tool, and you can’t keep track of the results. Without a plan you are wasting time on the wrong actions. You might be using the wrong media, or you might be doing things that have no effect on your target audience.
A social media marketing plan is not complicated to make. If you answer all of the questions below, you will have a workable plan to start with.
1. What do you want to achieve by using social media?
Do you want to tempt more visitors to your blog or website, establish yourself as an expert, gather testimonials and recommendations, sell information products like e-books or video tutorials, approach potential customers, or build up a network with other businesses?
2. Who is your target audience?
Draw up a profile of your ideal customer, by gathering demographic information, like occupation, education, age, and location. Next look at psychographic traits, for example, values, attitudes, and the so-called AIOs (activity, interest, and opinion). Look for patterns that match with your marketing message.
3. Where does you target audience gather?
Which social media network is your target audience using? Is it Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or another site?
4. What does your target audience need?
What kind of problems is your audience experiencing? What kind of questions would your target market like to see resolved?
5. What are you going to offer to your target audience?
You can write informative articles, make videos or podcasts, share links to other blogs, or answer questions directly on Twitter or LinkedIn discussion groups. Just keep in mind that what you do needs to speak to the problems and answer the questions that your target audience has.
6. How often will you use social media?
You could, for example, send out e-zine once a week, twitter three times every working day, and take part in a LinkedIn discussion group twice a week.
7. What action do you want your target audience to take?
You might want people to subscribe to your newsletter, or to ask about your workshop and tutorials. Or maybe you want them to register for your workshop, or react to your blogs or tweets.
Now that your plan is in place, you can start measuring the results of your social media efforts. It will take some time to find out what works best for you when it comes to frequency and even time of activity. Take into account that social networks have peak times. Peak times can be helpful to reach a larger segment of your target audience, but there might also be more distractions, so your message could be overlooked more easily. That is why it is important to measure your results on different social media websites carefully.
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