Social Media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest just to name a few, have fast become a growing online social phenomenon. More and more people are getting connected via the internet, sharing pics of friends and family, organizing their events, and updating each other with the smallest details of there lives. A post to one of these Social media sites may range in mundane statements such as stating “I’m stuck in traffic! Someone help me!” to something more sentimental like “Welcome our new baby boy!” (along with a cute pic of course). And with the advent of smartphones and tablets, social media has indeed become more accessible then ever before filling a lot of extra time, and maybe even more time then some of us would like to admit thus humorous maxims like “checking into Facebook Rehabilitation Center now” have popped onto the surface of today’s social media nomenclature. According to Statisticbrain.com a whopping 98% of 18-24 yr olds are using some form of Social Media. With the complete obvious engulfment of Social Media into our daily lives, one must realize that times have changed and thus so does the way we market must adjust to these growing mediums. With that said I would seriously contend that every serious competing business should implement a strong Social Media Marketing Plan that includes 1.Connecting 2.Engaging 3.Promoting.
Let me start off with Connecting. Step one of your Social Media Marketing Plan is get Connected! Decide what Social outlets best suit your business. There is quite a few so brace yourself if your a social media novice. But some of the major ones include, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google +, LinkedIn, YouTube, Vimeo, MySpace and so on.
Begin first by building your “friend base” or customer base, fan base or whatever “base” the Social Media site your dealing with calls it, for each social media site calls the people in your network something different but for the sake of the teaching I will call your connection of people your “friend base”. Building your fan base often begins with your own network, friends, family, coworkers, anyone and everyone that you can connect with. If your new to the Social Media Site then spend a little time learning and having fun with it. Interact with people, comment on posts, tweet, tag, upload pics, etc. Learn your way around the medium. Now many of your may be already doing this so lets move on to more ways of getting connected.
Links to your Social Media Sites should be a standard on ALL your marketing material, such as your website or emails which should have direct links to your social media pages. Then also include them on other marketing material like flyers, business cards, door hangers, etc. with urls of your social media pages so that people can find you and connect with you. You can even add value by stating something like “Get connected for updates and coupons!”. Also within your profile information of your Social Network sites make sure to add links to all the other social network sites you are on.
In your Social Media Marketing Plan these are some of the standard ways in getting connected. More aggressive ways in getting connected may include marketing your Social network page with online banner ads, facebook ads that include direct links to your Social Site url that people can instantly connect to. Again remember to add value to your audience letting them know what you have to offer. Offering a promotion for becoming a fan is a great incentive to help further the influence.
Be engaging! There are tons of ways to be engaging on Social Media Sites. The more familiar you are with the medium the more natural your interaction will be. Some simple ways of engaging is posting thought provoking questions related to your field that may generate some feedback. Share helpful facts that people might find interesting. Post images of helpful infographics or pictures of happy customers using your product or service. Always take advantage of tagging whenever possible. Tagging allows you to extend your reach to the friends of the friend your tagging which in turn may see the value in your service and become a fan. So always make sure to interact. For the most part the more interesting you find others the more interesting they will find you. You can also have fun friendly games or contests that may generate a buzz and create a viral effect that draws people to your contest and ultimately to your Social Networking Page bringing them into your network. Studies have also shown that Social Media users are most often on in the mornings and image posts receive more feedback than just textual posts. So make sure to engage with the right content at the right times!
Promoting. Now promoting can be a little more tricky part of your Social Networking Marketing Plan. And when I say promoting I mean promoting your business in and on Social Networking Sites once people join your “friend base”. The reason that promoting can be more tricky is people don’t go on Social Network Sites like Facebook and twitter to be bombarded with annoying ads and canned commercialism. They go to these sites to be a part of a community that is mutually beneficial. So if all your interaction on your Social Network Sites is all purely self promotion inundating your audience with self-centered ads people will indeed, unsubscribe to you and most likely will not come back. Having proper social network promotional edicate is absolutely necessary for any successful social media marketing plan. Posting business related ads are not totally unpermissible but should be limited and should always be beneficial to your customer such as offering a coupon or introducing a new product with helpful information. Just remember you are in there personal space so promotions should be friendly and interlaced with engagement.
Write your plan out. Consistency is vital so if you don’t have anything written down then you don’t have a plan, so having a plan will not only help you get the flame started but help you keep the flame burning. So get out a pen and paper or open up a word doc and developing a strong Social Media Marketing Plan that is fun and engaging for your audience. Choose the social media networks you will utilize with Facebook and Twitter for sure. There are also social media tools like hootsuite.com that help you schedule posting and link your accounts so that all you have to do is post once and it will post to all your networks accordingly. And remember people are most getting caught up in there social media communities in the mornings so make sure to catch your audience at the right times. Also pictures are worth a thousand words so use images that speak your message for you. Your Social Media Plan is one that with a little effort and time is not only very affordable but extremely effective, so have fun with it and get connected!
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