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With social media being seen as the best medium for brands to reach their audience, there are different strategies being implemented to leverage the medium.

Some people say Facebook has high ROI, the others argue Twitter is better. LinkedIn apparently is for B2B companies and if this wasn’t enough entered Pinterest to toughen decision making for marketing heads.

In this article, we present a simple but a powerful approach to a killer social media strategy. This approach can be employed to any sector and help in finding the right medium and tactic for using social media as a marketing medium.

 

STEP 1 – List down the business goals

 

This step is the most crucial step for the right social media strategy. A social media strategy sees a higher ROI only if it meets the right business objectives. Most companies fall short of creating a good strategy because they fail to map the business objectives that they plan to achieve with the social media strategy. While listing down the business goals, these are the questions that one must keep in mind.

 

a)    Why do I need to use social media?

Is it because I need to create awareness about my brand or product? Or is it because I want more traffic on my ecommerce website. Or is it because I want to give information about a specific topic. Or is it because everyone else is doing it, that’s why :P

 

(If your answer is because of the last reason, there is a good certainty that you will not be able leverage the power of social media in your bigger business goal)

 

b)    What are my short-term and long-term business goals?

These goals need to be listed down in order to be realistic of the expectations of the efforts on the social media. For a startup software company, the short-term goal can be to create awareness and thought leadership. On the other hand, an FMCG company might use it to advertise their new Bakery product(as their short-term goal) and use it for receiving feedback (long term goal).

 

c)     What is my social media-marketing budget?

This is an important step for a marketing head. Not just to assign resources to the social media efforts but to be realistic in estimating the ROI from the social media efforts.

 

 

STEP 2 – Create personas of your target customer

Probably the most important advantage of digital marketing as compared to the traditional marketing is the ability to target the desired customer. A beauty product ad in the newspaper is seen by everyone – the girl who might buy it, the guys who will NEVER buy it, the critical old uncle who will OPPOSE it, the old aunty who will ALWAYS find it expensive.

On the other hand, digital mediums allow brands to reach the RIGHT customer. They can target the girls of 18-40 years of age, in a specific income group, in a specific city, even those girls with specific interest in beauty products.

Thus it is really important that personas of the customers are jotted down. These personas are based on the identity and not of an individual being.

So, a Marketing Head of ABC firm who is 31, Female can have different customer personas.

Persona 1- 18-40, Female, income group>20 lpa, interested in shoes, beauty products, spas etc.(maybe used to target Facebook ads)

Persona 2-  Marketing Heads (maybe used to target LinkedIn ads)

The target customer should be segregated in these customer personas.

 

STEP 3 – Find social media platforms where your target customer personas are present

Step 3 is a very crucial step, which most companies get wrong. Finding the right social network/social media tool. In the previous example, if persona 2 is your target customer, then probably LinkedIn is the right social media tool for you. On the other hand, if the target customer is Persona 1, then Facebook would be a better option.

This is because while Linkedin allows ad targeting on basis of  designations, Facebook ads can be targeted on other factors.

Itis important to find the right social media tool that will enable you to:

 

  1. Find the target customer persona
  2. Target that target customer persona
  3. A place where the target customer persona spends good amount of time

 

STEP 4 – Prioritize the social media tools

Step 3 does give us good information of what social media tools are useful and what are not worth of time and effort. But there is often an overlap. Many customer personas are present in more than one social network. This is where the tools should be prioritized.

Also, the social media-marketing budget should be analyzed to see what+howmany  resources would be allocated to the social network. The tools which are most important will be addressed to the first and the subsequent ones probably later.

 

STEP 5 – Build the audience

Now that the social media tools are selected, what next?

The idea here is to create an army of people who would recommend your brand.  This does not necessarily mean, they would go door-to-door and tell about your services or products but this means sharing/liking your updates so that people in their network know about their liking towards your brand.

So what does this do? AMPLIFY WORD OF MOUTH

As they say – “Social Media is word-of-mouth on steroids”

What is the most credible form of marketing? Well, it is word-of-mouth.

So the step 5 is about building this army first. But individuals with your target customer persona will not really become your fan on Facebook or follower on LinkedIn/Twitter. They should see some value.

Why will you want to follow a Face cream product facebook page? When the page gives you beauty tips to protect/improve your skin beyond the product.

So it is important to come up with the strategy, which will hit the passion points of the target customer persona. This would help in building the RIGHT audience who would become your army.

 

STEP 6 – Engage with the audience

 

Now that you have built an audience, it is important to engage with your audience for the following reasons:

 

  1. They can turn into your potential customers
  2. They will recommend your brand/product
  3. The algorithms show you only those updates, which are relevant to you. For eg. Edgerank algorithm of facebook will automatically change your newsfeed to show you the content from friends/pages with which you interact the most.

 

So in order to keep the audience engaged,one must post content which hits the passion points of the target customer persona. So an update about the cricket/football match for a target customer persona(15-40, Male) would get more engagement. On the other hand, a funny picture with a husband wife joke will be really popular with married couples(35-50). Also, Facebook has recently introduced Posts targeting which allows showing posts to specific customer personas. This would be ideal when your target customer personas are more than one.

 

STEP 7 – Create fans/followers who recommend your brand

 

Once the brand/product has gained the credibility by providing valued information, these fans/followers begin to advocate your brand/product by sharing your content in their own networks. These new people can become your fans and in-turn customers or complete the whole cycle once again.

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