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10 Questions to Ask When Creating a Social-Media Marketing Plan

Ever heard the saying “Failing to plan is planning to fail?” That old but wise adage often rings true when it comes to social-media marketing. Creating a detailed, goal-oriented social-media strategy is just as important as having a rock solid business plan.

Kim Lachance Shandrow

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“If your social-media plan is to just wing it, your fans and potential customers are going to know,” says Amy Porterfield, social media strategist and co-author of Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies (Wiley, 2013). Worse, it could turn them off of your brand and on to your competitors.

To attract and engage social-media fans and followers – and ideally convert them into customers – you’ll need to carefully map out a clear, effective social-media strategy. Here are some questions you should ask when building your company’s social-marketing plan:

1. What should my company aim to achieve with social media?

That depends on the type of business you’re in. You may want to use social media to gain exposure for your brand, to directly interact with your customers or to promote specific products and services.

“The first and most important step in creating your plan is to clearly identify your goals,” says Lee Odden, chief executive of TopRank Online Marketing, a digital marketing agency, and author of Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing (Wiley, 2012). “Next, understand your customers’ goals, and then figure out how your social-media strategy will connect both.”

Odden suggests that you first define how your social-media outreach marketing will provide value to your customers. Specifically, think about how you can use social media to solve your customers’ problems.

2. Who should set up and maintain my company’s social media accounts?

If you’re a small company with few employees, consider delegating the task to a staff member who has a good track record of implementing effective social-media campaigns. If you have a larger company, a qualified employee in the marketing department might be a good fit for the task.

Businesses with larger budgets but not enough experience with social-media marketing could benefit from hiring a social-media marketing consultant or firm, says Odden.

3. Should my company have a presence on all of the popular social-media networks?

As a starting point, Odden advises that small businesses begin with a blog and a presence on just one social network, at least for the first few months. Which network? Find out what by surveying your customers about which platforms they use the most.

The more your company grows – as well as your digital marketing budget – the more social networks you can experiment with.

4. What are the best social networks for small businesses?

Whether your company is large or small, you can’t go wrong with a Twitter account, Odden says. It’s a platform that is easy to learn and use, and you can’t beat the 140-character limit.

Odden also says Google+ is essential to be on, if only to boost your site’s search engine optimisation (SEO). If your company is mainly a B2B firm, you’ll want to be on LinkedIn and Slideshare to reach influencers within your industry. For B2C companies, being on Facebook and Pinterest can be smart.

5. How often should I post new content on my social networks?

Porterfield advises posting on all of your social networks two to five times a day. Your followers visit social-media sites at different times of the day.

“One post a day simply isn’t enough because most of your fans won’t see it simply due to timing,” she says.

To reach more of your followers more often, stagger your posts consistently throughout the day.

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Social Media Could Destroy Your Business. Here are 5 Reasons Why

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6. What types of content should I post on which social platforms?

Certain types of content generally work better on certain social-media platforms, according to Odden.

For example, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram are inherently visual, so striking, memorable images of your products, company events and perhaps behind-the-scenes snapshots of employees at work can be effective choices for those particular platforms.

But text-only status updates on Facebook without an accompanying link also trend well, especially when asking questions.

On Twitter, aim for a good balance of tweeting about your company and retweeting others’ content, including that of your business partners and industry influencers, according to Odden.

LinkedIn is popular for sharing company news, productivity tips and thought leadership articles.

Odden recommends curating a diverse mix of content types (standout photos, short videos, useful links, helpful tips, thoughtful question, etc.) across your social-media platforms to keep things interesting and fresh. When you do, your followers will come back for more.

7. Should I use social media to provide customer service?

Social media is fast becoming the most common way for current and potential customers to interact with businesses.

You can use Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other platforms to instantly (and publicly, mind you) field and respond to customer questions, order status inquiries, and, yes, even complaints.

8. How can I convert social-media followers into customers?

Porterfield says there aren’t any surefire tricks to earn fans’ and followers’ rands, though some tactics seem to work better than others. For instance, Facebook ads can be an easy, inexpensive way to grow your fan base, increase engagement and collect sales leads. It’s up to you to convert those sales leads.

Porterfield also suggests implementing a cross-platform contest that integrates several social channels, like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Pinterest.

