Strategy can be a really strange thing and can mean different things to different people but without it you really are going nowhere whether it’s in social media or anything else you do for that matter.
Let’s take social media and social media marketing, as it’s what I do. My dad always said to us as kids “you only get out what you put in” and that sort of stuck with me and something I use every day and tell my kids too.
So how does that relate to your ‘strategy’? Easy…first let’s take a look at what makes a successful social marketing strategy.
The first real element of any strategy is you and that’s especially true of social media. You have to want to do it, you have to ‘show up’ and be there for your tribe but you can’t be one dimensional. If you use text a lot, like this post, think about a video or maybe an infographic, just to mix things up a bit, don’t be predicable.
You have to be helpful, you need to let people know how you really can solve their problems, but that only happens if you listen to them, so make sure listening is part of that strategy.
We all know that we have to be ourselves when posting, we have to be authentic in everything we do online, if not and we are ‘found out’ that’s really bad for business. But it really isn’t that difficult. If I am honest it doesn’t take long before ‘we’ shine through as its human nature, we can’ hide for long, good or bad so don’t try.
Never be dull and boring, be as engaging as you can. Nobody buys ‘dull’ do they? No they buy exciting, knowledgeable and interesting. I can guarantee that if you sell like a robot you won’t make many sales…trust me I know through bitter experience. Keep everything you do full of life and vibrant.
So how often do you ‘show up’? Well this is up to you of course but you really do have to be available, if you’re not what’s the point? Now I am not saying you have to be there 24/7 but it really is just a matter of working hard to understand how you reach your clients and prospective clients. We all get caught up but I find if you plan your week it really does help.
So just as a little exercise I want you to:
Take a look at your website. How ‘helpful’ is it to your tribe
How ‘you’ is your website? Are there pictures of the people who work there? Is there a picture of you? All this matters, believe me.
How interesting is your website is it making the decision to buy an easy one, it should be or is it just selling?
Where are you available? How many links to social channels do you have on your website?
This is a great little exercise to find out just what your strategy is and it’s gets you thinking about the next steps.
When I worked in the newspaper industry it became clear around 2004/5 that we were no longer just a publishing company we were in fact a media company because we had access to lots of different channels not just print to get our message and stories out to the public.
We had access to video through YouTube, we could blog using WordPress and as you all know by now that was just the start.
My point is things have changed so much that we now have access to what seems like millions of ways to connect with each other and its growing. We are now all media companies regardless of business size.
Mobile is growing so fast we can hardly keep up. My Chromebook is now my PC and my tablet and Smartphone are never far away so doesn’t it make sense to have them at the centre of your strategy? But please make sure that your website looks good on your phone…its essential these days because that’s how it’s being accessed most of the time.
A massive part of my strategy for social marketing is how quickly I respond to someone. Before we go on think about your response time and is it good enough?
Why it’s important: Marcel Lebrun, founder of Radian6 (now Salesforce Radian6) coined this important phrase – “The social phone is ringing. Are you picking up?”
I think we all get that everyone now thinks that their message to you is the most important message you will ever receive and if it remains unanswered than it really is wasted. This also goes for Tweets, emails or comments on blogs, G+, Facebook or LinkedIn. If you don’t respond then anything they hoped you might supply is wasted, you might not get a second chance.
Think about using something like Hootsuite to monitor what’s being said, it’s a great way to listen and keep in touch with your tribe.
So again what’s your current response time?
Recently I read an article on how it takes one company 45 days to plan a tweet, now I wouldn’t recommend you take that long but you do need a strategy to make all this stuff work for you.
This is a very small part of how my social marketing works and it’s something you are interested in or want to know more about please feel free to get in touch.
Using strategic thinking as a method of running and growing your business can sometimes be the one thing that stops you dead in your tracks. This is exactly the same when it comes to your social marketing efforts.
You see most business owners are stuck in the ‘working in the business’ instead of working ‘on the business’ mentality. You will hear me say lots of times, “think deeply” about a problem and you will find a solution. Now some people can do this well and without thinking about it. But sadly most small to medium size businesses never give themselves the time to think deeply about anything. Everything is running at breakneck speed. Sometimes this is a good thing but most times it’s a bad thing.
What most never seem to get is that the journey from small business to sustainable enterprise really does require a sound strategy and a plan.
I believe strongly that you should let your mind ‘run free’ and wander’ when it comes to strategy. Too many of us are thinking that it’s difficult to think strategically when really it’s just a case of freeing your mind and asking yourself first and your tribe second, the right questions.
