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How To Get Started on Social Media Marketing: A Guide for Businesses

social media marketing for business Getting started in social media marketing can be a daunting task. It may seem as simple as starting a Facebook page and Twitter account and adding a few updates, but that approach to social media marketing for business won’t get you far. At SocialNicole we work with businesses everyday who are just beginning to dip their toes in the social media water. Whether they have begun by setting up a few channels or are still on the sidelines not sure what to do to begin, our approach is relatively the same: our goal is to help them to be successful. Here are 7 steps we follow when getting a new client started:

1. Audit it All

We look at all of your marketing materials, both online and offline. This includes website, any social media channels, collateral, email signatures, email marketing, traditional marketing and anything else that is used to promote the business. What are we looking for? We are looking for brand consistency, social integration (or lack of it), website preparedness for social media, basic search engine optimization, consistent messaging and much more. Your social media marketing is just one part of your entire marketing plan and therefore looking over all avenues of marketing is simply a necessity.

2. Competitor Analysis Scan

Taking a look around at your competitors and seeing what they are doing for online marketing efforts is just plain smart. You can see what they are doing well and what they are doing poorly. It also gives you a way to gauge where you are in the marketplace when it comes to social media and online marketing. If they have a ton of online reviews, then chances are their SEO is going to be much better than yours and this may be an area you want to work on. If they have a robust Facebook page with a lot of community interaction you know you have your work cut out for you, as they are already social. Likewise if their website is poorly setup and they are not very social you will know what you can do to quickly make strides to surpass them. One more benefit of this analysis is that you can often garner some great content ideas.

3. Audience Identification

It’s important that you understand your audience and that you clearly narrow the audience down to a specific targeted group before you jump online. Everyone is not a good audience; you need to identify who your target customer is. How old are they, what sex, what race, what income level? All these items are important to address. You may have more than one target audience, which is okay. At SocialNicole we like to give personas to the audiences so that it is more than a general description but becomes a person that we are marketing to.

4. Set Up Channels

Once you know your audience you can start identifying what social media channels you want to setup and whom you want to speak to on each channel. Identifying channels to set up can be a challenge, as there are so many. Of course there are the easy channels like Facebook and Twitter, but even those need to be questioned before just setting them up. What are you resources? How much time can you commit to a social media outreach effort and channel management? What channels are most likely to have the audience you seek and which channels best fit your content? This is probably one of the most challenging parts of a social media plan, especially if you do not have expertise in using the different channels.

5.  Create a Content Plan

Once you have the channels selected and audiences identified for each channel, it’s time to create a content plan. For content you need to be thinking about what is best received on each channel, when is the best time of day to post, how often you should post and what will be useful to your audience. Your goal is interaction and to get people to spread the word about your social media pages and business. You will not achieve this by simply posting about your business all the time. So get started by thinking about what can you do for you? This is a way to come up with content ideas. At SocialNicole we create schedules and calendars and setup all kinds of tools to make sure we are always on it with the best quality content that is going to attract the right people to our client’s pages.

6. How Will You Measure Success?

Ahhh, the million dollar question. Measuring success is vital to a successful social media program. Regardless of how big or small your company is, if you are not tracking metrics and benchmarking your success you won’t know what works and what doesn’t. There are many different numbers you can look at when trying to measure social media, but what are the right numbers? This varies by company but deserves attention to ensure you are tracking the right things. Setting up a dashboard and having a system for reporting is also essential. At SocialNicole we look at daily, weekly and monthly metrics for clients and are constantly adjusting our approach to management to ensure our clients get the best social media management possible.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

Marketing is a mix of creative thinking and figuring out what works best for your audiences. Trying something out and realizing it’s not working is ok and should be encouraged. Setting up metrics to track a new approach will help you determine what is working and what is not working. Using logic and reasoning and data to inform your next steps is part of the process. Don’t be afraid to try new things out and see what happens. There you have it – seven steps for businesses to get started on social media! Do you have any additional steps to add? Please let me know in the comment section below. Photo Credit

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