By: Kayvon Bahmanyar @KayvonZD
So you’ve decided to join the 21st Century and begin social media marketing. That’s great! But if you don’t have a social media plan, you’re gonna fail. I know that might sound harsh, but there are guidelines to using social media. What tactics, tools and strategies will help grow your business on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin?
What social networks are right for your business? Not all platforms work well for all business types. You need to determine your target audience (see below) and find out which social network(s) they use. Where are they most likely to be engaging in social media? You need to search to see where your brand is being talked about. You can do this with a search engine like Google or use the search engine on the social network. Use the chart below as a guide to determine which social networks are right for you and your business.
2. Target Audience
The first step is to find your target audience – who you’re aiming to? Your customers need to be determined. Find demographic and geographic information to pinpoint who will follow you on your new social media accounts. What are their likes and dislikes? Where do they live? Finding the information below will get you one step closer to a successful social media plan.
After determining who they are you need to relate to their personality and needs. Your material needs to be engaging if you want an audience. If it’s a younger crowd use some slang in your blogs.
3. Answer Questions & Solve Problems
This is where you take full advantage of what you got. Your content needs to be relative to your target audience. Teens don’t want to hear about new advances in informational technology and adults 30 and over probably don’t want to read about Justin Bieber’s new album. Keep it fresh. The majority of your blogs should be about current events. Always remember to keep it engaging. Don’t make it a snore-fest!
Use the right sources!
You’ll need to research different sources to find the most valuable topic. Find out if the source is credible.
Don’t just summarize, but ANALYZE!!!!
The reader needs to know why he/she is reading your blog or tweet. Relate it to their lives to bring it to a personal level.
4. Who Will Do What?
So are you doing this solo or do you have a team? You need to figure out what your business can do for your target audience. Social media is a learning process. In the beginning you may have all the time in the world however; I guarantee you’ll learn ways to improve your social media skills.
5. Design and Create Your Plan
Ok. You’ve researched and have come up with some blog and tweet ideas. Now it’s time to create your plan. Here are a few strategies to do so:
Mind Mapping is a diagram created by words, ideas and concepts that are then linked to a central idea. Mind maps are used to help visualize your ideas and see where your ideas will lead you. Some popular mind mapping programs are: FreeMind; MindMeister; XMind and Mindjet.
The best way to plan your social media content is with an editorial calendar. It easily organizes your tasks and ideas for each social media account (see image below). It provides you with daily activities for each social media account.
6. Schedule and Manage Your Content
As you build your social media presence you’ll need to manage all of your accounts. Fortunately, applications like TweetDeck, HootSuite, and SocialOomph are available to help make it easier. These applications allow you to simultaneously post to different accounts like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, Foursquare and Buzz.
Look at the table below to see different features with each application:
Some tips to keep in mind after you have developed and implemented your plan:
- You don’t have to post every day to create a strong social media presence. Find the right frequency that works for you and your target audience.
- Share your content to promote your articles, videos and photos.
- “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine”. Give attention to others in the social media world and you’ll receive recognition as well.
- Build quality relationships to get help from others. Remember, a relationship requires participation of both parties.