It’s no secret that social media is the driving force behind engagement marketing for many different types of brands today. With so many platforms to chose from targeting varying demographics, it makes sense that any business looking to establish their social reputation and expand their reach would do so with an eye towards utilizing social media to their own best advantage.
However before diving head-on into the fray, it is critically important for every brand owner to set realistic expectations for their company in terms of what social media can (and cannot) do for them. Though invaluable for reaching the masses, Facebook et al. are not a panacea when it comes to a poorly planned marketing strategy and as we all know, becoming an overnight hit rarely happens “overnight.”
Define Clear Objectives
The first step is to be realistic about what social media sites can and cannot accomplish. To simply establish a page on Facebook or to start tweeting indiscriminately is not going to generate brand awareness on any meaningful scale. In order to create a community of brand loyalists, extensive planning must first take place before any actual data is transmitted.
“What do I expect social media to actually accomplish?”
“What steps will it take for me to reach that goal?”
“How long do I expect for it to take to accomplish that goal?”
Additionally, you’ll need to establish short and long term goals and identify key metrics to measure success. What does success look like? Is it acquiring 10-20% new fans weekly? Is it a strategic tweet garnering a set amount of retweets? Is it increasing sales monthly? And by how much? How often will you measure growth – weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly?
Understanding Social Media’s Role
It’s likely many business owners look at the role of social media sites as a way for prospective customers to obtain the somewhat nebulous concept of “brand awareness.” However, in reality there are several roles a strong social media presence can fill.
When focusing on social media’s role for your brand, try to think of uses that go beyond simply hyping a product or service. Several top brands such as Virgin America and Target have developed dedicated online followings by passing pertinent information to followers and offering superior customer service. Sometimes it’s not the social platform that drives the initial sale, but it is the customer care post-sale that creates brand loyalty for future sales.
Have a Long-Term Strategy:
Expecting near-instantaneous mass saturation of your brand is at best a pipe dream. The most successful social media campaigns have nearly all been the result of long-term planning and lots of trial and error. If you think you’ve got it all figured out, think again! Be flexible with your approach, and never become so wed to one idea that you’re not willing to abandon it if a better one comes along.
It’s an old adage that “slow and steady wins the race”, but in the case of social media campaigns this advice still rings true. There is no shortage of factors to consider when it comes to having a well thought-out social media presence. However, with a logical approach combined with realistic goals, you can offer yourself your best chance to succeed.