Developing a marketing plan for 2018 is not exactly an easy position when the techniques we use to reach customers are changing at a breakneck pace.
That being said, a plan is still a worthwhile investment: there are some attributes that separate those that succeed and those that don’t, and one is a proper social media marketing plan.
Firstly, what is a Social Media Marketing Plan?
Before we dive in, it’s important to understand what a social media marketing plan is in the first place. Simply put, it is a document that outlines what you hope to achieve through your social media efforts, how you anticipate measuring your efforts, and what activities you’ll undertake to reach your goals.
At qubeSocial we apply the WHO, WHAT, WHY, WHERE, HOW and WHEN strategy which you can download anytime as single page document for starters. If you need a hand filling it in or developing your social media marketing plan further then please don’t hesitate to drop us a line.
If you’re ready to start, then read on…
It’s really important to understand WHO you are targeting.
This will help with insights and also budgets as most platforms can provide you with expected numbers based on your desired target audience. Describing the target audience by both their Demographic and Geographical information brings you a long way to understanding who you are targeting. By applying to this a PRIMARY audience: (i.e Prospects and Customers) and a SECONDARY audience: (i.e Industry, Community, Network) you can developing your content expectations and response behaviour.
Then you need to define, WHAT problems you solve for your audience?
It’s important to understand why they are buying from you. Then define what actions you’d like them to take, such as:
You will need to think about the landing page your sending people to and what action is appropriate.
Now the hardest part, define the WHY they are buying from you.
Most people think they know it or worse don’t even explore this before going out to the market. Define how is your solution unique, what makes it different to other businesses out the in your industry. Which brings up why do customers buy from your competitors and not you? If you can provide any proof or guarantees, testimonials, press releases to support your claims then you have built up opportunities and credibility to why they buy from you and not them.
It’s important to cover WHERE have you been communicating with your audience.
If you can learn from past promotions or platforms this may assist with defining you keywords or key phrases? These can be what the prospects and buyers type into Google. It also assists with future marketing tactics & content strategies you apply to blogging, hashtags, video’s and email newsletter that compliment your social posting to your desired audiences.
I am assuming here that you have a brand or campaign in place and understand HOW you will communicate.
Knowing the look and feel of your brand or campaign assists greatly in making your WHY visually unique. Applying a slogan can also assist with calls to actions and visual prompts. Developing you content strategy for your website, blog, news etc. is vital. This allows you to then apply it to your Social Media Advertising directly on the Page or as a Post Promotion to a saved audience or interest group. Of course assigning a budget and timeline here is crucial.
Finally we can look at WHEN you will post.
You should develop a Weekly Schedule and track the Insights/Measurements such as Likes, Reach, Engagement (Post Clicks), visits to your website or landing pages. Explore whether time of day also enhancers these Insights.
So now you have a clear understanding of your WHO, WHAT, WHY, WHERE, HOW and WHEN, your done right? Unfortunately not, you now need to put a plan in place. Time to grab your favourite thinking beverage and read on…
Here’s how to go into 2018 with the best possible plan:
What do you hope to achieve?
Before we go any further, it’s important to summarize your entire social media marketing plan. How does social media fit into what your business is doing on a daily basis? What platforms will your business be engaging on? Who makes up your core social media team? Don’t worry about going in depth too much; you’ll do that in subsequent sections of your social media marketing plan.
How do you anticipate measuring your efforts?
It’s important to outline your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and objectives/goals. A KPI is a value that can be measured, and that demonstrates how effectively you are achieving your objectives. Depending on what you’re hoping to achieve, you may select different KPIs.
For example: YouTube Channel Subscribers isn’t a bad KPI if your strategy is very heavily dependent on video. If you plan on spending only about 10% of your time creating video, however, then YouTube Channel Subscribers isn’t such a meaningful KPI.
