Social networking has changed the way people interact and communicate. Whether it's on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest, more and more people are using social media platforms to share ideas and information. For business owners, the social media revolution provides a unique opportunity. Never before has it been so easy to reach out to customers, and to interact with them on a regular basis. With a well run social media campaign businesses can create brand identification and build customer loyalty, all at the touch of a keyboard. But before they can begin a successful social media campaign, there are a few questions that business owners need to ask themselves.
What Are My Specific Goals?
Like any form of advertising, a social media campaign can not succeed without a set of clearly defined goals. Whether it is to drive traffic to your website, or bring more traffic to your brick and mortar locations, having a clear goal in mind will help to define your social media strategy. It is also important to set achievable milestones which will help you to gauge the success of your online campaign.
What is My Marketing Strategy?
It is not enough to simply have a social media presence, businesses must also have a clearly defined marketing strategy. This should take into account the precise demographic you are trying to reach, and the social media platforms where they are likely to be found. If you are targeting the 16 to 24 year old market, Facebook is the place to be. If you are targeting 25 to 36 year old market, Twitter may be more effective. That being said, a good social media marketing strategy should include a number of different social media platforms.
What is a Social Media Audit, and Do I Need One?
The short answer is Yes. A social media audit takes time (Ed.: unless you do this quick one!), but it will answer some important questions that will help to structure your campaign. There are a number of free software tools you can use to carry out a social media audit, including Twitter Search, Social Mention and Monitor. With these tools you can find the right keywords to target and search terms to follow. Your audit will also help you discover where your targeted audience gathers, and when they are online. This will allow you to maximize the potential value of your social media posts.
How do I Measure Success?
One of the most important parts of a social media campaign is measuring its successes and failures. Online tools like Google Analytics and Event Tracking can help business owners measure the ROI of a given campaign, and gauge its overall success. Using the information gathered from these tools you can see how your social media campaign is working, and make decisions about what tweaks or changes need to be made to increase its efficiency. This is an ongoing process, and vital to the success of any social media campaign.
Social media has opened up a new marketing avenue for businesses of all sizes, but especially for smaller businesses with limited advertising budgets. Social media campaigns are inexpensive and effective, and can help even the smallest business owner establish a brand, and develop a loyal customer base. All it takes is a little determination, a bit of hard work, and the will to succeed.
Stacy Harvey is a Social Media Marketer at Minneapolis Web Design, an interactive agency in Minnesota. Learn more at: MinneapolisWebDesign.com. Stacy considers herself a 'lifelong learner' and loves to teach others about what she knows as much as she loves to learn.