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Essential Elements of a Social Media Marketing

Identify Business Goals

Every piece of your social media strategy serves the goals you set. You simply can’t move forward without knowing what you’re working toward.

Look closely at your company’s overall needs and decide how you want to use social media to contribute to reaching them.

You’ll undoubtedly come up with several personalized goals, but there are a few that all companies should include in their strategy—increasing brand awareness, retaining customers and reducing marketing costs are relevant to everyone.

Set Marketing Objectives

Goals aren’t terribly useful if you don’t have specific parameters that define when each is achieved. For example, if one of your primary goals is generating leads and sales, how many leads and sales do you have to generate before you consider that goal a success?

Using our previous example, if your goal is to generate leads and sales, a specific marketing objective may be to increase leads by 50%. In order to measure your progress, choose which analytics and tracking tools you need to have in place.

Setting yourself up for failure is never a good idea. If you set an objective of increasing sales by 1,000%, it’s doubtful you’ll meet it. Choose objectives you can achieve, given the resources you have.

Research Competition

When it comes to social media marketing, researching your competition not only keeps you apprised of their activity, it gives you an idea of what’s working so you can integrate those successful tactics into your own efforts.

Start by compiling a list of at least 3-5 main competitors. Search which social networks they’re using and analyze their content strategy. Look at their number of fans or followers, posting frequency and time of day.

Also pay attention to the type of content they’re posting and its context (humorous, promotional, etc.) and how they’re responding to their fans.

The most important activity to look at is engagement. Even though page admins are the only ones who can calculate engagement rate on a particular update, you can get a good idea of what they’re seeing.

Choose Channels and Tactics

Many businesses create accounts on every popular social network without researching which platform will bring the most return. You can avoid wasting your time in the wrong place by using the information from your buyer personas to determine which platform is best for you.

If your prospects or customers tell you they spend 40% of their online time on Facebook and 20% on Twitter, you know which primary and secondary social networks you should focus on.

When your customers are using a specific network, that’s where you need to be—not everywhere else.

Create a Content Strategy

Content and social media have a symbiotic relationship: Without great content social media is meaningless and without social media nobody will know about your content. Use them together to reach and convert your prospects.

There are three main components to any successful social media content strategy: type of content, time of posting and frequency of posting.

Allocate Budget and Resources

To budget for social media marketing, look at the tactics you’ve chosen to achieve your business goals and objectives.

Make a comprehensive list of the tools you need (e.g., social media monitoring, email marketing and CRM), services you’ll outsource (e.g., graphic design or video production) and any advertising you’ll purchase. Next to each, include the annual projected cost so you can have a high-level view of what you’re investing in and how it affects your marketing budget.

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