When trying to drive somewhere new, would you ever leave the house having no clue where you were trying to go? Probably not, unless you are a wanderer. You would make sure you had the address, or a map, or something to search for in your phone or GPS right? This way you have directions on how to get there and if those directions don’t work, you will know not to try them again right? And make news ones to get to the destination of choice at that point.
Well the world of Social Media Marketing is not any different. If you start by aimlessly posting things that you think are “cool” or spending money on advertising or Boosting Posts on Facebook without first identifying an audience and goals, you will get lost quickly. There needs to be a roadmap, with a timeframe and goals attached to it, to ensure you are not headed South to get to Los Angeles from San Diego. If you are, it could take a really long time to get there! Here are a few considerations when putting together your roadmap. Use these to make sure you have some direction before starting blindly and wasting time, resources, and money.
- ID your market/audience – make sure to hone in on location, age, gender, income levels, ect. This will help with all later steps. After all you want to sell your product or service to people who can use it right? There is a reason that Rolls-Royce car ads do not show up in my Facebook feedJ.
- Choose your channel or channels – Now that you have identified your target locations and demographics now make sure you are using channels to access that demographic. There are plenty of options out there and also endless data on who is using which social media channels. Make sure your market and their chosen mode of communication are in sync with your SMM goals.
- Identify your strategy/budget – Knowing which channels you are going to use will help you to build a strategy around those channels. Also, it will help you to identify any budgetary constraints for content creation or advertising dollars that will need to be spent with that particular channel. Decide what the focus will be and don’t just say to sell more widgets because it needs to be much more specific than that. It should be something along the lines of “grow our Facebook page to get more product exposure and user engagement in the San Diego area”. Even that may not be specific enough for a successful campaign. Remember you are not the only fish in the sea and the more niche you get the better your results will be.
- Set a timeline – This is VERY important and overlooked all the time. Too many times I have seen people trying something for a few weeks and saying “it doesn’t work” or “this is the best thing ever”. The reality is that without a few months of data you may not know whether it is or is not working, so set a firm date. I recommend to work in three month intervals to try out new ideas and techniques.
- If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again – I heard this all the time as a kid and it rings true in this example as well. Social Media is an ever growing and competitive landscape, so if you don’t get the results in the first trail, think about what went right and what went wrong, adjust the sails and give it another go. This being said, I do not think that Social Media Marketing is for every business type, so I am not advocating wasting money if you saw zero results, simply saying if you didn’t meet every tier of your goals to not give up.
These baseline considerations will help you to put together a plan when stepping foot into the wild ocean that is Social Media Marketing. Without some sort of roadmap in place you will likely be wasting time and resources. It is important for any SMB to make sure that they have a measurable plan in place to track and respond as necessary. Remember that you would not try to go to any new destination without a map and this marketing example should be no different.