Sweepstakes that offer rewards that resonate with your target market can be effective in attracting potential customers. To drive consumers to your online store, for example, you might send a tweet that describes a contest on your Facebook Page with a link to the rules and entry form found within your online store.

9. How can I measure the success of my social-media marketing efforts?

It’s important to continually track your social-media marketing metrics in order to gauge which tactics and types of posts work and which don’t.

Some social platforms offer their own metrics. Facebook, for instance, gives Page administrators access to Page Insights data for free.

These tell you how many people are interacting with your posts. You can use the data to better plan future posts and decide on the most effective ways to connect with your fans and followers. LinkedIn provides similar analytics for company pages.

Use Google Analytics to see how effective your social-media campaigns are at driving traffic to your main website or online store. If you see Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or other social platforms you’re active on listed as top referrers to your site, your social-media efforts are not for naught.

10. What is the biggest mistake to avoid?

Ironically, the answer here is not having a social-media plan. So, have one and stick to it. “Social media is constantly changing, so you need to be ready to change and adapt all the time as well,” Porterfield says.

Constantly evaluate and refine your social strategy. Doing this on a monthly basis can help you identify which tactics are working and which ones to ditch.

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5 Need-to-Know Social Media Rules

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Which social media platforms do you use and why? Tell us in the comments section below…

Kim Lachance Shandrow is a Los Angeles-based tech journalist who specializes in writing about iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android phones, as well as social media marketing, startups, streaming TV, apps and green technology. Her work has appeared on NBC’s The Today Show, MSNBC.com, NBC.com, and in The Los Angeles Times and The International Business Times. She also consults for Ameba, a Canadian multiplatform children’s streaming TV startup.

Online Marketing

6 Steps To A Digital Strategy That Guarantees Results

Create your Brand Hero (Who exactly are you talking to?)

Chanelle Segerius-Bruce

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Digital Strategy

Your Brand Hero is often a mixture of some of your favourite past clients and could even be a version of you 3 to 5 years ago. Go deep and think about what they love to do, how they spend their time, what they passionately stand for and believe in, where they shop, what sort of holidays they like to take and what values are important to them.

Don’t worry about appealing to everyone, the more niche you can be the better. For example: “I help women with their health” vs. “I help new moms regain their energy through tailored exercise and nutrition”. In the second example, it’s crystal clear exactly who the programme is for.

Do market research. Send out a survey (without actually calling it a survey!) and ask them questions specifically around what their struggles or frustrations are. Ask them to select five ways that you propose to help them and see what they want. You can offer them a prize or a free value-packed download in return for completing the form. Keep it less than two minutes as people are time-poor these days.

Go one step further and select 5 to 10 people from the survey who filled it out in depth and jump on a call with them. Record it via Zoom and have it transcribed using Rev.com – now, you can use the actual words your potential used to describe their struggles into your upcoming marketing posts, email newsletters or sales copy.

1. Tell Stories

To cut through the 1000’s of marketing messages, your Brand Hero sees all day long online, you’ll need to use stories to connect in a genuine and authentic way. As the online market becomes more sophisticated people don’t respond to boring sales copy anymore. Injecting a story is crucial to creating a community around your brand.

People need to feel like they belong and that they know you intimately, especially if you have a personal brand but this can work for any company. Think about Richard Branson as head of Virgin. He blogs and shares his life via social media. He seems like an all-around nice guy who we love to follow and you’re probably interested when he launches a new product or service.

Humans learn through stories and find them easier to remember than a bunch of facts being thrown at them. Think about making your content shareable. Is what you’re creating and putting out into the online world worth a share? Would you share it? Would you be moved to buy from your own message?

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it” – Simon Sinek

Share your why. What’s the big why behind your brand and business? What’s driving you to do this? What’s important to you? What impact do you want to create in the world? Share that.

Related: How I Run An International Business From A Remote Beach Town In The Eastern Cape

2. Show behind the scenes, be real and human

A simple tactic to use for your digital strategy is to show behind the scenes of what it is you do. This can work across the board for many kinds of businesses and show the human side of your brand. Who’s doing the work? How’s your product being created? Where are your materials sourced from? Take people with you on a journey and let them see how it’s created.

