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How to Streamline your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Having a solid social media marketing strategy is the key to social media health. Think of it as a dieting plan that lays down what food groups to include, in what quantity, how often and a complementary fitness regimen too. In social media terms, this would translate to deciding what types of content, in what proportions you should publish on various social networks, how often and a set of other strategies that can help amplify your content better. Just like a diet, a social media marketing strategy is tailor-made for each brand based on its social media goals. And, you have to constantly keep track of the progress you’ve made and make adjustments to your existing strategy accordingly.

Too often, the word strategy is banded around in business without anyone really defining what it is and what it involves. In this article, we hope to change that as we will go over how a social media marketing strategy can aid in branding, sales and customer support. If you want to learn more about the tools you need to build and execute a great social media strategy, read this

If you want to learn more about the tools you need to build and execute a great social media strategy, read this article. To know more about the basic components of a social media marketing plan, you can visit this link. As I mentioned before, the different elements of a social media strategy depend on the goal that your brand hopes to achieve on social media. Here we cover three goals and the strategy best suited to help attain it.

Branding

Branding has always been a marketing activity. The way a brand defines itself has a bearing on the type of consumers it targets and the relationship it has with them. Social media has come to be a great way to communicate to a wide audience who you are as a brand and what you stand for. Branding through social media is all about consistency.

Before you start planning your social media strategy, or as a first step of it, build two profiles. One should be your estimate of what your brand is like, as a person. Is your brand young, casual or is it more professional and formal? The other should be a profile of your ideal target customer. These are the people whose attention you are trying to get through your social media activity.

Tone

Once you have got this down, the next step would be to decide on a tone appropriate for your brand that will resonate with its audience. Depending on the nature of your brand and the audience you have in mind, this can range from “internet lingo” to jargon-laden paragraphs. The important thing is that your tone should be consistent. Every message you put out should sound like your brand, so much so that when your customers see your content, they should immediately recognize it as coming from you.

If you want a great example of a brand executing tone for branding purposes, look at Denny’s. Here are a few of their highly engaging tweets:

 



 

You can bank on Denny’s to deliver funny, topical tweets every week. The best part? They connect to their target audience and has made them one of the best restaurant brands on Twitter. Another, related branding strategy is the use of a uniform color palette, logos etc. They make brand content distinctive. This makes the content put out by an individual brand easily recognizable.

Choice of networks

The increase in the number of social networks that brands can have an active presence in, does not mean that the brands have to be on all of those. There are certain networks that will prove extremely beneficial to your brand. The best strategy will be to zero in on those that will yield you good visibility or leads among your target market. This way, you can ensure that none of the efforts you put into social media goes to waste. For example, for brands that have a target demographic consisting of retired, army professional, it would be hard to imagine how they would reap rewards off of being on Snapchat.

Building brand authority

A great way for brands to gain visibility on social media is through publishing quality content. Thought-leadership should be a key part of your social media marketing strategy and it is inexpensive too! Content marketing is a great way of putting a word out about your expertise and credibility in the field without having to rely on expensive advertising.

In addition to publishing great content on your social media platforms, look for opportunities to get your content amplified by external sources. This can be through guest-blogging or by identifying and engaging with influencers.

Influencer marketing is not just a way to get some extra reach. The kind of influencers who engage with your content have a part in defining your brand too. When you target influencers, make sure that they have credibility in your field and a respectable following. Another great way to establish relationships with your target audience is by building brand communities. But brands that venture into this should be ready to consistently produce content and drive discussions that have a clear value addition to the consumers.

Sales

Social media is a valuable tool for Sales. Since you put the  word out about your brand on various social networks, you can attract prospective clients. Yet, it often involves a little bit of effort to get your audience to commit to being customers. You would have come across some article that mentions the sales funnel, for certain. As it brings conceptual clarity, let me borrow it here.

 

funnel

 

First off, you can see that the volume of leads keeps decreasing as we go further down the sales funnel. When you publish something on social media, you will get quite a bit of exposure. All those who see your content will not be interested in the product as it might not be relevant to them. Of them, those who are keen about it will engage. Depending on the nature of your product, the next step could be to get them to visit your web-page, sign up or buy. Once they express an active interest, the sales team can do what they do best, follow-up and convince them why they need your product.

