Does Your Social Media Marketing Strategy Need Training Wheels?

7 Tips to Get Your Social Media Marketing Strategy on Track

Learning how to interact on social media platforms is a lot like learning to ride a bicycle. Social media marketing can require outside help that acts like training wheels, getting you up to speed so you can get along on your own. With time and practice, your ability to participate in social media marketing grows as does your confidence just like riding a bike!

Here are seven tips to get your social media marketing on track with training wheels.

  1. Put your bicycle together. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a store assemble it for you, your dad needs to put the training wheels on so that you learn how to ride. For social media, this means determining which social media platforms you want to use and what’s required on each of the platforms to build your business presence there. As a marketer, think about how to integrate social media marketing into your overall marketing plan, what type of content and marketing material are needed, and what human and financial resources are required to support the effort.
  2. Get your gear. Especially when you’re first starting to ride a bicycle, it’s important to have a helmet. The social media marketing equivalent is registering across social media platforms to protect your personal or corporate name. Additionally, determine how you’re going to present yourself or your firm in terms of branding and other information. Also, consider how others will view you on these sites.
  3. Watch for sidewalk cracks. Just like a small bump in the sidewalk can cause you to fall off your bicycle when you’re learning how to ride, the same thing can happen with social media marketing. Realize that the social media ecosphere isn’t a closed system. You can’t control what customers and the public say.  Not everyone has your perspective and people will disagree with you. Further, others may not speak English as a first language so that their communications may not be on point. Remember the Internet is forever!
  4. Maintain your balance. This is the main reason for using training wheels. Remember, social media marketing isn’t about you! It’s about your community and giving back. Don’t continually send sales and promotions. Keep messages about you and your firm to a ten (about others) to one (about you) ratio.  (A daily deal site is an exception.) In addition to a mix of third party content, use how-tos and engage with consumers. (Here’s a chart to help with social media content.)
  5. Let dad run beside you. This helps you gain confidence that you can ride your bike. For social media marketing, this means having outside help to get you up to speed using social media platforms. Among the areas where third party support is useful are developing a social media marketing plan, creating a related advertising campaign, building awareness, supplying support until you have staff, and assisting with design, editorial oversight and copyediting to improve content.
  6. Learn the rules of the road. Just as bicyclists need to yield right of way to cars and pedestrians, it’s important to understand social media’s social responsibility. To this end, it’s useful to have social media guidelines for your firm and to have a crisis management plan.
  7. Practice makes perfect. When you first start to peddle along, each rotation seems to take forever. Yet, the more you get out and work at it, the better you’re able to maintain your balance and speed.  With social media marketing, learn to monitor the landscape and when to respond. It’s important to use customer feedback so that you’re not acting in a vacuum.

While social media marketing requires time to test and come up to speed, it’s useful to get your team training wheels in the form of outside support. It enables you to get your balance sooner.

Are there any other tips that you’d add to this list? If so, what are they?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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