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The ubiquity of social media is undeniable. Social media is no longer a choice for companies, but a necessity. Social media was once a frivolous experiment in internet marketing, but now is a necessary avenue to target consumers.

According to www.dazeinfo.com, “75 percent of the internet population uses networking sites/apps.”

Social networking has changed who is talking about your business and how consumers are influenced to buy. With social media being one of the most popular aspects for sharing product and service reviews, companies no longer have complete control over their brands and how they are perceived in the marketplace. Brands must now compete to build loyalty and trust amongst consumers by constantly listening to what is being said online, and responding in a timely and appropriate manner.

Creating a social media marketing plan, however can be a time-consuming and costly process if not strategically plotted. When leveraging social media for marketing, On Advertising recommends:

Fundamentals of a social media marketing plan

Step 1: Define your business objectives

It is essential to first establish policies and procedures that best implement your organization’s goals. Organizations must first identify outcomes to target. Each outcome should include a specific goal, performance measure, baseline, target and a deadline. Developing a plan for outcome measurement will allow your company to assess the extent to which a social media marketing plan has achieved the target outcomes and the impact it had.

Example: Increase website traffic from Twitter by 15 percent by Aug. 1, 2014.

Step 2: Analyze social networks and focus only on a few select social media platforms

Once the intended goals and outcomes are established it then becomes important to determine the best social media platform for your company. Concentrating on a select few social platforms will allow your company to maintain a consistent social presence. The platform that you use will depend on the products and services you offer, in addition to your market segment. On Advertising suggests selecting a platform in which you have a stockpile of relevant content at your disposal. Nothing is worse than an on-and-off social media campaign.

Example: Are visuals your company’s primary asset? If so, then Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr are a few visually-based platforms that are better suited for helping your company harness the power of photography.

Step 3: Implement a methodology to measure social media return

Develop key performance indicators to measure the performance of your social media marketing plan. KPIs are a set of metrics to determine the success and influence your campaign has on your company’s overall return on investment.

Example: Number of fans and followers; demographics of followers; number of likes, shares and mentions (engagement); and mentions by others.

Step 4: Track KPIs on a regular basis

Monitor your plan’s performance; identify trends that will affect your strategy and adjust accordingly. There are several online tools to help you effectively reach your social media goals. Below are a few of the best social media apps available for monitoring and tracking the progress of your social media marketing plan.

  1. SproutSocial – Sprout social is a social media management tool that monitors and analyzes social media activity over a variety of networks. SproutSocial helps to organize social media accounts through a unified activity stream, scheduled content distribution and keyword analysis. SproutSocial is a perfect one-stop-shop for organizations utilizing traditional social media outlets, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
  2. Postling – Postling provides a unified social media management platform that monitors data throughout the web. Postling supports a wide array of social media accounts, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube and multiple review sites. Postling is great for businesses that utilize online reviews, such as Yelp or TripAdvisor.
  3. Raven Tools – Raven Tools goes beyond the standard social media management tools with integrated Search Engine Optimization and online advertising analytics. Raven Tools is perfect for those looking to increase their website traffic and overall internet footprint.

Strategies from the experts

Social media has become a prized resource for companies seeking to control their perceived value. However, many organizations continue to struggle to ascertain results because they fail to connect their social strategy to business outcomes.

Whether you’re starting from scratch or refining an existing social media plan, the road to social marketing success begins with outcome-based planning and implementation. Companies who want to integrate social media into their marketing need to align their social campaigns to strategic business goals.

On Advertising has a team of social media mavens, who build robust social media networks daily through vibrant conversations that ignite results. We help companies align their social media goals with their business objectives, prioritize which social media goals to target, map and monitor meaningful KPIs, and refine strategies to increase the company’s social media bottom line.

Let us help you create a strategy that influences the conversation around your brand, call today 480-705-6623.

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