Did you allocate budget to social media marketing in 2011? Wonder if you need it in 2012? While keeping up with social media demands a lot, there are 5 golden keys to open the doors to your successful social business in 2012.
#1 Dedicate Time and Money
Put a budget in place and people (a staff) who will dedicate their time to social media for your business. While using social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter or Google+ may be free, it takes a budget to run campaigns and hours of work to create a viable platform with a growing community of fans.
Your commitment to your business should be translated into allocating sufficient resources to social media marketing. How much? In 2011 people were asking the same question. Mack Collier -a social media strategist- wrote a great post about this that is still useful in 2012 “How much does social media cost companies in 2011?”
#2 Define SMART Goals
A successful social media marketing strategy should be aligned with your business goals. Do you have a clear strategic goal and viable targets? Can you explain what you want to achieve exactly with your social campaign?
Let’s consider goals like increase brand awareness or improve customer service. Make these goals SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely). An example: we will increase our brand awareness among women in the age of 35 – 55, who use Facebook with x%. Or – for customer service – we will improve our response time: each question on our Facebook page should be answered within 1 hour. If your customers don’t expect you to answer questions within the hour, you should focus on other SMART goals. To improve your social media ROI (return on investment) – consider partnering with a firm or consultant to plan your overarching social media strategy.
#3 Develop the right Skills
Stay on top of how to use social media platforms and know the best tactics to get maximum bang and exposure for your buck. If you do not have the skills in-house, hire expertise from outside firms to support your strategy. Find a reliable firm that is committed to your business to support and train your in-house staff.
If you are hiring someone for your social community management, look for people who want to work for empathy (Brian Solis | author of Engage!). Make sure they are entrepreneurial, enthusiastic, creative and well versed in your culture.
#4 Keep Engagement In-house
Keep engagement in the conversation in-house. You know your business better than anyone else. Social platforms like Facebook or Twitter offer you the best opportunity to learn first hand from your audience how they perceive you(r) service.
Mari Smith has shown us in her latest book -the new relationship marketing- how to build a personal relationship with your audience. If you start with social platforms, make sure you give your organization a face and a name that people can connect with. Focus on the long term: engagement requires sustained listening, responding, invitations to interact and interest in the community in an ever-evolving and ongoing cycle.
#5 Make it Part of your Total Business
We all know by know that social media marketing should be an integral part of your total business. The people who manage your social platforms, should communicate and work together with operations, sales, marketing, customer service and purchasing. The “social” represents your total voice – it defines who you are.
To take this point even further, it is my firm believe that any type of marketing for your business should have a central place in your organization. Be it social or not. Marketing is the vehicle to make the connection between your business and the people you want to serve: whose problems you solve or desires you fulfill.
Are you willing to dedicate time and money, develop the right skills, set smart goals, start to engage and make social media marketing part of your total business? If yes, you will have everything set in place for a successful social business in 2012.
What would you add? Do you have additional advice to increase social media marketing success in 2012? Leave your comments and ideas in the box below.
Juan is also the senior editor and contributing author of Nieuwe Media Gids. An online magazine to support Dutch entrepreneurs and marketers with new media marketing.
Juan writes for one of the 4 major magazines in the US, fb&business, where he shares his latest insights on Facebook for business.
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