The first step for any marketing strategy, including social media marketing, is to define your goals. What do you expect to get out of your social media marketing strategy? Every business will differ, but here are some goals that companies commonly strive for.
Note: You can choose more than one goal for your social media marketing strategy. The key is to identify what goal you are trying to achieve with each social media campaign that you launch.
GOAL 1: Building Brand Awareness Amongst Your Customers
The first goal of social media marketing is to simply to let your ideal customers know your brand exists. On social media, there is a myriad of ways you can do this. Here are some ways based on top social networks. We will discuss more tactics and other social networks later on in Step 2.
On Twitter, you can communicate with anyone, regardless of whether they are following you. Therefore, you can find your ideal customers and start conversations with them by sending public messages to them using their @username. They can be business related or simply just fun. Either will get your brand noticed.
You can also use Twitter Ads to get your content, products, and services in front of your ideal customers.
On Facebook, you can communicate with your ideal customers by becoming a fan of their page and commenting on their posts using your Facebook page.
You wouldn’t want to advertise your products or services at this point, but simply contribute to valuable conversations. You could also use personal profiles of well-known members of your company to join groups where your ideal customers are engaging and start engaging with them there. Finally, you can also use Facebook Ads to get your content, products, and services in front of your ideal customers.
On LinkedIn, you can communicate with your ideal customers by using personal profiles by connecting with them directly, through Premium accounts and InMails, or by engaging with them in LinkedIn groups. You can also use LinkedIn Ads to get your content, products, and services in front of your ideal customers.
As you can see, building awareness about your brand in front of your ideal customer can be done easily via social media. And considering that your customers are businesses who are already on social media trying to build awareness for themselves in front of their ideal customers, you’ll have no trouble finding them and building awareness for yourself.
GOAL 2: Establishing Your Brand as a Thought Leader in Your Industry
Another goal that goes one step beyond building awareness for your brand is establishing your brand as a thought leader in your industry. Let’s say that your brand social media software. Your brand would want to be recognized as a thought leader in the social media industry. To do that, you would want to create valuable content in a variety of formats.
Depending on your particular industry and ideal customers, these formats may include blog posts, ebooks, white papers, videos, webinars, podcasts, tools, educational programs, and even certifications. The goal of all of that content would be to demonstrate your brand’s knowledge and expertise in your industry.
Of course, creating all of that content is one thing. Making sure that content reaches your ideal customer is another. That’s where social media comes into play. Social media networks play a huge role in making sure your you can reach your ideal customers with the valuable content that establishes you as a thought leader.
Most social media content distribution strategies involve a mixture of sharing the content organically with the brand’s network as well as creating targeted ads that ensures that the content reaches the brand’s ideal customers. Depending on the type of content, the content can also be used as a way to not only boost your status as a thought leader in your industry, but also help you generate leads.
For example, don’t just give away a free white paper. Make your ideal customer give you their email address in exchange for it by linking any social media marketing promotions for that white paper to a landing page designed specifically for that white paper.
If you’ve created great content, it’s a win-win for both you and your new lead.
GOAL 3: Generating Traffic to Your Website
No matter what your business does, you likely can’t do it without traffic to your website. Social media marketing is a great way to ultimately drive traffic to your website. For starters, almost every social network allows at least one place where you can add a link to your website, if not more. Personal profiles, business pages – they almost all offer at least one website link field. Some offer fields that aren’t obviously for website links, but can be used for them.
After the links in your profiles, you have the status updates with links back to your content or current promotions and social media ad campaigns with links back to your content or current promotions.
Then, if you’re really lucky, you’ll find relevant discussions where people ask questions that can be answered by a link back to your website. Of course, sometimes you may not get the link, but if you have an easily recognizable brand, just a mention is good enough. Or you might get lucky and get some great word of mouth marketing from your users!
It’s important to be on the lookout for these kinds of mentions and say thanks when possible so that people will want to continue to spread the word about your business.
GOAL 4: Generating Leads for Your Sales Team
At first, social media marketing was all about building audiences and encouraging engagement. But then, businesses starting talking ROI. They wanted to see numbers that they could use to make social media marketing activities equate to dollar value.
