A hands on guide including an action sheet

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1 Developing a social media marketing strategy A hands on guide including an action sheet Brought to you by w w w.social marketing.eu

2 W elcome to this first guide and action sheet about social media marketing, brought to you by Social Marketing. In this first edition we will look at some of the main strategic social media marketing considerations and provide you a list of questions to ask yourself before implementing a social media strategy or improve your existing strategy. The increasing adoption of social media by people, your (potential) customers, is not new. Social media has been part of any internet user's life for the last five years, with services popping up and falling down at an astonishing pace. From forums to blogs: online conversations are happening since years and the success of channels such as Facebook and Twitter has created an online world that s loaded with buzz, communication, collaboration, etc. For marketers it is often overwhelming. The good news: it does not have to be. If you don t focus on the channels and the trends too much but look at your business goals and what your customers want, developing a social media marketing strategy is easier than you think. In the end, social media marketing is engagement marketing, and as a marketer you know what that is. Page 1 Join Social Marketing on

3 To be successful in social media marketing, you need to: Have an integrated, holistic and cross channel marketing strategy Be, work and think customer centric Understand that people decide where and how they get in touch with you See that the sales process is shifting from selling to buying Understand that social media marketing strengthens other forms of marketing Look at marketing as a dialogue Drop the broadcasting mentality Know that all social media are different and have a different way of interaction Define the right metrics and Key Performance Indicators to measure success Prepare your employees Understand the role that social media can play in all parts of the customer life cycle Speak the language your customers speak Think in terms of value, relationships and conversations Be committed Reach out to your customers Move from connections to relationships Page 2 Join Social Marketing on

4 Offering value Social media marketing and engagement marketing aim to engage people. They encourage them to participate in the evolution of a brand. Customer engagement and conversations are what marketing is all about. Rather than looking at consumers as passive receivers of messages, modern marketers understand that customers should be actively involved in the production and co creation of marketing programs. Engagement marketing attempts to connect more strongly consumers with brands by "engaging" them in a dialogue and two way, cooperative interaction. People online now have shorter attention spans, they're bombarded with information and they have a wide range of channels to inform themselves and communicate. Many aspects of the buying process have moved online. Thus so should you. Be there where your (future) customers are, track their digital footprints and be ready when they give you a sign that they are ready to buy or ready to stop doing business with you. They will not tell it directly, you will have to listen and measure. Track their online behavior and communicate, build relationships and offer the right value at the right moment, depending on the signals you get. In social media marketing, value often means relevant content, tailor made promotions, useful information and a real relationship. And of course it also means value for your business: the bottom line. By offering value, you will get value back. Satisfied customers and so called fans or followers are the strongest sales force you have. Page 3 Join Social Marketing on

5 P eople, trust and relationships (1) Businesses should think about their (future) customers as people. For many businesses it even requires a process of change management and of corporate culture. Not as addresses, contacts sitting in a customer relationship management tool, passive consumers of advertising messages, etc. They should strive to get closer to people and eventually become part of their personal networks as a reliable and trustworthy partner. It will result in more loyal customers and a positive impact on the bottomline. This does not happen overnight, and it does require some serious customercentric thinking and customer engagement. Becoming a trustworthy partner and focussing on conversations and customer satisfaction and engagement is important to optimize the relationships with your existing customers. But it is also key in acquiring new customers. Retention is the new acquisition (Joseph Jaffe) Page 4 Join Social Marketing on

6 P eople, trust and relationships (2) However, let s not dream: a brand or business will not easily become part of the personal network of someone. In fact, it s more the other way around: people are expanding their personal networks via social media. When they connect with you, you gain their trust. Remember to look at your employees, press contacts, suppliers and partners as people. Create the necessary social media presences to enable all these people to connect with you and enable yourself to connect with them! Don t look at the channels or the media themselves (yet); they are merely ways to engage your customers, connect, communicate and offer and receive value. Page 5 Join Social Marketing on

7 Content and channels = stories, voices, ears and eyes In order to communicate with people you need a voice, ears and eyes. You also need something to talk about: a story. In marketing we call them media and content. Content is key in social media marketing. Not the content as such but the perceived value of it. When content is perceived as valuable, it gets shared. It becomes a story. It is the start of word of mouth. Media are also key in social media. Again, not the media as such (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, etc.), but how they can become voices to talk to people and ears to listen to people. When you bring people in the centre of marketing, all you need are stories, voices, ears and eyes. and your business. In social media marketing your ears and eyes are also monitoring and tracking tools: to read and see the signals of your (potential) customer and to measure if the conversations and interactions you have are valuable, both for him Finally, remember this: don t only focus on the content and value you offer but emphasize and highlight the content and value people around you generate. Page 6 Join Social Marketing on

8 Don t look at it too much like this Look more at it like this Page 7 Join Social Marketing on

9 Letting go of your brand: social media hubs and conversation rooms There are less face to face interactions between sales people and prospects/customers. Customers don t need you: they can move through much of the buying cycle online, from gathering information and validating you as a vendor through recommendations. The conversations are moving from restaurants and meeting rooms to online conversation rooms. Your social media (blogs, Facebook pages, web site, etc.) are conversation rooms. The more you focus on broadcasting about you and your brand, the fewer people will enter. Some of these rooms can be small, some can be larger and be conversation spaces, where the whole online world can participate. Dare to let go of your brand more. Involve others, offer more value and content as a brand but offer less brand related content. You will also have to go to other conversation rooms: other blogs, other communities. Contribute, guest blog, provide advice but don t sell. Become a trusted partner, pre sell. You cannot have thousands of social media conversation rooms. Pick a few: one or two blogs, a Facebook page, etc. Make them your social media hubs and connect all your other social media presences with that hub. Page 8 Join Social Marketing on

