As social media matures, seven critical questions continue to keep marketers up at night according to Social Media Examiner’s 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report.
Ordered to help you develop a social media marketing plan, here are the top seven social media questions marketers want answered along with recommendations to help get your business on track.
- How do I find my TARGET audience with social media? (#2 on the list) B2B and B2C marketers have followed customers to social media platforms based on time spent and audience size. As a new media format, marketers have overlooked the need to target their audience as they would have on traditional media. Actionable Marketing Tip: Start by assessing customers’ needs and habits based on current buyers. If you wish, go further and ask customers about their social media routines. Then create fully developed marketing personas, complete with names, to help produce tailored content for social media. To measure content effectiveness, track results and make modifications where appropriate.
- How do I create a social media STRATEGY? (#6 on the list) To use social media strategically within your organization, your senior executives must embrace it and the related changes it requires. Where possible, bring senior executives from across your organization to determine where social media is most effective for your business. Actionable Marketing Tip: To create a social media plan, assess your business goals to determine where to focus your social media efforts. High on your list should be creating content to feed social media, like a blog and videos. Also, include customer service and sales since prospects look to get their questions answered before they buy.
- What social media TACTICS are the most effective? (#7 on the list) Since marketing tactics flow from social media strategies, determine your business goals and understand your target audience. Then create strategies to achieve these objectives. Actionable Marketing Tip: Since tactics are where the rubber meets the road with social media marketing, ensure there’s a way to connect prospects to your website or customer service to close sales.
- What are the best ways to ENGAGE my audience? (#3 on the list) Unlike other communications platforms, social media platforms enable marketers to interact with prospects, customers and the public. As a result, marketers expect all social media visitors to connect, when in fact 90% lurk, 9% do something small (like social sharing) and only 1% comment or create content. Actionable Marketing Tip: Create non-promotional content to answer your target audience’s questions and needs. Use extended FAQs, patterns, instructions, and videos. Include links to your product with a call-to-action to aid purchase.
- How do I SELL with social media? (#4 on the list) While outright promotional messages are frowned upon, provide useful content to lure readers in and get them to purchase on social media. Think of helpful buying related information that answers customer questions. Also recipes and patterns with links to the products needed. Actionable Marketing Tip: Use content marketing to provide value to consumers such as recipes with links, product name and logo. Also include customer comments since shoppers specifically check them. Post information on your website, blog or other internal media. Link your product as close as possible to your purchase process. Where appropriate, use a call-to-action and unique promotion code to track results. If you build a significant following for your social media content, you may be able to monetize it with advertising or related content marketing products.
- How do I MEASURE the effect of social media marketing on my business? (#1 on the list) Since many marketers started experimenting with social media outside their marketing plans with little or no funding, it’s often not integrated into the mainstream marketing efforts with appropriate tracking. Therefore, it’s difficult to monitor results. Actionable Marketing Tip: To yield measurable social media results, develop metrics for your social media efforts associated with your business objectives, create unique promotional codes, use contextually relevant call-to-action, and ensure that your analytics systems can capture this information. (Before you start, read this article about social media metrics.)
- How should I best use my TIME to maximize my social media results? (#5 on the list) Social media can be a time suck, especially for businesses. Even with the most business-focused employees managing your social media, the challenge is keeping up with the ever-expanding number of platforms, the never-ending need for content, and the ability to respond to prospects and customers via social media channels. Actionable Marketing Tip: Top of the list for managing time on social media is to invest in social media monitoring so your team can respond effectively to those inquiries where an answer is needed and ensure you’re on top of any potential issue related to your firm, brands, employees or competitors. Next, think strategically about your content marketing to ensure every content opportunity is maximized. To this end, assess how to develop multiple pieces of content around the same topic at a time and how you’ll promote it across platforms, internal and social media.
As social media matures and becomes an integral part of your overall marketing, you’ll continue to face challenges requiring you to rethink your business processes to streamline its use and increase its effectiveness. This is part of the dynamic nature of social media.
What other social media marketing questions keep you up at night and why?
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