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Successful social media programs require a written action plan

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

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With all the social media sites and more sprouting up each day, having a written action plan aligned to your overall written marketing and strategic business plans is essential to your mid-size or small business success. For without a plan you, as my colleague termed many years ago, are in the role of Captain Wing It.

The bad news is social media can drain your time faster than a speeding bullet and even worse you may not even hit your designated target or your ideal potential customers.

For example, LinkedIn is a social media site truly for business to business (B2B) while Facebook is friendlier toward business to commercial or retail (B2C). A recent report released by Domo and CEO.com suggested 68% of the Fortune CEO’s are not on any social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook. The only social media site that saw an increase was LinkedIn with 140 of the top 500 CEOs now participating. This increase was partially attributed to LinkedIn’s “influencer program.”

The good news is to effectively engage in social media marketing begins with identifying your ideal potential customers within your target industry or industries. This profile would include both demographics such as position, sales in revenue, industry, size of company, location, etc. and psychographics the why or whys behind the buying decision.

For example, Centier Bank here in Northwest Indiana did not participate in the federal bank bailout program nor did any local Ford dealerships participate in the auto industry bailout. These organizations promoted those decisions with marketing campaigns directed to existing and potential customers who psychologically agreed with their non-participation. “Made in America” is another identifiable psychographic.

After completion of the ideal customer profile, then research is undertaken to determine what social media platforms those potential and existing customers are using. You Tube is a popular social media platform and does deliver customers. Dave Woodson one of the early local adopters of using video within social media here in Northwest Indiana recognized the power of over four (4) billion hours of view each month and how this social media site improves the chances on being number one on Google.

The next step is to set some WAY SMART goals specific to new sales leads, increase sales, website traffic, SEO rankings, etc. From these written goals, then a process to “flush out” the goal starts where you emotionalize the importance of achieving and not achieving the goals.

Your next step is to identify all potential obstacles. Within this step you will discover additional action items. For example, lack of effective marketing or content copy might be an obstacle. The solution may be to purchase a book or take a course on how to write effective marketing copy.

After selecting the best solution for each obstacle, the next accomplishment is to write sequential action steps. The more detailed each action step, the greater likelihood of overcoming the obstacle.

When all solutions are completed through the executed action steps, then all obstacles are removed and thus the WAY SMART has been successfully executed. However failure to engage in planning your social media marketing efforts is worse than actually having a written plan.

One final thought about social media, marketing and planning. The results do not happen overnight unless you purchase some well positioned Google, Super Pages, LinkedIn or Facebook advertisements.

By taking a slow and steady wins the marketing and ultimately sales race will support you to set and achieve sustainable social media goals. And isn’t that the essence of marketing, sustainability within your target audience?

P.S. Shout: Summertime is a time for ice cream be it Valpo Velvet in Valparaiso or What’s the Scoop in Crown Point.



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