BEFORE you develop your social media marketing programme remember to:
- Be clear about your marketing and communication goals
- Evaluate which social media channel could support you in achieving those goals
- Establish your key performance indicators and what success will look like for your business
"Social media is free or low cost, but before ‘jumping in’, make sure it is relevant to your communication goals"1. START WITH LISTENING: You don’t need to actively participate in the social scene to benefit from it - even if you never plan to write a blog post, publish a Tweet or create a Facebook page, you can uncover great opportunities by listening to the conversations taking place
2. SHARE YOUR BACK STORY: Platforms like Flickr.com enable you to share information about your business, bringing your brand to life and importantly start to help you start to build relationships with customers and clients
3. CROWD SOURCE CONTENT: Consider how you could encourage your customers and clients to share their experiences of your business, product or service e.g. run competitions where they share videos, photos and feedback
4. TARGET YOUR ADVERTISING ON FACEBOOK: Tap in to the growing Facebook community by running targeted advertising to build visibility for your business and bringing traffic back to your website
"Even if you don’t plan to use social media, listen to what people are saying about your brand, product or service"
5. DEVELOP A COMMUNITY ON FACEBOOK: Create a Facebook Group or a Facebook Page for your business. Provide your community with a reason to join you through offering unique, relevant content and an opportunity to engage directly with you
6. CUSTOMISE YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE: Extend your visual identity to your Facebook page using the FBML application
7. SHARE YOUR OFFLINE PROMOTIONS: Make sure you let your community on your business blog, Facebook, Twitter or other social network know about the offers and promotions you are making offline
8. RESPOND QUICKLY: If you decide to use social media platforms, assign accountability and train a member of your team in the role of Community Manager so they can monitor the conversations and respond as required to issues and questions being raised
"Take time to learn and develop your own and your teams skills in social media communications"
9.LINK BACK TO YOUR WEBSITE: Use the opportunity to link back to your main website so people can find out more about your products and services e.g. add a link in your bio on Twitter or a link in the side bar of your Facebook page
10.CONTENT AND CONVERSATION TONE: Just as with your marketing communication in other media, make sure that the specific tone and content takes into account your target audience
11. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH BLOGGERS: Take the time to research and get to know bloggers who are interested in your products and services. Invest in that relationship as you would with reporters, researchers and journalists in traditional media
12. HAVE A STRONG VISUAL IDENTITY: Express your brand online ensuring that it is consistent with your brand identity e.g. customise your Twitter page, use a distinctive avatar on Facebook or Twitter
"Nurture your community online by sharing relevant and compelling content"
13. HAVE A CLEAR CALL TO ACTION ON TWITTER: As your messages have to be 140 characters or less, it’s important to have a clear call to action to encourage people to click on the link you share in your Tweets (of course this also applies for any marketing copy)
14. CREATE ANTICIPATION: Use the opportunity of developing a community to build anticipation of your new products and services and use the wisdom of your community inviting them to offer views and participate in research when developing new offerings
15. PROVIDE RELEVANT OFFERS: When offering discounts and offers to your community, find ways to track the success of your promotions using reference codes (Note: check the promotional guidelines relevant to the social media platform you are using to ensure your competition or promotion is allowed under their terms of reference)
16. ENHANCE YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE: Consider whether you could use your presence on social media platforms to enhance your customer experience for example answering customer service questions
"Engage your community online and find ways to encourage their input and feedback"
17. FIND WAYS TO GROW YOUR ‘OPT IN’ LIST: Use the opportunity to add the details of your ezine sign up box on social networking platforms or your blog so that people can subscribe to your mailing list allowing you the opportunity to communicate with them direct
18. SHOW YOUR ARE SOCIAL: Add code and links from your main web presence to show your website visitors that you have a presence on social media platforms and a reason for them to join your community
19. INTEGRATE ONLINE AND OFFLINE CHANNELS: Reference your social media channels in your offline advertising from print to radio to TV
20. ENCOURAGE SHARING OF YOUR CONTENT: Even if you do not plan to actively participate or publish content in social media channels, take the opportunity to get your web master to add code to your website to encourage your visitors to share your content (articles, online videos and promotions) with their friends e.g. by email, on Twitter or Facebook
"Measure and evaluate your experience on social media platforms and refine your communication programme"