Guest post by Nitin Aggarwal
Although it is easy to start and maintain presences on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, share a video on YouTube, and even get discovered on social bookmarking service Delicious, having a social marketing strategy to begin with will give you a clear path to follow as well have measurable objectives to work towards.
Below is a simple strategy you can follow:
Listen to what they’re talking about
Before you begin being part of a community or social network, find out what they are about by listening to what they are talking about. You will then see what they are interested in, not just as related to your industry but other related quirks. Who knows? They could even be already talking about you!
Contribute your own unique point of view
After you’ve heard what they are buzzing about, you should get a clue where you fit in. Are they complaining about a lack of red sneakers that you happen to sell? It can be as easy as that! Find a niche that you can address. This is not always a product and service but can be advice or mere presence.
Set clear objectives you can measure
What do you want to get out of participating in social media? More visitors? Better brand recognition? Help your customer service/relation? It should be quantified i.e. 15,000 new “fans” on my Facebook, 8 out of 10 online users to recognize my logo. Furthermore, be realistic. While the potential is there, gaining trust and developing a one-on-one relationship with potential customers does take time.
Research where existing, like-minded blogs and communities are
If you’ve already listened into the conversation as we suggested then you have probably found a blog or community that suits your unique goals. If you skipped this step, we would like to emphasize that your chances for a higher return on investment (ROI) is directly influenced by targeting the right listeners. In addition, even if social media is a cost-efficient marketing platform, you want to target your resources and not waste them.
Identify the participants who strike and carry on the conversation
There will be leaders in the conversation. Furthermore, they are the ones urging talk on. These are the voices others in the community are listening to as well. In addition, others listen to them because they have built trust with them. Learn who these trust agents are. What they think and say is vital to your strategy.
Have a concrete content strategy to follow when posting or updating
Your blog posts and status updates must be newsworthy. No doubt about it, with social media, your content could get viral (and that would be a big win). Don’t just make your audience want to read your content, make them want to respond to it, and make them want to share it with their own network.
See how you are measuring up
Finally, you want to measure the difference all your effort and resources you’ve put into executing your social media marketing strategy. You’ve already identified what you want to get out of social media. Now you will analyze if you’ve gotten what you wanted. Of course, you can’t settle for just the data you receive from Google Analytics, you need to actually respond to that data and other sources. More importantly, you must refine your social media strategy to whatever parts of your strategy has proven to work.
Nitin Aggarwal is the founder of Offshore Ally– A Company offering virtual assistant and call center services. He is a passionate blogger and Internet marketing enthusiast.