Do you have a social media marketing plan? Chances are very good that you don’t. In fact, one survey suggests that 60 percent of companies are using social media without a plan. Many small businesses set up social media accounts because it’s expected but they aren’t sure how to proceed from there. They inconsistently tweet, post a Facebook status here and there, share something on a LinkedIn group, then think that social media doesn’t work. They’re right!
Social media is failing to meet some small business owners’ expectations for several reasons:
- expectations often include unrealistic sales figures,
- goals within each network are not clearly defined, and
- social media isn’t being properly integrated into an overall marketing strategy.
In essence, social media won’t work without a plan in place.
If 60 percent of companies don’t have a social media plan, then the other 40 percent do. A recent report from Red Rocket Media predicts a 41% projected increase on social media spend in 2012. Also, according to the study, small business owners planning to direct more resources to the channel will do so in hopes of boosting follower or fan engagement.
So what are the top social marketing investment areas for 2012? Another survey, sponsored by Awareness, Inc., found that companies are investing in presence, frequency, and processes. More specifically:
- 70% are increasing their presence across social marketing platforms;
- 59% are increasing the frequency of content publishing;
- 50% are focusing on more robust social marketing management; and
- 45% are focusing on monitoring.
By now you have your 2012 strategic marketing plan in place, so take a look at it to determine your corresponding social media strategy. Social media should not be used in place of traditional marketing; it should be used as an additional tool to support your efforts.
Consider why each social platform was originally established and develop your strategy around leveraging the strengths within each technology. Read this article from the Harvard Business Review, outlining how your marketing can keep pace with the major social media platforms. Define your audience and outline the best way to reach them. Set your goals and determine how you are going to measure success. Plan your frequency and content, keeping it consistent and informative.
Social media marketing, when done with a well-developed plan, should help you grow your business, strengthen your brand awareness, and improve customer loyalty.
Do you have a social media marketing plan? What works best for you and your company?