Some of the most popular KPIs:
- Instagram Followers
- Facebook Likes
- Facebook Engagement Metrics
- Social Shares (across platforms)
- Links clicked to visit website or campaign landing pages
Once again, and I can’t stress this enough: it’s important to pick the KPIs that will be the most meaningful to you and your business, as opposed to anyone else’s.
Making sure your goals are SMART
One of the most useful acronyms ever is SMART, with respect to ensuring you’ve set SMART goals:
Specific: well-defined outcomes
Measurable: able to assess how well we did/are doing
Agreed-upon: all stakeholders are aligned on the goals
Realistic: possible to achieve given resources and time constraints
Time-based: just the right amount of time to achieve the goal
A social media marketing plan should always have SMART goals. Run your goals through this process, and it’s relatively easy to see if you are doing a good job at setting yourself up for success at the outset. It’s all too often that I’ve seen a client create a goal that’s MART or SART or another acronym, but remember, we’re aiming for 5 out of 5.
What activities will you undertake to reach your goals?
Now that we’ve outluned our goals clearly, it’s important to develop a breakdown of activities for each social platform you plan to engage on. Your breakdown should includes the following:
Platform focus: While your social media marketing plan will have an overall focus, each platform should have a particular reason that you’re focusing on it. What can you get from being on this platform that you can’t get from other platforms?
Percent of time allocated: This is relatively straightforward, but out of a total of 100, what percent of you and your team’s time will be allocated to this platform? It’s crucial to figure this out at the beginning to figure out how important this platform is to your overall strategy.
Percent of budget allocated: Their are all sorts of costs that go into putting together a winning social media marketing plan. Besides your full time staff, the top two costs will be for freelancers and for advertising. Once again, this is an opportunity to review if you’re approaching your plan the right way. If you say Instagram is your most important platform but you’re spending just 10% of your overall budget to building your following and engagement, your budget and goals are misaligned.
Synopsis of the strategy for this platform: What do you hope to achieve on this platform? What will your top activities be on this platform? How often will you be engaging in all of these activities? What is the timing, or cadence, for all of the activities on the platform?
For example, on Pinterest, your strategy may be to pin/repin content five times daily, and engage with others’ content fifteen times daily on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. On Snapchat, you may have the goal of snapping three still photographs and two videos daily, with the secondary goal of responding back to 100% of all responses from fans within 60 minutes, from 9am to 6pm daily. The key thing here is to be as thorough as possible so everyone is aligned with respect to the social media marketing plan.
One last thing. On a platform by platform basis, I recommend breaking up all activities into two different areas:
Organic strategy: What are all of the activities you’ll be undertaking apart from advertising? This can include outlining what types of photos you’ll be taking for Instagram, how often you’ll be posting inspiring quotes on Facebook, and so on. Generally speaking, most of your strategy should be organic.
Paid strategy: An increasingly important part of your social media marketing plan is your organization’s advertising strategy. Simply put, social media isn’t free; those days are long gone. In this section, you should be outlining what types of ad products you will be buying. For example, Facebook has the most options, from Brand Awareness Carousel to Engagement Text Post to Lead Generation Ad Form. Snapchat has solutions broken into three categories: Raise Awareness, Increase Consideration, and Drive Action. The choices on a platform-by-platform basis aren’t endless, but they’re pretty close.
Keep iterating on the above format for each platform, and you’ll be on the path to 2018 social media marketing success!
If you need a hand filling it in or developing your social media marketing plan for 2018 then please don’t hesitate to drop us a line.
Many seem to believe that with the advent of digital marketing, visual reigns supreme.
Who needs actual words anymore, when you can convey so much with simple images? While yes, there is some truth to that statement, there is a lot more nuance within it.
Visuals are definitely important for any marketing or branding endeavor, but so are the words that accompany the images. Without the right copy, your images and other content simply will not have the impact they could, and campaigns fall flat.
