How to Develop a Long-Term Social Media Strategy for Success
Social media encompasses the lives of nearly every individual, whether it's reading a blog on the web or following the latest updates from friends on Facebook. The adoption of social media as part of the daily life has opened new opportunities for businesses to reach and connect with their target audience. However, businesses that have been quick to jump onto social media have shown they are still very inexperienced with using it. This article will share how to develop a long-term social media strategy for success.
Phase #1: Identifying the Core Audience
Before any business can reach a market, they must first understand who they are targeting. After all, how does one market a product if they can't find a customer?
Social media strategy, like business, needs to have a definition for the core audience. This can be pulled from existing demographics from a business, research or tuning into social media mediums and manually monitoring potential community members.
The identity of the social media audience should look into which networks and platforms they prefer. Such as topics, interests, age group, hobbies, socio-economic status, awareness of brand and any element that will paint a greater picture of the individual the social media efforts should be focused toward.
Phase #2: Developing a Long-Term Goal
As part of any strategy, a goal must be defined to help guide individuals behind the social media campaign toward success.
Social media goals do not need to be extremely specific, but they should be well defined to aid individuals with elements of a campaign. Such as how to properly craft their messages and which influential individuals they should be reaching in order to build greater traction within social circles.
The social media goals should align to the business culture. They should be seen as an extension of the brand rather than a marketing or PR channel to bombard users. Long-term success with social media is a collaboration of great connections, relevant information, tone, brand and general helpfulness.
Phase #3: Creating True Relationships
The entire purpose of social media is to allow users to interact and connect. It's not just a vehicle for business as many would like to believe. At the core of social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and many others are relationships.
The ability to create one-on-one relationships with a customer is one of the most powerful elements of using social media in business. This is because for decades, companies have pushed customers away and made the shopping experience extremely impersonal.
Relationships should be built one at a time. It is vitally important to keep track of connections with each and every individual that interacts with the brand. These conversations can spring up at any time and need to be addressed as they happen in real-time, or else the message fails.
The social media strategy and overall success for a business, on these mediums, will grow along with each new relationship. Customers will feel at home and part of a bigger community which often brings them back time and time again. It instills a greater amount of brand loyalty when that relationship has been created and social media is the medium to do so.
Phase #4: Tracking and Optimizing the Strategy
The execution of a social media strategy is only one element that guides a business toward success. The other element is the ability to track and optimize the efforts.
It is difficult to monitor each and every conversation about a business brand, but an effort should be made to keep track of conversations for research and development purposes. Tracking may also include items such as physical locations, age group, reception of products and services, economic position, social circles and any other element that would improve the identification of the core audience.
Optimization follows suit once information has been collected. Optimization can further refine the social media strategy and reduce wasteful interactions on social media mediums that may not necessarily have significant returns. Optimization may also detail a further understanding of which influential individuals on these social networks are worth going the extra mile to connect with and ultimately gain greater traction through their endorsement.
Tracking and optimization proves to be just as important as any other phase of an overall social media strategy and should be incorporated in order to build long-term success.