Many people often equate social media with a campaign. In reality, it is actually just a channel. It is a medium that you can use to connect with your audience and prospective consumers and not an end unto itself. As such, Social Media today should have an active role in the marketing plan of any organization. Having said that, keep in mind that every marketing strategy needs a set of goals. This applies to online, offline as well as social media marketing. An ideal social media strategy should have set goals that can be achieved with the five steps listed below. Though many experts will say that you need a more detailed and comprehensive list, I seriously feel this article covers them all and will ensure profitability and build trust between the brand and its consumers in time.
Warm Prospect Identification: The fact that social media today is mainstream and not restricted to any particular niche is known to all. Today, even a five year old kid knows what Facebook, Twitter & Google+ are and many of them also have their own accounts on at least one, if not all of these platforms.
Also, India is the 3rdlargest country after the United States and Brazil on social media today in terms of the number of users who have an account online. Now the figure may be massive but that certainly does not mean that all of them are a part of your prospective target audience. Set a clear goal as to what kind of people do you wish to attract to your Twitter profile or Facebook Fan page. Not having a clear definition of the target audience in mind will only make your profiles or fan pages messy and clunky. Though this will not sound the death knell for your online profiles, it will certainly make things a lot tougher for you. Here are some ideas that you can make use of to identify the ideal prospects with respect to your service or product offering.
- Define the demographics and the psychographics of your prospects and approach only the decision makers who will have the final word when it comes to buying your product.
- After identification of the TG, try and find out which are the usual online places where they hang out, whether it is only Facebook or a combination of different sites and start making your presence felt on those sites.
- Lastly, use your online presence and properties to attract people from your target category and post messages that will get them to engage and interact with you on the social media platform.
Converse with your Prospects: After establishing an online presence on the different social media platforms, make sure that you engage them in a conversation. This conversation can revolve around your product, service or even your brand itself. Now there are many ways of doing this and the most popular way is to run a contest. However, this may or may not ensure success as there are many who will be here just for the freebies on offer. As such, we would suggest you initially go for discount offers or vouchers as they will help you reach out to a wider audience. You should make use of the popular social media metric tool and advertising tools as they will help in measuring the success of your social media campaign. This is important as it helps you determine the tangibility and gives you an idea about the returns you are getting for the efforts put in by you. This in turn will help you determine how much content your audience can stomach and thus help in fine tuning the campaign.
Create a Rapport: Creating a rapport with consumers will ensure that they come back for a repeat purchase and also recommend your brand to their friends and others. This is not at all tough once you get the hang of it. Simple stuff like thanking someone for their feedback of the product purchased or making the purchase, or re-tweeting their suggestions and sharing them with other consumers or wishing them on their birthday are all activities that can build a rapport with consumers over time.
Developing a Social Media Relation: Talking to people certainly does not mean hat you have a relationship with them. This is perhaps the most common mistake being made by online marketers today. They feel that once they have conversed, the transaction is as good as completed. Whereas, the truth remains that consumers expect calls for feedback, appreciation and the like. You need to understand the fact that while consumers are having a conversation with you, he is also doing the same with other brands. And he or she will only care for you if you take care of him. Here’s what an ideal social media network should be:
Creation of trust is what will enhance the value of the the relationship that your brand and consumer share and not only get you more sales but also more consumers in the long run. For instance, Dell does not need to create a brand value today, it only has to maintain it.
Determine the Lifetime Value of the Ideas, the Campaign and also the Relationship: Lastly, you need to understand that everything has an expiry date. This not only applies to your campaigns on social media or other media but also to the consumers themselves. Do not over stretch any of these. On the contrary, it may be a good idea to end the campaign well before it reaches its expiry date as that will make the consumers await the same and help increasing the interactivity as well as the overall value of the campaign.
Though we have accepted the fact that social media is here to stay, our acceptance of the various platforms and how we utilize them is still evolving. There is a long way to go before we can define the goals and fix a tangible value to the campaign activities in a precise manner. However, smart marketing personnel and managers will make use of all possible traditional as well as non-traditional tools to set goals and measure their success.