The value of great copy is often overlooked, but words are what sells your products and it is important to have well-written copy accompany your efforts – whether it is marketing campaigns, point of sale brochures, email copy or web content. Without the right copy in place, there is no way to tie your branding together or create a real experience for your customer. That is why it is absolutely essential to invest in copy… as well as the person who will undertake writing it.
Professional copywriting is especially important for small businesses, because it will help shape overall marketing strategy and the areas that need improvement or attention. There are many benefits associated with working with a professional copywriter that must be considered during the process, but some of the top reasons to work with a professional copywriter include:
1) The right expertise
The most important benefit associated with working with a professional copywriter? The level of expertise, knowledge, and experience they bring with them. You can leverage their talent, and prior work to really create something that is uniquely tailored to your business.
Professional copywriters know the industry standards, what sells and how to align that with your overall business objectives. The expertise they are able to bring with them is generally hard to find elsewhere and can lead to some really great results for your business.
2) Outside the box thinking
The other benefit that is important to consider is the fresh perspective they can bring. One of the challenges with developing copy in-house is that it is often not very fresh, or innovative. Sometimes, you have to bring in someone who is not as close to the business so that they are able to really tap into their creative side and go out of the box.
A professional copywriter will be able to really bring to light what is unique about your business because they will not have the same attachment as you will, and that is extremely important. Having an unbiased third-party write your copy will give you actionable insights on your business is perceived from the outside in.
3) Free up resources
Resource allocation and management are crucial in a small business, mainly because there are not as many resources, to begin with. Ensuring efficiency is crucial, as is ensuring that employees are able to focus on the projects they need to. Outsourcing copywriting can help achieve this, and give you the opportunity to focus on other efforts.
Similarly, if you even have a dedicated marketing department they are often swallowed up in trying to keep up with your business and its marketing efforts, you should seriously consider using a professional copywriter. This will help marketing departments refocus their workload on pressing matters, while also providing you with the right resources your business needs to show off its value in an efficient manner.
Ultimately, investing in the right copy is crucial to your business and its overall success – as is investing in the right talent to write it. These words are what will sell your business, and take your branding strategy to the next level, so it is incredibly important to ensure that your copy reflects the best your business has to offer.
An increasing number of businesses are embracing digital marketing.
They’re doing so primarily because consumers prefer the convenience of digital channels to learn about companies and the products and services they offer.
Consider the following metrics from Business2Community:
- 72% of consumers are currently connecting with businesses through digital marketing channels
- Digital marketing increases conversions by 24% on average
- 40% of businesses using digital marketing report “considerable savings.”
- The use of digital marketing strategies increases revenue growth by 2.8 times and improves ROI by as much as 300%
What Is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing means different things to different businesses, but most companies which embrace digital employ a similar set of strategies.
Hubspot provides a useful definition of digital marketing:
“Digital marketing is an umbrella term for all of your online marketing efforts. Businesses leverage digital channels such as Google search, social media, email, and their websites to connect with their current and prospective customers.”
How can digital marketing help your business?
Some businesses are reluctant to leverage digital marketing strategies, often because those strategies are unfamiliar to them, and sometimes because they assume that doing so requires an expertise they don’t possess. The good news is that there are experienced digital marketing agencies which can help.
Working with a trusted digital partner like qubeSocial, your business can reap the several rewards of a robust digital strategy, including the following:
- You can more effectively compete with larger businesses: on Main Street, it’s hard to compete with stores that have more money for signage and fixtures. Online, however, even very small businesses can compete with industry giants if they have sound digital strategies to be found (through SEO and PPC) and engaged with.
- You can save money: when effectively leveraged, digital strategies can produce results for substantially less money. For example, leads generated through digital cost on average 61% less than those from traditional marketing channels, like direct mail and print ads.
- You can more easily measure results: measuring the effectiveness of traditional marketing strategies like telemarketing and newspaper ads can be challenging. When you market online, you can use analytics packages (like Google Analytics) to easily measure all your essential marketing metrics, like those related to website traffic, engagement on your site, conversions and sales.