If you’re a serviced-based business you can do the same. Instagram Stories, Facebook Live and Instagram lives would be perfect for this sort of thing. Once a week, create an hour by hour account of your day and give your audience a glimpse into your workday.

Be fascinating. Don’t spend all your time consuming content. Turn the tables and get into the mode of creating. Treat your business like a mini media company and always be thinking about what you can share.

Create before you consume!

3. Live video streaming

Live video streaming

Live video is by far the number one way to stand out from the crowd. Video will make up 82% of all internet traffic in 2021, according to forecasts released by Cisco. Get uncomfortable by doing the things not everyone’s willing to do. One of those is showing up and giving value on a platform like Facebook Live. Livestreams are great as you can interact with your audience, show your expertise and take Q&A directly from your potential customers.

From a practical point of view make sure you’re in flattering light (preferably natural light from a large window) or invest in some decent lights on a stand. Use a tripod. Get a Rode VideMic Me, a directional microphone for Apple iPhone and iPad so that your sound quality is good. Have your juicy topic ready and write out some bullet points on a whiteboard so you don’t lose track halfway through. Now 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 press that blue live button!

4. Grow your List with an opt-in freebie and give results ahead of time

It’s not enough to rely on social media platforms alone. With ever-changing algorithms and the fickle nature of human behaviour, putting your eggs in one basket could come back to bite you. You don’t own Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Linkedin. Take Snapchat for example. When Instagram introduced Instagram Stories, and basically swiped the idea and format, Snapchat lost users in droves! Ensure that you build your email list as that’s a rather valuable asset for your business and if you decide to sell in future you’ll get a higher price if your database is substantial.

Create a valuable PDF, Video series or Mini-Course that people would be eager to hand their names and email addresses over to receive. Create a simple opt-in page or a pop-up on your website with the enticing freebie offer. Once people agree to hear from you, you can then follow up with a welcome sequence and email out your newsletter regularly from your chosen CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) such as Active Campaign, Drip or MailChimp.

Remember to share stories, behind the scenes and valuable content with your readers and don’t simply bombard them with sales offers.

5. Be consistent

Pick two social platforms to focus on in the beginning. Don’t feel as though you need to be on every single one. The most important thing to remember is consistency. Get really good at posting regular content on a consistent basis. Engage with your audience. Respond to direct messages and comments. Build a loyal audience before expanding out to other platforms.

You can use blog posts, like I do, as pieces of pillar content that can then be spread around social media and posted to many platforms. My readers know that every Monday I release a value-packed blog post that will help them move the needle forward in their business. This goes on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Medium and gets emailed out to my list via MailChimp.

Related: Creating Power Digital Campaigns

6. Use launches to sell new offerings

Everything mentioned above falls under regular, organic content. When you have a new product, service or program to put out into the world you’ll need to map out a launch plan. This will involve going live more often, posting more often, creating branded graphics for social media and putting some budget behind paid traffic. You can do this by boosting your Facebook lives for example or sending paid traffic to your opt-in freebie that you’ve created so that you build your following faster and have eager buys to launch to.

To keep up to date with Chanelle’s tips visit http://segeriusbrucecoaching.com/blog/

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Online Marketing

The Seven Rules Of Social Media

Here are 8 tips from the proverbial digital playbook.

So Interactive

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Social media has become indispensable when it comes to marketing and PR. Smart, carefully thought out, and well implemented social media strategies have shown to increase exposure and engagement, improve search engine rankings, increase turnover, encourage brand loyalty, and improve lead generation. Converting social media followers into true fans is the key and will set you well on your way to creating long term customer advocates and “ideal” customers.

Here are 8 tips from the proverbial digital playbook. They lay out exactly what brands can do and the ground rules that they should follow to prevent social media faux pas:

1. Don’t Over Promote Your Brand

Your profile or page on any social media platform should clearly communicate your brand message and offering to your target audience. Your social media posts need to be more than overt marketing tactics. Offer your audience relevant, interesting, and engaging content. Overly sales orientated content is a sure way to lose followers. Conversational and on trend content is the way forward.

2. Think Before You Post

Always take the time to properly consider your content before posting it. Think it through and ask yourself if it is relevant to your target customer, if it uses the correct tone, and does it put your brand message across accurately. Consider the purpose of each social media platform and the content that is generally consumed on each of them.

Plan, evaluate your messaging, and use relevant hashtags.