One of the ways to do this is to set lead generation as a goal. If you can generate a lead from social media for your sales team, your sales team can ultimately track that lead so that if the lead turns into a sale, you will know if your social media marketing is generating ROI.
As we mentioned previously, part of goal of establishing your brand as a thought leader in your industry can also be merged into lead generation by creating valuable content that people can get in by sharing their information with you. But certain social media networks have gone further to help brands achieve lead generation.
Facebook, for example, has a mobile lead generation form that brands can use to capture leads from mobile users of the Facebook app. The user starts by tapping on the ad.
Then they share their information with the brand without leaving the Facebook app.
Twitter has a similar ad option, but theirs is available for both desktop and mobile users.
One click on the call to action button will allow the Twitter user to submit the name and email address associated with the Twitter account they are currently logged into without having to leave Twitter. Both options from Facebook and Twitter should help you convert social ads into leads because you have less chances of losing them between the click from the ad to your landing page.
GOAL 5: Converting Social Media Traffic into Sales on Your Website
In typical funnels, most businesses will try to convert traffic from social media marketing into leads, and then convert those leads into sales. But that doesn’t always mean you can’t convert social media traffic directly into sales. It’s just a matter of the type of social media traffic you are trying to convert.
If your goal is to convert social media traffic into sales, you will definitely want to focus on social networks that allow retargeting ads – specifically, Facebook and Twitter. Retargeting ads will allow you to create ads to people who have already visited your products and services pages. In essence, these ads will remind people of your products and services, and hopefully re-engage them enough to turn them into buyers.
Was that Facebook ad the first thing that led the person to your website? No. But was it the thing that caused them to buy? If it was the last campaign they clicked on prior to their purchase, then effectively, yes.
Retargeting ads aren’t the only way to go either. Facebook also offers page owners in select categories the option of setting up shops on their pages so that they can sell physical products on their page. The only cost to the brand is the credit card processing fee.
If you don’t have a Shop tab you can also promote your products and services by pinning a post about them at the top of your wall on Facebook or profile on Twitter. Or feature them in your cover photo. Lots of possible ways to lead visitors from your social profile to be interested in making a purchase on your website.
GOAL 6: Managing Pre-Sales Questions and Post-Sales Customer Support
Sometimes, it’s not always about making the sale, but rather, making the experience. Social media marketing can help a brand create a great experience for their customers. B2B businesses in particular are going to want to be ready to answer questions pre and post sale for their customers as their customers are businesses who are already used to handling customer support on social media.
Not only that, but businesses are going to expect almost immediate response. That’s why using social media marketing to create a great customer experience throughout the customer journey and beyond is a goal every business should strive to achieve.
The big key is being aware that pre-sales and post-sales support may need to be happening on multiple social networks. Again, it will all depend on your industry, the industry of your customers, and the social platforms they are most comfortable using.
In some cases, it may make sense for your brand to create a separate account specifically for support inquiries. But regardless of whether you do, it’s imperative to be on the lookout for questions and comments anywhere, anytime. On Facebook, they could be in visitor posts to your wall or comments on your latest posts. On Twitter, they could be in tweets mentioning your username or just mentioning your product. On other networks, they could be in a comment thread or group about your brand or product. Which is why the next goal is so important.
GOAL 7: Listening for Brand Reputation Management
Almost every brand, whether you’re B2B or B2C, should use social media for listening and reputation management. It’s not that people are necessarily going to be saying bad things about you all of the time. As a matter of fact, a lot of brands capitalize on taking the good things that their social media audiences says about them and uses those things as social proof to sell their products and services.
On the flipside, you could also be on the receiving end of a social media flogging. When that happens, you may or may not be specifically mentioned or tagged in the post. But if it’s public, you will want to be listening so that you can make a positive response.
Just like a customer service representative would with an angry customer inside a store, your job will be to try to diffuse the situation. Acknowledge the problem, apologize, and offer to make things right. Even if you can’t help the person in question, you have just demonstrated excellent customer service skills, and that can go a long way with potential future customers who may also be monitoring the situation. Or you might turn a customer’s bad experience into a good one again.
If you can achieve even one of these goals with your social media marketing, then you are sure to feel the benefits that social media can provide for your business!