blog: Social Media Strategies

September 14, 2011

Top 10 Do's and Don'ts for Social Media Success

Kari-Lynn O’Neil — social media Strategist

Everyone is doing it, but not everyone is doing it well. One thing is for sure, there is lots of confusion on how to use social media marketing and why. Should social media marketing be incorporated in a business plan or is it a big waste of time? The answer is yes and no. It is a waste of time if you use it wrong; but in the right hands it’s a marketers dream come true. It can boost the ROI of traditional media through the roof, provide a wealth of knowledge about your target audience, and is a great way to capture hard earned leads and funnel them into a program until they are ready to buy. Something traditional media alone cannot do. Here’s 10 do’s and don’ts to get you started on the path to using social media successfully.

  1. Do create a strategy. This is a valid form of marketing. Do you take out ad space without a purpose? I hope not. The same holds true for social media. For example, if you are a fashion retail store, a overview strategy could look like the one below:
    • Target fashion-forward consumers with high-value content around fashion trends and entertainment.
    • Create a blog that generates interest and features in-depth content around brands you carry and showcases your expertise in fashion and availability of stylists for personal consultation.
    • Repost blogs on your Facebook page with a link back to your website.
    • Facebook presence has a welcome page for new "likes" with 20% off first purchase when they book with a consultant (revealed after they “like” you). Links back to consultant page on website for them to read bios, schedule with online booking appointment feature, also videos, fashion tips.
    • Facebook posting strategy includes videos, photos, posts, surveys about styles in store from various designers, trends, etc. Sprinkle with specials, sales and exclusive deals for Facebook fans only.
    • Store check-in specials: Point-of-purchase offers: get discount at register when fans check in and show and tell what they bought to their friend network ; Gift with purchase if they snap a shot and post then and there.
    • Sweepstakes for Ratings: handout cards with receipt asking to Like and Review on Facebook. All reviewers will entered in Sweepstakes for Gift Card for the Store. Winners announced on Facebook.
  2. Don’t post without a plan. This can be disastrous. We recently helped out a a retailer who first got the wrong “likes” by only posting sales, then were baffled when people were posting complaints because deals weren’t good enough. They drew this group to their door by lacking a solid strategy in social. Had they done research would have known that penny pinchers/couponers are also chronic complainers. It will take a while to reverse this process, but a focused plan on creating a following of shoppers who were looking for quality, with a narrowed search for higher household income, they would have avoided having 25K+ people see posts that send the message: “last time you had this sale it was 33% off, now it’s 25%. You’re making plenty more than all of us customers in this economy. I’m not shopping here anymore.” 3,000+ “likes” attached to the comment. These aren’t they kind of “likes” you strategize for!
  3. Do implement KPI (Key Performance Indicators). If you don’t have a system for determining what is working, you won’t know what to keep doing or what to cut in favor of something new. In the example strategy above, you can track how many impressions your blog got. Depending on where your blog is (website, blogger, etc.) you can track further. Analytics can tell you if they exit or what page they went to next. You can measure how much traffic comes to your site from FB. From there depending on your level of sophistication, there is a lot you can do to learn and convert your customer. The 20% coupon is easy to measure and can be directly linked to ROI, as can the Check in Special. You can be on the ball and see how many new likes you get based on this strategy as it usually happens that day. Each month when you get your FB insights, compare traffic, user profiles against your KPI and ROI and tweak your strategy.
  4. Don’t dilute your fan base with likes outside your target market. The race to get the most likes is ridiculous unless you sell water (or some product nearly everyone wants). Your fan base should be “narrow and deep” with a highly targeted group of people who fit your “perfect customer” to a tee. These are repeat customers who will be loyal to you and keep your business thriving. You can learn a lot from them, test product ideas out, marketing concepts… don’t waste this opportunity.
  5. Do your research. Understand what channels of social media will be effective for your business. Each social media channel delivers a different audience, and each has niches within it. Knowing which social media channel (or several) are right for you, and how to utilize them in the proper proportions will save you time and increase your success rate.
  6. Don’t be self absorbed. Amateur social media is obvious. It is filled with first person posts that are one sided self serving marketing messages. “We have this on sale.” “Stop in and get this.” “We have this event.” “I am doing this today” It’s the fastest way to get unliked. Think of your page as a mini-magazine your fans want to peek at when they are waiting places. That’s what people are using mobile devices for.  Engaging them with soft sell messages is a better way to keep them in your base. If you were creating an online magazine with mini layouts of text, video, pictures, links, what would it feature? B2B and B2C channels are different; now post in bite size bits.
  7. Do understand your audience. What are their needs? Branding is critical in social media too. Copywriting, images and style all can work for you or against you here. A small investment with a professional can do wonders. 
  8. Don’t forget Social is an extension of your brand. Customers should have the same brand experience as other all your other touch points. I’m baffled when I see a beautiful website, lovely print ads and go to a Facebook page or blog where the customer loyalty should be taking place and the logo isn’t even centered or photos look like they were taken by a kid with a phone. Is that really how you want people to experience your brand? Again, a qualified professional can set up these areas sometimes within a day or two and turn things back to you for a lot less than you might think.
  9. Do integrate Social with traditional marketing to increase your ROI. Ultimately, at this point social is a  customer loyalty channel. It helps you maintain hard won customers and leads into become a paying customer. Integrating social media messages into traditional advertising and having a solid strategy that keeps them engaged captures those leads and keeps them from going to the competition.
  10. Don’t leave this job to the intern. Yep. We all know that smart kid who is great with the latest tools, but do you really want your intern responsible for branding and business development.

With 750 million users in Facebook and counting, new apps and platforms being developed almost daily, social media is not going away. SMM (Social Media Marketing) is getting more sophisticated and customers are becoming more selective with who they accept messages from. If you are like many businesses who feel they need a leg up on SMM before it’s too late, we have a variety of solutions from full custom packages, quick-start options for you to maintain successfully in house, to business coaching.


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