Related: Social Media Marketing For Start-ups: Essential Tips

3. Always Fact Check & Cross Reference

Fact checking isn’t just for journalists and TV news. Always fact check your content, especially when trying to tie in news and current affairs into your messaging. A careless mistake in your content can be extremely damaging to your brand. Making time to fact check can save you at the end of the day.

4. Damage Control

It is important to react quickly and professionally, be careful not to respond with knee jerk reactions. Never delete a post, comment, or response. It is important to own your failures and mistakes. Address issues out in the open and hold yourself accountable if need be. How you respond will make all the difference at the end of the day. You need to be prepared to take immediate action, to act fast, and at any time.

Take the time to properly assess the situation and make a calculated decision that is in the best interest of your business and brand. Transparency is key and showing that you managed a situation flawlessly will only reflect positively on your business.

5. Post Regularly

Manage and maintain your social presence effectively while promoting your offering by posting regularly. This ensures that your brand is kept top of mind while increasing brand exposure. It is important to keep in mind that over posting is not in your best interest and will only hold your brand back from gaining traction in the online space.

Your online audience and social platforms including social media could very possibly view your content as spam and flag it as such, including on Facebook. One to three posts a day are best practice and a formula used by most brands the world over.

6. Invest In The Time To Do Solid Research

Researching your customer personas, target market, your niche in the market, and so forth, should be researched very early on in the making of your business. However, going forward research makes for amazing content that is tailored to your target audience. A few hours of solid research can go a very long way in the process of creating quality social media content. Posting social content for the sake of the act itself is simply not an effective strategy. Posting carefully curated content for your target audience will yield higher engagement and conversions.

Related: 4 Key Social Media Mistakes You Might Be Making – And How To Avoid Them

7. Never Ignore Enquiries & Comments

Social media allows for two-way communication and conversations between businesses and their potential customers. Social media goes beyond simply putting the content on your timelines and onto the news feeds of your audience, it includes engagement between brand and customer in the online space. It is important to acknowledge your followers and your fans, every single time. This encourages brand loyalty and gives the impression that you value your followers. Answering messages and responding to comments shows that your brand is present and listening to the needs of the customer. Personal engagement and a speedy response speaks volumes.

Your first step is to consider getting a respected social media specialist onboard. Johannesburg based So Interactive is a highly respected digital marketing agency with an excellent reputation in South Africa and across borders. So Interactive is a boutique studio offering clients quality digital solutions. Get in touch to get your next digital campaign off the ground. Talk to So Interactive, and together you can create a winning social media marketing campaign.

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Online Marketing

The Six Second Sweet Spot

Six-second video has been all the buzz since Google showcased the best of its six-second hackathon at Sundance in January 2017.

So Interactive

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In June last year, Fox announced it was on board with six-second bumper video ads. Google recently performed a study which established that nine out of ten bumper video ads drive ad recall while 61% increased brand awareness. Six seconds is proving to be the perfect time frame within which to tell your brand story.

The six-second video amplifies the beauty of storytelling in that it creates a much faster, more accessible and memorable way to communicate messages. The time constraint can be quite daunting and, at first, some would consider it a creative hinderance. However, a short sentence, a single word, a stand alone image, or a six second visual is often more than enough to catch and keep the attention of your audience as it pushes creatives to think differently and with more focus.

YouTube recently challenged creative agencies worldwide to retell fairytale classics by using only six-second video. The challenge was met overwhelming enthusiasm and creativity. From Bollywood classics to local folktales, every entry proved, for the first time, that short, powerful stories have much broader impact and memorability than their longer counterparts.

Related: The Launch Of Instagram TV

Six-second video is a snackable content trend that is paving the way forward for online content. Respectable industry leaders and key players in the field are predicting that six-second video ads will continue gaining traction at the end of 2018 and through into the coming year. Short form video has literally become the six-second sweet spot and will continue reshaping the way digital marketers address their audiences.

So Interactive, based in Johannesburg, are known for their work in video. If you are looking to create a six second brand message or a short series of six second videos that form a single brand story, then So Interactive is a fantastic fit and brilliant option. Go with the professionals, get a brilliant creative team on board, and get your six second video out to the world. Get in touch with So Interactive to discuss your next six second video marketing campaign.

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