Social media listening is a valuable strategy to find out what consumers are saying about the brand. Churning is as big a part (or even bigger) of the sales funnel as conversion. There are various reasons why leads or consumers churn. It could be because the product does not match their requirements, they lost interest etc.

If for instance, your product lacked a functionality that a particular lead was keen on, leading them to churn, you can reach out to them once you update your product. Listening allows you to know how to cater to your consumers better and to redress their concerns.

A really efficient social media marketing strategy necessarily requires a clear connect with the sales team. This means that the social media manager, and the content creation team knows the prospective clients that the sales team has on their radar. The sales team, given their interaction with clientele should play a part in coming up with the audience profile. Then, you can create content that will be extremely relevant to these leads. Once you’ve shared that on social media, it is a conversation opener. You can either tag the prospect in your Tweet/Facebook Post, or you can reach out via DM.

Sales input on content can go a long way in ensuring that the pain points of target consumers are touched upon. Sitting in on sales pitches or reading the script can be valuable inputs on framing the solution your brand offers in the most attractive manner. Thought leadership and an active participation in online communities also help in getting noticed. Leads that come from these sources often have an interest and basic knowledge in the area you offer your services in. Such qualified leads are often easier to convert.

Customer Support

A great application of social media for brands is customer service. With customers actively using social media to express themselves, brands can get to know what they feel about their products and services. Not responding to consumer grievances online can put a serious dent in how your Followers perceive you.

A timely and considerate response, on the other hand, is key in building consumer relationships. A brand that excels at customer support is McDonalds. Their social media marketing strategy to let their audience know about their all-day breakfast involved responding to all Tweets from customers who expressed a wish for the same. This reassures customers that the brand cares about their concerns and heeds their requests.

An ideal social media strategy geared towards fostering great customer relations requires the following:

Social media listening tools

Depending on the volume of brand mentions you get online, invest in a social media listening tool. These will alert you to customer content that mentions you. A lot of customers Post on Facebook or Tweet tagging brands. This is usually the case when customer grievances are urgent in nature.

For instance, if you have complaints about your flight getting delayed etc you’d want them to take care of it at the earliest. If this makes up a majority of the customer service requests you get, then it would make sense to have social media profiles dedicated to customer service. These need to be manned with greater devotion that corporate profiles. An added benefit is that important messages won’t get buried and lost under a mountain of customer service requests.

A workflow and a plan

Timing is crucial in replying to customer messages. Here are the Average Reply Times of the top airlines from the United States during the period between 1st July and 30th September 2016.

 

Comparison_Replies_Response_Time_Jul_1_2016_to_Sep_30_2016


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In order to service them in the pace that you receive them, there needs to be a plan in place. This should lay down clearly the steps involved in resolving a consumer complaint. If you are using a social media tool, decisions need to be taken to prioritize and filter relevant messages that require your immediate attention.

There should be a clear workflow that determines whose attention each type of request needs. For instance, for corporate clients, the social media messages might need the attention of account executives. They can then reach out to them and ensure that they are content. The customer incidents need to be carefully documented, just as you would offline complaints.

The right people

Even though you necessarily need a script that has a set of recommended responses to common queries, customer service needs a human touch. In addition to giving providing the solution off the script, customize messages to show that you actually care about your clients. This can be as simple as mentioning the consumer’s name or wishing them a good day.

The people you have on customer service need training in the subtle art of patience. They should be have excellent people skills. These aren’t necessarily something your employees should be born with. With training and practice, these skills can be easily cultivated.

The most memorable customer service experiences arise out of interactions that deviate from the prescribed script. A sense of humor and an active interest in how audiences view your brand are great assets while using social media for customer service. Take a look at this article for inspiration.

 

 

The applications that social media offers for brands are on the rise. However, as these grow, each application needs a dedicated social media marketing strategy. Customer service procedures and sales strategy cannot be carried out based on the diktats of an overarching strategy. As with everything, monitor the efficacy of your efforts and the results in each case to streamline your strategy.


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