Synergy: Aligning Social Media Marketing Plan with Overall Strategic Marketing Plan

Creating synergy between your social strategy and overall marketing plan is easy. In fact, they’re better together.

Stronger Together - Lifting the Words

Finding common values and carrying the brand forward in the same direction as a team can be done with three simple steps:

1- Review your overall business strategy.

Social media is not that different from traditional marketing.

It’s important to realize the overlap in traditional and social marketing because it is easy for rookie social media managers to try to create a whole new marketing plan if they are not working directly with the marketing manager. When working on social media and marketing strategies, remember to keep the same or similar objectives so that the two plans complement one another.

In fact, the line between the two should be almost a blur.

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2-Select departments for social influence and generate support among departments.

Keep the conversation going.

This does not refer to social media conversation. Instead, what I am referring to here it to keep the internal conversations on all the time. If marketing objectives and strategies change in traditional marketing or elsewhere in the business, it will have a profound effect on social media. Huddle up and listen!

3-Identify tangible business goals.

Keep the content consistent but appropriate.

Do not forget to take a tactful approach. Don’t get to salesy on social or too casual elsewhere. Know where you are working and what you are working with at all times. Consistency in branding can mean similar, but not mirror image. Use strategic communication and social media marketing for what they are- two very different, very useful tools that together can build something great.

Hit Your Target (Audience)

Target marketing and mass marketing are two very different ways to approach reaching an audience. Target marketing recognizes that people are very different and have different wants and needs. In recognizing this, target marketing aims to reach a specifically identified market that it has profiled as its ‘target market’.

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Target marketing can allow you to really hone in on those interested in your product or service, but it may not produce as many results as you have narrowed your market, albeit purposefully. Mass marketing is designed to have a broad appeal and does not aim to reach a specific audience. Since mass marketing is aimed at reaching more people, it can be more expensive and take more time, but has the potential to yield better results.

Let’s take food products as an example. Mass marketing examples would be normal frozen dinner products and normal ice cream products. Target marketing for those same areas would be Healthy Choice or Lean Cuisine aiming at a more health conscious market, and soy ice cream or frozen yogurt aiming at a more health conscious or allergy prone audience. The same would go for Coke, versus Coke Zero, or another Coca-Cola product like Dasani.

Of the four P’s (product, price, placement, and promotion), I find promotion to be most important. With the right marketing, people are willing to go out of their way to find products, overpay for a product, and purchase it regardless of necessity. A great example here is the Snuggie. The Snuggie, which is basically a robe-like product advertised as a blanket, is not a necessary good, it is overpriced for what consumers are actually getting, and the product placement is absolutely terrible. However, the Snuggie was promoted on television and media, and it became an overnight sensation. Another example, although less extreme, is Apple. Apple products are very expensive, they were originally sold exclusively in manufacturer’s retail stores, and the products are often comparable to other less popular brands; however, it is the promotion of the name and of its new products that keep people so keen on purchasing them.

By focusing on product placement and promotion in a target market you are sure to hit the bullseye every time.

Social: Service, Support, and Feedback

Social and traditional CRM offer various benefits and costs. Social CRM is a great vehicle for providing companies and consumers with more direct means of contact and connection. However, with technology also comes the ability of social sharing and the importance of service and support directed at customer feedback.

As this article from OurSocialTimes.com states, 53 percent of Twitter users recommend companies in their tweets, and many more share their customer experiences with millions online.

 Service and Support

With regard to the first difference, while also considering the second, it can be seen that this will impact a brand a lot. Brands that choose social CRM set high expectations for their consumers. Consumers who see a brand on social media are likely to expect the kind of immediacy that social interaction that many companies provide on these platforms. When customers are angry they often take to Twitter, complaining about cancelled flights, defective products, and the like- and expect immediate customer service just as though they were talking directly to a customer service representative on the phone (minus the wait time and terrible music). Being involved in social CRM means that a brand must be prepared to provide up-to-the-minute customer service that consumers can rely on, or it may be setting itself up for failure.