- You can more easily refine your strategy to improve results: because digital provides performance metrics in real time, it’s easier to make the necessary marketing tweaks to enhance results. For example, you can split test PPC ads or web page content to discover what approach works best. In this way, you can implement a program of continual improvement to increase profitability and sales.
- You can generate high-quality leads: using digital marketing, you can post valuable content to bring prospective customers to your website and offer that content in exchange for their contact information. This means not only that you’ll generate more leads, but also that they’ll be leads who already know something about your business, and are already predisposed to trust you for the help your content provided them.
- You can build trust in your business: consumers over the past couple decades have become increasingly skeptical of traditional marketing. It’s the reason millions have registered on “do-not-call” lists to avoid annoying telemarketers, and millions more fast forward through intrusive TV spots. Digital marketing provides a vehicle to market your business non-intrusively with helpful information that solves people’s problems. This increases trust in your business and makes consumers more likely to choose you when they’re ready to make a purchase.
So, if you’re finding it difficult to achieve your key marketing objectives through your current strategies, you owe it to yourself to consider investing in digital marketing.
If you’re new to digital marketing and need some guidance, contact us, and we will take the time to understand your business and what you’re trying to do to move it forward. Working together, we can implement customised strategies which will drive sales, build your brand, establish trust and grow your business.
Contact us at qubeSocial to learn more about local marketing and other digital strategies we can help implement for your business.
No doubt you’ve heard a lot about local marketing lately, especially local SEO and how you can better target customers.
Maybe you’ve tried these already with some success, but you can still do more. Local social marketing is the next step.
In fact, you can enhance your business by just doing local social marketing alone. All marketing analysts say it’s one of the best techniques in terms of cost and convenience.
When budget is a major concern, marketing on social media is low cost. This differs from having to buy PPC ads as part of your local SEO efforts.
The key to successful local social marketing is in the platform you use. Which ones work the best for your type of business?
Reaching people locally
Building a local brand is essential rather than competing on a national scale, after all, if you’re a beauty salon in Kew you’d be wasting your efforts reaching audiences in Perth. While SEO can help you rise to the top of SERPs on a national (and international) level, going local helps bring more loyal customers.
Chances are, you have competitors within just a few kilometers from you. Local customers are going to go online to search for businesses or services they can find in their local area. Most of those people are going to start researching who you are and what you do.
Some common things customers do when they start researching:
- Looking at online reviews, both positive and negative
- Price comparisons based on your competitors
- Visiting your social media account to learn more information about your products
For the latter, you have an opportunity to capture a valuable demographic and address their pain points.
The great thing about social media is that it gives you one place where you can post your content to address pain points of those you want to attract.
To improve lead quality, all social media marketing experts note addressing customer pains is a significant element to success.
However, one pain point you might overlook is business location. Sometimes this is more important to a prospect than price or any perceived product risks. This gives you a stronger incentive to address local aspects to your marketing, including localised issues people care about.
Finding the right social media channel is going to help find the right demographics for this marketing element.
Which Social Media Channels Work for Your Business Style?
With everything from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn to SnapChat, the opportunities for local social marketing are enormous.
Don’t think this means you should necessarily use every social channel you can find as quite often one or two will provide the most significant impact. In cases where you use multiple channels, it’s essential to alter the content for each platform and adjust to optimise layouts for each.
All marketing experts note that Facebook is one of the best social platforms for reaching out locally. Facebook already provides many tools for small local businesses to advertise in particular geographic regions, but it is easy to waste money if you don’t know how to monitor and optimise your campaigns and end up seeing no returns for your time and money.
Some other top social media choices:
- Online reviews are always taken seriously, so monitoring them forms an integral part of your online strategy
- Google+ is still active and provides excellent Google tools for small businesses to market locally
- Twitter is continually relevant thanks to the potential of content going viral and use of localized hashtags
- LinkedIn is ideal if you want to talk about your business’s local history as well as your core objectives and skills
- Instagram would work great if you have visual products and showcase local events
- Snapchat to reach millennials
What is SnapChat?
