Call Us Today: (03) 9021 0841

The Whiteboard

Articles, Tips, How-To's and Advice for business owners, entrepreneurs and marketing people from the staff at Out Of The Box Marketing.

← Back to the Whiteboard

5 Useful Steps For SMEs To Develop A Social Media Strategy

Social media can be an effective marketing tool for your business, increasing brand awareness, customer interaction and letting you measure the effectiveness of these conversations. However, when there is no strategy behind it, social media marketing can quickly turn into a time sucking black hole that generates little positive results. With that in mind we have put together a 5 step plan for developing your company’s social media marketing strategy.

Social media can be an effective marketing tool for your business, increasing brand awareness, customer interaction and letting you measure the effectiveness of these conversations. However, when there is no strategy behind it, social media marketing can quickly turn into a time sucking black hole that generates little positive results. With that in mind we have put together a 5 step plan for developing your company’s social media marketing strategy.

1. Listen And Learn

First of all it is critical to listen to what is being said about your brand. You may not use social media at the moment, but you are probably using other media channels such as websites, direct mails or newsletters etc. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Who are my intended targets and am I currently reaching them through these existing channels?
  • What is the overall message my brand is communicating through these channels?

And more importantly:

  • Where do these channels fall short?
  • Are we passive participants or active engagers?

Furthermore you have to understand what is being said about your brand, or if your company is not being mentioned, what is been said about other brands in the industry.

The purpose of this is to understand the conversations of all social media platforms within your industry. Try to envision your interaction with social media as a cocktail party. It would not be effective to visit a cocktail party and hand over business cards to people you have never talked to. People prefer to do business with people they like; therefore social media allows you to interact directly with your potential customers.

2. Define Your Demographics

Once you are aware of the shortages of your offline sales pitch and what is being said about your brand or industry, you can start defining your target demographic. Social media is comprised of many different platforms. Rather than trying to participate in all of them, start with one or two that includes the most people from your demographic. Developing specific demographics will facilitate you in deciding how (what tone) and where (which platform) to engage with your customers.

 3. Define Your Business Objectives And Resources

Now you need to determine how much time you will invest and what goals you want to achieve with social media marketing. Many people, upon first glance, associate social media marketing as free marketing – a common misconception. Even if money is not exhausted directly, time and energy is invested in social media marketing which have a significant opportunity cost. You need to set up SMART goals in order to allocate your internal resources.

Examples of metrics are:

  • Number of Facebook fans and followers
  • Number of fan posts, likes and comments
  • Mentions and retweets
  • Ratio of fan activity to your activity
  • Ratio of fan activity to fan number
  • Information gained
  • Conversations generated

4. Creating Your  Social Media Strategy

Now that you have information on who your target demographics is, what they are talking about and what goals you want to achieve, you can start developing your  social media strategy. Keep in mind that every single social media platform has its own ecosystem. What might be acceptable on Tumblr might be considered spam on Facebook. A specific style of writing might spread on Twitter but fail on Linkedin. Therefore it is critical to customise your message and style of writing for every platform.

Furthermore building a community is a very effective social media marketing strategy. Using brand communities to drive sales, propagate marketing, or crowdsource operations is the true power of social media. Examples of ways to engage the community could be to create a contest or offer an exclusive discount. Contests have the ability to build buzz organically and can be further enhanced by the criteria you set. For example, the entry with the highest number of likes will be taken into account when choosing the winner.

 5. Measure Success

Like every other marketing campaign you should measure the success of its execution from start to finish. Things to take into account might include:

  • Volume of conversation  compared to competitors –   using Facebook Insights
  • Engagement
  • Conversions – using Google and Web Analytics with the ‘big three’ measurements being:
    • Unique visitors
    • Visits / session
    • Page views

But measuring social media success also includes non-numerical metrics:

  • Did we learn something about our customers that we didn’t know before?
  • Did our customers learn something about us?
  • Were we able to engage our customers in new conversations?
  • Do our employees have an effective new tool for external feedback and reputation management?

Hopefully you can see now that social media has great potential to add useful elements to your marketing, but still requires a structured strategy to be effective. Whilst there is still a world of knowledge to explore, the core foundations in this article should have you on the right track to a winning strategy.


Leave a Reply