 Feedback

The fact that many people take to the Internet to share their customer experiences is not new. However, this is becoming an increasingly popular method of selecting brands and placing trust in companies. Although people have never met each other, they are willing to trust their reviews since they have personally endorsed them and gone out of their way to do so. This means that a brand most constantly monitor their web presence and mentions in all places online. It only takes one apple to ruin a bunch- or one bad Tweet to set a brand up for major criticism.

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Choosing to have a social media presence is a very wise decision, just keep in mind that it is a project that never ends. Once you set up your social media presence, you have to maintain it, evolve with the times, or risk having been better off without ever becoming involved. Like a well oiled machine, it will work well if you take care of it, but if you don’t, then it might become more trouble than it’s worth.

Audit Your Social

Social media audits are used to assess performance and measure the success of social media as it works for us. A social media audit evaluates areas of strength and areas of opportunity. Metrics measured in a social media audit include customer base/market share, website rank, reach, frequency, engagement, influence, and social media presence on your home page. Branding is also a great metric as it can allow you to better understand competitors in a competitive analysis.

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A competitive analysis is conducted by looking at the performance of competitors in your marketplace. This can be done my searching for competitors on social media, analyzing content strategy, compiling statistics on followers and fans, finding out the average post information, and looking at the content and context of posts.

Although looking into a brand and its audience is important, a prudent social media manager keeps an eye on the landscape through competitive analysis. Staying abreast of competition can always provide a slight edge- especially in such a fast-paced industry. Keeping an eye on the patterns and behaviors of competition might yield insight into both consumer and product landscapes.

Buyer personas are the focus of a social media manager’s energy and content. These personas direct a social media manager to choose the channels and content for  social media strategy.  This Social Media Today article provides the following definition of buyer personas as stated by Tony Zambito:

Buyer personas are research-based archetypal (modeled) representations of who buyers are, what they are trying to accomplish, what goals drive their behavior, how they think, how they buy, where they buy, when buyers decide to buy, and why they make buying decisions.”

I believe that understanding a brand and its audience is key in implementing a successful social media plan. It is in looking into buyer personas that we are able to visualize an audience.

As can be seen in Zambito’s definition, by doing research on buyer personas, a social media manager can try to get inside an audience member’s head. Understanding buyer personas can help social media managers think like buyers, uncover personal information and goals, their social media consumption habits, and demographic information.

Simply put: Buyer personas help social media professionals identify who a brand is targeting, helping that brand understand why its audience ic composed of those individuals (needs and motivations), and using the right when and how to then yield increased conversion.

 

Lead Generation: Grow your audience

Social media provides so many opportunities to generate leads that there is sure to be a great method of lead generation for every brand. My favorite lead generating technique is the use of contests. Contests are fun and engaging for consumers, and very valuable for brands. People who participate in contests are more likely to be genuinely interested in your product, making lead conversion easier down the road (LePage, 2015).

Social media advertisements such as Twitter and Facebook ads allow companies to fine tune their target to a particular locale or interest group. Sponsored posts are also a great way to generate leads. I prefer sponsored posts to ads because they blend in more seamlessly than ads.

Blogging is always a great option, says every social media manager, ever. Blogs are a great way to link people to places where information can be gathered. An example of this is downloadable content. By giving information about a particular topic and generating interest from that article, you can increase the likelihood that someone will want to download free related content. It is at the download page that you can reap the benefits by requiring consumers to provide their contact information.

Hosting hangouts and webinars is something that we do not see as often as the above-mentioned methods of lead generation, but definitely worth considering. One aspect of hangouts and webinars that the other techniques do not provide is immediate feedback and interactions with potential consumers.

After engaging potential consumers on social media, it is time to work on converting these leads. Converting leads can take place on two different levels. The first, soft lead generation involves people who are interested in content, but are not necessarily interested in products yet (Kelly, 2012). The best way to reach to convert these leads is to try to get email addresses and send a variety of information their way, working to get the person’s interest and offer them incentives to become a product consumer. Once someone has purchased the product, the next step is customer retention, aimed at making him or her a loyal customer. The second lead is a hard lead. Hard leads refer to people who have indicated that they are interested in your product and are actively involved in considering it (Kelly, 2012). At this point, social media efforts should be developed toward instilling trust in the brand and product by establishing a relationship with that consumer.