To reach most younger audiences, you’ll want to consider SnapChat seriously. SnapChat have 10 billion daily video views, opening a lot of doors to capture people on a local level. SnapChat makes local marketing easier thanks to their geofilters and ability to stream live video. The site brings stronger urgency through their marketing tools, including many Snaps expiring after a short time. During times when you’re holding a time-sensitive event, SnapChat can bring locals to you within minutes through a geofilter showing them how to find you.
Contact us at qubeSocial to learn more about local marketing and other digital strategies we can help implement for your business.
It seems as though digital strategy has quickly become an everyday buzzword.
Every business, small or large, is now reassessing their marketing and overall business strategy to understand how best to leverage the new digital marketing tools out there to gain any advantages they can.
But for many, the term ‘digital strategy’ seems daunting and difficult to articulate when integrating into to your overall strategy. Considering how rapidly these tools have developed, it is normal to ignore digital marketing tools right away – it takes time to understand what forms work with your business, and what your goals are, and ultimately whether you have the time, budgets or understanding to utilise them.
However, that does not mean your business should not have it at all. It is crucial to undertake steps to integrate a digital strategy over time though, rather than putting it off. A digital strategy is essential for many reasons, here are just a few:
1) Visibility like never before
Digital marketing opportunities allow you to target audiences like never before, and having a digital strategy in place means that you can gain critical data and use it for actionable insights that will significantly enhance your current marketing efforts. Whether it is your website, mobile, email, social media or a combination of all, use it, and use it well.
This will help you gain incredibly essential data that can help you determine:
- who your audience is
- what they like
- what their pain points are
You can use this data to create targeted marketing campaigns, re-energise current efforts and create a strategy that will get you the exposure and engagement you need to take your business to the next level.
2) Understand the competition
The hard truth is, any marketplace is overcrowded, and there is significant competition on all sides. The best way to beat it? Use digital tools to understand what your competition is doing – and then do it better. Whether it is marketing through different platforms, content creation or just really engaging with your target audiences online, observe it and innovate accordingly.
Many businesses use digital marketing tools as a supplement to their existing efforts, not as the primary tool. However, that is a mistake as a successful digital strategy must take into account current activity along with what your competition is doing to have maximum impact.
3) You will fall behind
The last point directly ties into this. If you are unsure of what the competition is doing, and how others are using digital tools for their businesses – you will ultimately fall behind and lose market share. Large companies are investing heavily in their digital infrastructure and strategy because that is the future, and it is the best way to move forward, but small or medium businesses often don’t know about affordable (or even free) digital marketing tools are available that can seriously improve their marketing.
Having digital tools at your disposal enables your business to:
- make faster business decisions
- gain valuable insight into the market and customers
- create marketing that genuinely gives you bang for your buck
- continue to innovate
That last bullet is essential: The most reliable way to move a business forward is to continually evolve, and that is very difficult without having a digital strategy in place. Initially, creating and executing a digital strategy may seem daunting, especially if you don’t have experience, which is precisely what we assist with qubeSocial. At qubeSocial, we will help you understand the marketplace and positioning and establish a robust and rewarding digital strategy.
For some, it is the monetary cost associated that becomes the main deterrent against adopting a digital strategy. In that case, it is better to start with small steps in constructing a manageable approach that looks into what platforms are best for your niche and focuses efforts on those. In every instance, we see a positive return on investment, and you’ll soon be wondering why you weren’t doing this before.
Contact us at qubeSocial to learn more about implementing your digital strategy and other social marketing opportunities.
We can build your website, improve SEO and Google rankings, create content schedules, run PPC and retargeting and numerous other tasks – but we will start with what is going to work for your business and budgets.