Social Media Strategies – Step One to a New Program

effective social media marketing strategies - 2015

Determine Realistic Social Media Strategies and Goals

Determining REALISTIC goals is the first step that you should take when creating a new social media presence, or even creating a new strategy for your existing presence. It’s easy to look at some of the top dogs on social media and think, “Oh wow, it’s that easy?  I’ll triple my leads in no time!”  This is not generally the case.  Especially when starting out with a brand new social media strategy, you should think less about hard sales conversions, and more about breaking the ice, connecting with people, and being…well, SOCIAL.

The following list includes good examples of goals for a new social media strategy.

Develop a Business Personality

...and remember not to be selfish!  People want to work with real people, not faceless companies.  The bottom line of social media for business, of course, is self-promotion; but few people out there are interested in that.  Our lives, TVs, radios, computers, and now most social media platforms are flooded with advertising.  The key to strong social media is not to advertise yourself directly in hopes of quick, hard conversions.  The key is to be SOCIAL!  Build brand awareness, trust, familiarity, and interest.

Develop Creative Content

Create content that will make people want to follow you, and research trends that will benefit you.  Think about it.  If a stranger posted what you are thinking about posting, would you be inclined to interact?  If your answer is no, you may need to reevaluate the type of posts you are making.

Work to Gain Followers

Remember, with a new program…It all starts at home!  The people closest to you (friends, family, etc.) will be your biggest fans –especially in the beginning.  Ask them to help you gain some momentum.  They can do this easily by liking or following your pages, engaging and commenting on posts you make, sharing your content with their own networks of friends and associates, reviewing/rating your business(if they have used your products/services), and by inviting their friends to like and follow you. Never forget that interaction begets more interaction!

Develop Consistent Posting Habits

Remain active - on 2-3 major platforms this quarter (or this year).  Solid social media strategies encompass using Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter as all good places to start.  Other options include more audience or industry-specific platforms such as LinkedIn (which has a more professional audience) and Houzz (which is construction/contractor industry-specific).  If you do not stay active and consistent, you will see far less favorable results.

Drive interaction!  - Post frequently and consistently. Respond promptly and courteously to all interaction. Find creative ways to make people WANT to talk to you.  If people begin to see that you do not respond to messages, comments, or questions, they often will not try again.  Other people will also take notice of this, and many of them won’t even bother to try.

Manage your expectations - Your initial goal should not necessarily be to get somebody with no current need for your product or service to become your next client.  The goal, in the beginning, should be more along the lines of planting a seed. Put your business in the backs of the minds of a large audience of people.  Do this effectively, and even if they don’t need your services now, they will likely think of you (instead of your competitor) when they eventually do need what you offer.

Cultivate relationships – I’ll level with you.  Even if you’re not interested or if you think the people commenting on your posts will never turn into sales, cultivate those relationships!  There are far too many businesses that don’t bother responding or acknowledging their followers, or that give half-hearted responses that make the commentor feel insignificant.  Be almost nurturing in your response.  This will drive further interaction, and as I mentioned before, interaction begets interaction.  When more people see that there are real, living, breathing HUMANS behind your business, they will be more inclined to interact in the future.  Always remember…the more interaction you have, the more people will see what you post.

Track your performance using insights and analytics provided by those platforms, and by researching and utilizing third-party social media analytic tools.  Social media strategies are tough to gauge without this critical step. If you are performing unfavorably, I cannot stress my next point enough…Be flexible!  Always be willing to tweak your methods, timing, and content.  This being said, never forget how important being realistic in your goals and expectations is.  If you are not paying for actual ads, your new social media strategy will take time to develop.  It’s essential to be patient and avoid giving up prematurely.  Remember that social media is not traditional advertising, and your return-on-investment (ROI) cannot be measured using the same metrics that are used to measure paid advertising success.