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Monday, January 6, 2014

7 Things your social media plan should consider for 2014

Let’s face it, you simply cannot ignore the fact that social media is here to stay – it’s as an important aspect of your marketing mix, as anything else you have been doing up to this point. Unfortunately, for many businesses it’s still not included as an integral business activity – in short, it’s often an afterthought, something to be done, when time allows.
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Your social media goals for 2014
If you don’t want your competitors to leave you standing then 2014 is the year you need to get serious about using social media in your business. If up until this point you’ve simply stuck your toe in the water but no more, it can seem a pretty daunting task, so here are my 7 tips to help you get under way.
  1. Know why? – Why are you in business? When you first started what was your passion, what made you decide to set up the business you have – what difference did you want to make to those who use your services? –  Starting here is a great way of re-assessing every aspect of your sales & marketing strategy, this will be important when it comes to communicating, via social media, who you are and what you do.
  2. What outcomes do you deliver? – Many businesses make the mistake of only listing on their websites what they do and how they do it. Clients are much less interested in these factors, rather they want to know if you can solve their problems or help them achieve their business objectives. Does your LinkedIn profile communicate this well?
  3. Who is your audience?  - Is it time to reassess who your clients are? Are there some who are more profitable for your business, who are easier to deal with and should you be searching for more of these type of clients? Social media sites, such as LinkedIn and Twitter provide free tools to enable you to locate and engage with thousands of potential new clients – you just need to learn how to make best use of these tools.
  4. What is your story? – Marketing has changed – the focus now is on building relationships, not driving transactions. Potential clients want to know more about you, your beliefs, attitudes, values, how you’ve helped others similar to them to achieve success – they want to like you and above all trust you. Your job is to share content via social media that has heart, real stories about real people – your clients, your employees maybe? – social media content needs to engage at a human level, it’s not simply about sharing corporate sales messages, no one believes these any more. Establish a connection first and clients will buy, you will rarely have to sell to them.
  5. It’s not just about posting – There is a misconception that if you post sufficient information via LinkedIn status updates, in groups, on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook that eventually you’ll attract plenty of new business and yes, you will attract some. However, if you’re not prepared to engage in dialogue with those who view your profile or respond to your posts – if you’re not prepared to engage in discussion forums and Twitter conversations then you’re not being ‘social‘. Engagement is the key to building relationships.
  6. Create content that engages – Content is definitely king – when it comes to social media and websites Google takes specific notice of those sites that share great content and that are linked to other sites that share great content. Your job is to create or curate great content (sounds simple doesn’t it?). What is great content? It’s content that your clients want to read, not what you think they should read. Consider sharing industry trends and updates that are relevant to your clients, be an indispensable resource to them. Share positive stories where you have had an influence in helping other similar businesses – be cautious of being too overtly salesy though.
  7. Don’t forget the sales element - In the end though, there is no point making all these connections and attracting many followers and likes -sharing wonderfully useful content with them, if they are not going to visit your website or enquire about your services further – you must put your sales hat on. For example, use Google Analytics to assess which of your website pages visitors land on most frequently and make sure that your social media content includes a link, every time, to these pages. When they land on your page, do you have a capture mechanism, clearly identified, where the visitor can sign up to your newsletter or special offer, so you capture their data? You must consider and include an end-game as far as your social media plans are concerned.
I believe that there is much confusion shared on various sites about linking social media activity with sales and marketing – they are linked, in fact they must be linked, otherwise we are all just being busy fools.
Social media is no silver bullet, it may bring instant results and certainly I have seen many examples where it has. However, patience is key here – be prepared to put time in and be consistent – measure and assess your progress – what do people respond well to, what isn’t working and needs to be changed? Social media is a process, it works for those who apply it with consideration and it’s not going away any time soon – you’re competitors are using it and winning, so are you prepared to get in the game and learn how to make it work for you in 2014?
Wishing you a great 2014 and if you would like to learn how my business helps company’s like yours to attract more new clients to your business click here now. Want more tips like this? Sign up to our weeklynews-brief here.

*Article by Steve Phillips (Managing Director/Linkd2Success)

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