COVID brought the future, just five years earlier. You’re lucky if the worst impact on your business was a slowdown. We can view this transition period as a pause and use it as an opportunity to examine our business plan and marketing strategy. Often, marketing failure results from no marketing plan, but no business plan would include a pandemic disruption. If your company’s weakness is a lack of planning, download our Marketing Plan Workbook to help you create one.
If you have a marketing plan, do you have a social marketing strategy? If you’re not sure, then you probably don’t. Do you know the difference between a strategy and a tactic? If you aren’t sure about either question, this article will steer you in the right direction.
When Imagine, Inc. is brought into a new social marketing initiative, it’s for one of two reasons:
1) A company realizes the value of social marketing, and they want to proceed with expert guidance, or
2) A company has dabbled in social marketing with poor or no results.
In all cases, our discussions start with the company’s marketing strategy. A strategy itself is probably one of the most challenging concepts to define or explain. Many marketers struggle with how to create one. Without a clear definition, the strategy too often becomes a goal with a list of tactics. Yes, goals are one element, but they are only part of the picture. A list of tactics without a strategy becomes just an exercise without the means to measure results.
When a company has a marketing strategy, our first job is to see if it aligns with their business strategy. Because marketing and communications strategies are a subset of the business strategy, the lack of business alignment is often the cause of social media campaign failure.
Perhaps an understandable differentiation between strategy and tactics is that strategy is the ‘what’ and tactics are the ‘how.’ What is your business trying to accomplish? Sales are part of most equations, but what are your plan, timeline, and goals to position your company for better sales? With those answers, you will be in the best position to choose the most appropriate tactics.
With the “What & How” concept in mind, let’s consider these three business strategy levels as a guide to the planning process. These levels will directly impact your communication and social marketing.
Corporate strategy – this level answers the question about what your company is trying to accomplish. Is it retrenchment, stability, or growth?
Business unit strategy – this level addresses how your company wants to compete. Will your business strategy for growth be through market penetration, diversification, or product and service development?
Market strategy – with the first two levels defined, we can better choose the tactics to accomplish those goals.
Your objective should be to create a social media marketing campaign that assures organizational alignment with your company’s communications strategy.
Here are a few questions to help you define your social media strategy.
What is your overall business strategy?
Determine what strategies social media should be in alignment with:
– Human resources
– Customer service
Ask what you want people to experience and the action you want them to take when interacting with your company online.
• Determine if your strategy is reactive or proactive. Will you wait for people to find you, or will you actively seek them out?
• Where do your prospects hang out?
• What are your prospects’ conversations?
There are more considerations to developing a social media strategy, and discipline must stay focused on the essentials to achieve organizational alignment. With these answers in hand, choosing and executing tactics will be clear and measurable. Too often, conversations stray from strategic,” how will social media achieve organizational objectives? “to tactical,” we should be on Facebook.” Tactics are just a lot more fun.
Let’s say your social strategy is to focus on two goals: client/prospect engagement and brand awareness. Everything in your plan should relate to those two goals. Anything outside of that focus will be distractions spinning you in too many directions and ending up going nowhere. A well-thought-out strategy creates a road map that can keep everyone on track with measurable results.
Sometimes the biggest hurdle for social marketing success is choosing who will drive your social marketing initiative. We rely on Barbara Gobbi Marketing to deliver social marketing success for our customers. Barbara helps businesses develop their plan and strategy. She will implement your campaigns, or she’ll teach how to do it. Call Barbara at (954) 557-6781 to learn how she can help build your social currency. Barbara offers a Marketing Plan Tool Kit that will get you on a social marketing track fast. Be sure to tell her we sent you.
Suppose Blog Marketing is part of your social marketing strategy. In that case, we will build your blog and coordinate with Barbara to compliment your social marketing strategy. Learn more about the value of blog marketing on our website. Learn more how-to’s in our post about 6 Steps For A Perfect Blog Post. For more blog post ideas visit our ideas post.
If you haven’t done so, now is an excellent time to download our Marketing Plan Workbook. Creating a marketing plan is more manageable with workbook guidance.
Call us at 954-257-7066 to get off the ground with our free audit of your social media marketing. Our research also what your competition is doing.