So how do you do this? Well it’s easier for some than others but I will outline how I approach it and what works for me. Hopefully you will pick up some tips on how to think strategically for your business.
One of the first things I teach people is ask the right questions and the right answers will appear, if they don’t ask better questions. Usually I find this first strategy is the most difficult for people to overcome.
Here are the questions I ask on a regular basis:
How do I turn a site visitor into a newsletter subscriber?
How do I turn a newsletter subscriber into a happy customer?
How do I turn a happy customer into a brand ambassador that refers me constantly?
How do I get happy customers to buy more?
This next strategy is a ‘move’ or ‘shift’ process and it’s all about moving your tribe along your sales funnel. So how do we get someone who has visited your website for the first time to make a purchase?
Let’s take an example of how you can do this in its simplest form and map out the stages of the process:
Let’s say that Jack and Vera are planning their holidays and they are looking for a new travel bag this is the state or purchasing state someone must be in to purchase your travel bag.
What we must do is put in place a plan to get them in the state where they will buy.
They must have a need (we need to help them to plan their holiday).
They must agree that their existing travel bag and anything else we might sell to them are not adequate for their upcoming trip.
They must be able to justify the cost of a new travel bag.
They must agree that our travel bags are better than the competitions.
Right so now we have outlined the potential buyers buying state now we need a plan in place to get them to make that sale.
For me the best way by far is through a series of email newsletters, if you’re a subscriber then you will recognise this process, or you should.
Email 1: Tell about a trip or holiday any holiday as you are setting the scene at this stage. Show pictures. Include testimonials from people talking about how amazing the holiday was, how refreshed they felt afterwards, and how much it helped them “clear their head.” Use whatever benefits your prospects need – the goal is to get them to desire and plan that holiday.
Email 2: Write a review of “holiday destinations.” Include short breaks, city breaks, all inclusive and holidays like the one mentioned in email 1.
Email 3: Write about the “cost” of not going on the holiday how they will always be tired and irritable with the ones they love and work colleges, the fantastic places they will never get to see and the experiences they will never have by not taking a holiday.
Email 4: Write a review of different holidays, highlighting the benefits of the holiday and why they should be booking through you, this is a ‘soft sell’ at the moment but include an offer.
Email 5: This last newsletter has to contain a stronger offer. Include an expiration date. Remind them how wonderful it is to go on holiday (revive the feelings from email 1). Give a discount or offer bonuses to get them to act now. They need to justify the purchase and book today.
I know this is a very simple example but I hope it highlights to you that just by asking the right questions and then putting them into a plan how easy it is to set up a strategy to sell your products or services.
This strategy can sell anything so please feel free to use it in your business and use the delivery mechanism that works best for you. This could be video it could be a podcast it could be anything that gets your message out to your tribe.
You have heard me say “ask the right questions” this is fundamental if you want this strategy to work and remember if your questions don’t work change them until they do.
You need to ask yourself in every situation “how I get people from point A to point B in the fastest time and with the most pleasurable experience?”
Here are a few questions to get you started.
How do I get my tribe to choose me over my competitors?
How do I turn the people who buy from me into brand ambassadors?
How do I turn brand ambassadors into referral machines?
If you can answer these questions with well thought through strategies and then implement a great plan you will be strategically moving your company from where you are now to where you want to be in the future.
I hope you have got something from this post that will help you and your business think about your social marketing efforts a little deeper?
If you want to learn more about strategic thinking for business through social marketing please consider signing up for my Ultimate Social Marketing Edge program where we go a lot deeper into the strategic side of social marketing.
Until next time have a fantastic day.
“Don’t settle for good, good stops you from being great”
Three little words that can be so powerful but without them all in sync your campaign can be a none starter. In my last post, Building a Buzz around your Brand! – Part Two, creating a buzz through Social Media is a great way to launch a campaign or service etc. But let’s face it without Strategy, Planning and Implementation you might as well forget it.
Your campaign can be an online email marketing campaign, it can be posting leaflets through letter boxes or it can be launching a product or service for a client, it doesn’t really matter, everything should be in place before you even contemplate setting out!
Let’s take them one at a time:
Without a sound strategy your campaign is doomed from the start. Do you want to achieve some or all of the following?
A greater reach in your specific field
More qualified leads
A better quality of candidate
This list could be endless, but it’s your list. (more…)