Business of Metalforming
A Social Media Strategy, Part 4: Building Traffic
This month we conclude our series on implementing a social-media marketing (SMM) strategy by discussing how to implement a strategy that ensures you’re meeting your strategic goals. Covered this month:
• Defining the internal changes required to achieve your SMM goals.
• Leveraging your organization’s unique strengths.
• Building traffic to draw attention to your marketing feeds.
• Building conviction and authority among your SMM team members.
Defining the Required Internal Changes
This goes back to considering cost. With a strategy planned out, the IT team must discuss how the initiative will impact their workload and the company’s network. While including IT at the beginning of the planning process can prove valuable, it may not necessarily be productive as these folks may not adopt activities that create more work for them. Thus, carefully consider what role the IT team should play, and involve them when the time is right.
Ongoing social-media success relies highly on your business’s ability to consistently deliver relevant content. There is no magic formula to determine the optimum number of posts per day, week or month. This can only be evaluated by continuously monitoring traffic to your social-media sites. Regardless, it’s essential to build a robust infrastructure and develop a reliable, organized team to manage and maintain your social-media presence. Initially, this will require a minimum of six months of daily effort until you find what works to satisfy your followers. Be sure to have a deep bench of content contributors as well as people tasked with regularly monitoring the social-media landscape.
You also may need to restructure your network and provide new or modified hardware that provides your team access to the Internet while away from the office. This may be as simple as providing each content contributor with a smart phone and the appropriate data plan and apps.
If this all sounds too complex or time consuming for your business to deal with while juggling daily obligations, one option is to outsource SMM to an advertising agency that specializes in B2B social media. This, however, still requires you to dedicate internal resources to assist in content development, monitoring and providing direction to the agency.
Leverage Unique Strengths
Whether you self-manage your SMM activities or outsource, your company will benefit from pulling in human capital from within the organization to provide the X-factor that will make your content unique, relevant and valuable to your audience of customers and prospects. Planning activities should have identified characteristics that make your company special—products, services and application knowhow that customers can’t live without. SMM content then should leverage those X-factors by creatively extending your intellectual property to your customers. This is your SMM draw.
As with any new activity, social media requires supporting promotional activities. The fundamental promotional mix applies here—use e-mail campaigns to promote new social-media locations delivering unique content; issue press releases; blog about social-media sites and new content; post announcements on your website homepage; include hot links in the signature line of your e-mails and list feed URLs on business cards and product brochures. Whenever and wherever you can, let your customer and prospects know that you’re offering social-media feeds that provide information relevant to their business success.
Building a Team with Conviction and Authority
With the rules of engagement defined, an SMM plan established and assignments given to the key players, you must work to ensure that any mistakes made during the initial stages of SMM execution do not trigger knee-jerk reactions from management that stifle the team and its ability to succeed. Management must empower the team to self-manage and maintain the SMM effort with minimal executive involvement.Step aside and make way for some youthful ideas and actions, confident that you’ve established a solid foundation of acceptable social-media behavior. This includes the basic etiquette and rules of social media—transparency, openness, authenticity and avoiding masked marketing plays. What is a masked marketing play? You’ll find these posts daily on LinkedIn—someone will post an inquisitive question to start a technical discussion, when in fact they’re looking to simply draw unsuspecting group members into their sales pitch. You know who you are. Save us the clicks by putting an end to this improper, self-serving use of social media. MF
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