10 Social media marketing: a strategic action sheet Social media marketing is like every other form of marketing: it requires strategy, planning, resources, measuring etc. Planning, business objectives and strategy are key in social media marketing. In this first guide, we offer you a checklist of some things to consider. In later guides we will develop them further. Make the decision and gather a team The first step in starting a social media strategy is deciding to do it. Immediately many questions arise: what do you want to achieve, how can you achieve it and how can you calculate and forecast the impact. Start by gathering a team with managers from several divisions: sales, marketing, customer service, legal, finance, IT, whatever you choose. Get support by senior management and involve them as well. Hire a consultant or expert that has proven his expertise and/ or involve your agency if it knows what social media marketing is all about. Page 9 Join Social Marketing on

11 Social media marketing: a strategic action sheet Define the goals and decide how you w ill measure them The first task of the team will be to define the business goals you want to serve with social media marketing. Improving customer loyalty and/or brand reputation, increasing sales, getting new prospects, getting more traffic, whatever suits your business. These goals should be clear. Have a yardstick for what you define as a failure and a success. Define metrics and Key Performance Indicators. Define how you will measure ROI, not by the number of connections but by value, customer satisfaction and the bottom line: $$$. Social media marketing should be measured, just like every other form of marketing. Defining the right Key Performance Indicators and choosing the proper tools to measure both efficiency and ROI are crucial. Create a strategy before you begin Before you jump in and start spending, you should know your strategy. Just because you see plenty of potential clients on Facebook doesn't mean you should start immediately. In this instance, rushing into your marketing campaign can damage your business. A clear strategy before you begin will define your success ratio. That s the second task of the team. In this process, you will define the ways to achieve your goals, make a planning, look at the resources you need and compose other teams or invite other people that have to make it happen. Page 10 Join Social Marketing on

12 Social media marketing: a strategic action sheet P lan and prepare You want to plan to engage customers, prospects, and communities online. Plan the different steps you will need to get your social media marketing going. Think about your social media hubs, monitor your brand reputation, create content, choose social media voices, outline how you will participate and how your employees will participate in social media marketing. Some customers will be happy, some angry, some will be curious; if your employees have a clear strategy and plan in front of them, they can handle most situations with ease. If you set up a rule for handling both happy and unhappy customers, you can focus on other important tasks. Define the resources Will you ask employees to help? How much time and money can you spend on this? Do you plan to outsource some of your social marketing tasks? Many companies think social media marketing is cheap. Grabbing a Twitter handle, setting up a blog or creating a presence on a social networking site can be completely free and social media marketing can be cheap, but if you want to do it well there are more investments to make than time and tools. You will have to invest in people, processes and resources to monitor the conversations, respond to them, create valuable content, participate, analyze the impact of your marketing efforts and integrate the social media in your overall marketing processes and strategies. Page 11 Join Social Marketing on

13 Social media marketing: a strategic action sheet Have an integrated approach Look at your customers and prospects as real people and have a holistic view. But also look at your social media marketing strategy from a holistic perspective. Social media marketing is not an island in the marketing and communications ocean. And social media marketing certainly is not a threat to others forms of marketing. On the contrary, it is a proven fact that social media strengthen and enhance other forms of marketing and vice versa. So include your marketing, search engine marketing and all other possible forms of marketing and think about all possible cross fertilizations that create value for your customers and your company. Don t forget brand aw areness Typically, brand awareness comes down to relevance, context, resonance, and accessibility. How will you help customers with your product or service? How will you get to customers via social networks? How will you build a presence on social networks? And how easy will it be for those online to find your brand? These are the basic questions on building awareness for you, your company, and your brand. Remember: everything you do has an impact on your brand and your company consists of real people. Be proud of them and show them. Have a face and voices. Page 12 Join Social Marketing on

14 Social media marketing: a strategic action sheet I nvolve your employees and support your entire company Depending on the type of company you have, different departments may be interested in utilizing what you've learned to define the brand in more ways online. It's your job to educate them so the brand can continue to grow beyond the one marketing campaign. Start by explaining the goals you would like to achieve and how. Another aspect of the social media marketing plan is drafting a social media policy that is open and flexible, serves as a guideline for your employees (don t make it too restrictive) but also encourages your employees to join the conversation. Provide training opportunities, teach people how to deal with criticism. Listen Monitoring social media is prominent in whether you succeed or not. You need to be in the know when it comes to your company brand: who's saying what, who's buying, who's impressed, who's not pleased. Reputation management is often one of the main purposes company use social media marketing for. But it goes beyond branding because you want to build relationships and conversations with people, not just connections. Remember: voices, eyes and ears Page 13 Join Social Marketing on

15 To conclude: test, learn, measure and improve Social media marketing is not one activity. In following guides we will tackle various types of social media marketing. Some of them work in the short term but most of them generated the best results in the long run. Social media marketing requires an ongoing effort and commitment to share stories, build relationships and create value. It also requires as a will to learn and improve as you go. But shouldn t that be the case w ith marketing in general? W ant to learn more? Visit and subscribe to the newsletter. Join other marketers and learn from your peers: Written thanks for the help

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