My favorite social media success story from the past year was the “Always #LikeAGirl” (Links to an external site.) campaign. The videos of girls talking about how they were told they did something “like a girl” were powerful, evoked emotions, established a relationship with women everywhere, and went viral. The videos were popular television advertisements, as well as on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. The call-to-action and hashtag were genius, giving women everywhere a way to share their own “#LikeAGirl” story in a world where it is increasingly acceptable to do things like a girl and show girl power. I love that the Always brand name fit well with the hashtag as part of the headline, and that the brand used its audience to sell its products, not the products themselves. This social media campaign really illustrates the power of people and the human element in product promotion.

 

Kelly, N. 5 Tips for Moving Social Media Leads Into the Sales Funnel http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/5-tips-for-moving-social-media-leads-into-the-sales-funnel/ (accessed 2015).

LePage, E. 6 Need-to-Know Ideas on How to Generate Leads on Social Media: (accessed 2015).

 

SEO: The Art and Science

Search engine optimization is an art and a science at the same time. There are specific measures that can be taken as part of a search engine success formula, but those measures require content and keyword artistry. A brand’s collective use of social media platforms and websites create an image that can easily, or not so easily, be found by consumers.

But why is it important to make sure that a brand has effective search engine optimization? Great question. It is important because search engines return results for questions that potential consumers are really asking. That means that there are Internet users out there who could be looking for a product or service, but their first few options as search hits will be those that are optimized for search engines. By not being up-to-speed on search engine optimization, a brand could lose out on connecting with a number of potential consumers. According to the 1stOnTheList infographic below, 75 percent on consumers never scroll past the first page of search results.

 

Social media managers can use search engine optimization effectively in social media through measures like keyword searches, shortening URLs in posts, creating rich content, and establishing the brand as an authority in its field through online content (relevant content, broad audience reach, engagement with valuable consumers). Conducting a search is a great way to see what search terms are best for finding the consumers who ask the questions you are interested in answering.

Conforming to industry best practices means also using Google authorship for blog posts, linking to other social media profiles, and making sure that brand names and descriptions are uniform across platform profiles. Additionally, creating test posts to see what times are optimal for the most engagement will help yield better lead generation and conversion. Using social media publishing tools to sort past posts and to visualize data will help illustrate prominent trends that will help to plan for better content and engagement, leading to increased SEO.

Social Listening for Influencers

There are so many different styles and practices for listening on social media. I realize that everyone has their preference, but there are a few things that I think are common among all great listening practices. The first of these things is that a brand identifies influencers. According to the Social Media Examiner, 1% of a site’s audience generates 20% of all of its traffic. By using analytics, a social media manager can identify, better listen to, and leverage these influencers. Social media managers should also listen for interests of its audience, by understanding what trends and keywords emerge on a regular basis, a brand can better deliver content tailored to its audience.

Responding to comments on social media can be tricky. Posting responses for the world to read means that what is said has the potential to be misinterpreted very easily. Keeping this in mind, joking responses should always be made in good taste. If you aren’t sure if your parents or significant other would find it tasteful and appropriate, you should probably refrain from making the joke.

Addressing concerns and showing empathy is a great way to identify with consumers and show that the brand has good customer service. When things have the potential to get out of hand online, it can be a good idea to suggest taking the discussion offline by providing a customer service email address or phone number.

Lastly, not responding to comments is just as bad as responding in poor taste. When someone posts a bad review or concern, apologizing and offering to mend the situation is always a great approach.

Brands find great value in having key influencers follow them online. You can identify key influencers through social media analytics. By digging through user-generated content and analytics such as demographics and product-purchase history, you are sure to find a treasure trove of leads with an underlying key influencer. Finding these key influencers means working backward to locate the common core where chunks of traffic and content come from.10 A1.jpg