And what is the purpose of your social media marketing in your business?

When I pose these questions to people managing these channels the answers are somewhat general:

  • “so we can share our events”
  • “so we can get more fans”
  • “Everybody has one”

These are valid starting points but not defined strategies that can assist you in achieving tangible marketing objectives. The more concerning response is,

  • “It’s just a fan page and doesn’t really do anything for our brand or product”

These responses highlight that the full potential of social media platforms are not being utilised, and more specifically that clear strategies have not been defined in the context of a marketing plan.
Social media channels are marketing platforms that should contribute to the goals of your overall marketing strategy. They are not there merely to get more fans / likes / followers/ connections. Most people successfully use Facebook as an interactive social platform to converse with their fans – posting events, sharing news, commenting on posts and generally staying in touch with their fans. However, an assessment of the growth rate on brand pages indicates that not many brands / companies are seeing any significant increase in their fan base which tells me they are not generating continuous momentum to drive their fan base beyond a certain point. I’m not advocating here that this should be the only key objective – as this is focused on the brand or product and not on your client or consumer. Further enquiry into the depth of what they know about their fan base highlights that little or no analysis is being done to understand the interests or social patterns about their audiences.

Make sure your social media objectives tie into your overall marketing strategies and that they are relevant to your customers. If you haven’t defined clear objectives for your social media marketing together with which social media channels – then you need to go back to the drawing board. To determine your key objectives start with asking yourself the questions stated above. Then set about linking this to a plan that includes the following:

  • Research on your target market – know who you are aiming to reach and their online behaviour;
  • Focus only on the social media channels that reach your target market;
  • Devise a content plan which broadly outlines what content will be placed on the relevant social media channels;
  • Establish a schedule that ties in the content plan with other activities around your brand;
  • Create one or two campaigns relevant to the social media channel which tie into your marketing goals and brand image; Try something different!
  • Keep in mind the opportunities of shared content, cross marketing with complementary products and links when devising the content plan and social media channels;
  • Use the analytics available on many of the social media channels to assess your actions and campaigns;
  • Put in checks to review if your actions are taking you in the right direction and if not, don’t be afraid to alter the plan or add new dimensions based on new information;
  • Monitor new developments and changes within social media marketing to determine if there are new or better ways of doing things, if new channels are relevant to your goals, and if you need to adapt your action plans;

At the end of this process your answers to the initial questions will tie into clear marketing objectives. For some further insight on ones that work, browse through Facebook for Business where examples of success stories (despite these being all a bit self-serving), include specific goals set by the brands or products represented. Also worth keeping track is following blogs and news on to keep up with the latest trends. It is also worth noting that despite the social media being marketing driven – it is possible to achieve sales objectives as part of the strategy!

If part of the road-block to your success story is the lack of resources, consider engaging outside services to perform these ad-hoc health checks on your social medial marketing or to assist with developing action plans to achieve your objectives.