There are times when your business feels like an island leaving you in a situation where you are trying to figure the way out, and stay connected to your customers as well as the community and the rest of the world. You obviously cannot achieve this alone so you need to find a way of connecting with your customers when you are not face to face. With social media marketing, you are able to reach hundreds, thousands and even millions of customers because social media has completely changed the way people connect with each other.
Remember that your happy customers have always been the recipe for your business success and when they like your brand, they tell many other people and those people will spread the reviews to even more potential customers. Social media marketing for local businesses simply involves using the powerful word of mouth marketing tool on a technology platform with the ability to reach a global audience on the click of a button.
To maximize this powerful form of marketing, you must understand how to use every leading social networking site and interconnect the activities of all. You need to view social media marketing as based on a community of individuals who share common interests with your brand being one of those interests. Therefore understanding how each social media marketing site operates and the category of your customers in each site, will guide you when increasing engagement with your fanbase for you to convert the sales leads.
Keeping that in mind, it is inevitable to have a social media marketing strategy well thought and written just like any business plan. The following points are important to consider when writing your social media marketing strategy:
• Identify your business goals of using social media
A social media strategy would first involve identification of your goals together with those of your customers in order to engage them with social media as the main connection between these goals. Once you identify these goals you will then know how to customize every social media account you create according to your target fanbase.
• Delegate the creation and maintenance of accounts
Social media marketing should be considered a field of expertise by local businesses hence the approach of delegating the maintenance and updates of content in your social media pages. Delegate these functions to a member of your staff who has been successful with social media marketing before if you are a small business, and select someone from the marketing department if you are a big established local business.
• Decide the leading social networks to have presence
Having identified your goals and those of your customer, it will now be easier to know which social media networks your customers are fond of. These sites should be the focus of your social media marketing strategy and if you decide to begin with more than one site, which is advisable, make sure your maintenance team creates that interconnection of the sites to bring the fanbase closer offering your local business an opportunity to sell its brands on a daily basis to a specific targeted audience. Social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ which lead in the social media marketing should be your first obvious consideration. Facebook and Twitter will help you to spread your word to a huge fanbase while Google+ assists you to get high ranking in Google search engine as well as the fanbase especially now that the site registers more than 400 million users.
Quantity and quality of content
With Google+ having the advantage of getting your SEO content ranked high in Google, it is very key for your social media marketing strategy to invest in quality search engine optimized content and use Google+ to post links of your website just like you will be doing with Facebook and Twitter among other social networks. You will realize that as long as your content is updated frequently and the social media sites are utilized daily, your fanbase will create within themselves a community of powerful customers who will either make or break your business depending on how you maintain your service delivery.
You will need to use network sites like Instagram for photo sharing and YouTube for video upload. It is very important to note that these two forms of content are the fastest growing forms of social media marketing and communication. Think of the TV ad you would create and pay huge sums of money to get airplay only that you have a free mode of transmitting such content. Your social media marketing strategy must include photo and video content and innovatively create content that is eye catching to maximize these social media marketing tools.
E-mail marketing still makes more sales than social media marketing and should also be incorporated in your social media marketing plan. Remember e-mails reach the individual user and sending them e-mails with links of your local business website filled with relevant content and active customer service will not only sell your brand but also maintain a happy customer who will always feel a part of your online community.
Social media customer service
As soon as you launch your local business to the social media platforms, your fanbase will need reliable customer service to clear their mind in the process of convincing them to promote your brand. Customer service is readily available in a variety of applications including the chat rooms in most of the social media networks. Your social media marketing strategy should incorporate these methods to serve customers who become even happier when they see you responding to a question on a public forum. This kind of communication goes a long way in impressing many users who would have similar queries.
Track your performance
Once you have your social media marketing strategy working and a fanbase growing by the day, it is important to keep track of these movements to identify the areas that need more emphasis and those that are doing better. Every social media marketing site has its own way of indicating the progress of your local business for example, your Twitter followers will indicate your progress just like the number of Facebook likes and YouTube views will help you gauge your progress and overall impact on the social media.
So just like any business plan, a social media marketing plan is a must have for any local business trying to make a presence in the social media community.