How to Get the M.O.S.T. From Your Social Media Marketing

social media how toMany small businesses and solo entrepreneurs dive into social media marketing strategies without visualizing a bigger plan. What ensues is usually far from what they had hoped. Instead of attracting more leads and sales, they end up wasting time, money and passion.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

This problem can be easily remedied by taking time to learn from those who are already experiencing success with social media marketing and by implementing a clear, specific, actionable and measurable web marketing plan.

In this article, I’ll give you a step-by-step overview of the actions that will M.O.S.T. help you succeed in marketing your business online.

M: Market Intelligence

Before you implement any social media marketing strategy, you need to create a marketing plan. A plan always starts with research. It’s amazing how many businesses fail to do this step properly before they start marketing. I’ve been guilty of it in the past, so I can sympathize!

Think of it this way: Would you rather hop in a plane with clear instructions on how to get to your destination, or play it by ear?

Before anything else, gather market intelligence:

  • Who are your target audience and competitors?
  • How are they using social networks?
  • Where can they be found?
  • How are they interacting or communicating with others?
  • What are the best ways to catch your audience’s attention and engage them?

Some tips and resources you can use for market research:

  • Keyword research: You would do well to find out the keywords your target audience is using to find solutions to their problems. A brilliant tool for this is Market Samurai.
  • Surveys: Perform surveys to find out what your target market is really thinking.
  • Forums: Hang out in niche/interest-specific forums and interact as much as you can to build relationships and find out what people are talking about.
  • Quantcast.com: See public information on popular websites in your niche to get a snapshot of what you can expect for your own.
  • Google trends: Find out what’s hot in the search engines now.
  • Google competitors: Check out the top 15 ranking websites in Google for the keywords relating to your niche and look at what they’re doing online.
  • Twitter search: Keep your finger on the pulse of the marketplace by instantly revealing real-time tweets for certain keywords and phrases.

O: Objectives

After you’ve gathered valuable and actionable information about your target market and about your competitors, you can then set your objectives.

Sample objectives:

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They (objectives) are the means to mobilize the resources and energies of the business for the making of the future. ~ Peter F. Drucker

  • Increase website traffic by X% within the next 6 months.
  • Increase sales revenue by X% by December 2011.
  • Improve search engine rankings and get on page 3 of Google (or better) for specific target keywords (list the keywords).
  • Increase lead generation by X% per month by November 2011.
  • Reduce customer acquisition costs by X% before December 2012.

Remember: you can’t achieve what you can’t measure, so it’s essential to establish measurable and targeted objectives!

S: Strategy

Create a social marketing strategy with a tactical plan of action.

A clever and enduring strategy would be to “build a strong presence within our niche and engage with our target audience,” NOT “build our brand and get active on Twitter.”

Twitter could be gone tomorrow – replaced by a competitor… or your target audience may stop using it. What will you do then if your strategies bank on that particular service?

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A sound strategy will align you with your objectives.

If your objective is to increase traffic, then you might choose a strategy like, “publish a search engine–optimized, engaging and entertaining blog that our target audience loves to read and share with their social networks.”

If your objective is to step up revenue, you might want to adopt a strategy like, “Increase sales conversion while lowering cost per lead.”

T: Tactics

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Effective tactics will save you time and money and amplify your success.

Tactics are specific actions, steps or decisions that you can use to execute your chosen strategy.

For example, if your objective is to “increase net profits” and your chosen strategy is to lower overhead by lowering your cost per lead, then your tactics might be:

  • Build a presence online.
  • Build a branded, customized blog.
  • Start building a list by using our blog’s content as bait.
  • Create a high-converting opt-in section in our blog. Make it convert well by creating an irresistible freebie to give away.

Social Media Platforms

After you have formulated your M.O.S.T. plan, it’s time to identify, assess and select the appropriate social platforms to use.

The most popular social media platforms for business are LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. The best ones to leverage are those where your target audience is already active and engaged. So go to where they are, interact with them, build a relationship and then drive them to an appropriate website of yours (for best results, send them somewhere that continues the conversation, like a business blog).

Your choice and prioritization of platforms should depend on how well they fit into your strategy and how regularly your target audience uses them, NOT which brands are currently generating the most hype on them.

For example, a common trend identified by Marketing Sherpa is that there aren’t many businesses that blog because they perceive it as difficult to initiate and maintain when compared to the investment in Twitter, Facebook, social bookmarking, etc. As a result, these businesses make the mistake of focusing on using specific media just because they are perceived as easier to set up and use, not necessarily because they generate the best return.

Marketing Sherpa’s Social Media Marketing Report 2010 revealed that tactics related to blogging and microblogging earned the highest ratings among social marketers in terms of the most effective tactics for achieving objectives.

Blogging for Business

Once you’ve established your presence on the appropriate social media platforms, the best way to profit from those relationships you’ve built is to drive them to your blog (NOT your company website) and engage with them even more.

In your blog, aim to:

  • Post valuable, useful content that demonstrates your expertise, and encourage your audience to spread your message.
  • Encourage interaction with your market. Instigate conversations. The more participation and involvement you can generate from your audience, the better.
  • Pre-sell, NOT sell. Many business blogs make the mistake of posting exclusively about their sales, promotions or discounts.
  • Exude your brand.
  • Give a taste of what it’s like to work with you or buy from you (fun/enthusiastic/easy, etc.).

The above are key reasons why it’s best to direct Internet users to your blog, not your website.

As long as your target market can be found online and as long as you’ve identified specific platforms that your prospects actively use, you’ll need a business blog to effectively market online.

But wait a second.

We’re not talking about just any business blog, we’re talking about a blog that’s designed, configured and optimized to:

  • Attract traffic.
  • Convert visitors into leads on autopilot by getting them into your sales funnel.
  • Establish you as a trustworthy thought leader in your niche.
  • Convert leads into loyal, raving fans.
  • Help spread your message and generate buzz by digital word-of-mouth marketing.

Create Your Sales Funnel

Your sales funnel is the process you’ll use to take a prospect from unfamiliarity (“I don’t know you”) to loyalty (“I love you!”) or even fanaticism.

One of the most proven and best ways in our experience to get prospects to become leads can be summarized in this process:

  • Opt in -> Relationship building -> Make an offer

Opt-in: When a prospect arrives at your blog, offer them something of massive value in their eyes (maybe an ebook, report, video series, etc.) in exchange for their name and email address.

Relationship building: Using an auto-responder, send them an email every week or twice a week. Your email should also contain something that gives massive value. It could contain tips, links to tools, strategies, reports, updates, etc. Make sure to give value and build your relationship with your audience before you try to sell them anything.

Make an offer: We recommend a ratio of 80% free, valuable content and 20% selling. This means that 80% of your emails give value (no selling) and only 20% of them are invitations to take their experience of you to a higher level and buy from you.

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Insanity is commonly defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

It’s really this simple.

Measure: Finally, you need to track your progress while marketing with social media so that you can see where you’re getting the most success and the best bang for buck.

Some metrics you could measure are:

  • Quantity and quality of commentary about your brand/business
  • Amount of traffic and sources of traffic to your blog
  • Network size in terms of followers, fans, etc.
  • Leads generated (number of subscribers), different landing pages for different campaigns
  • Engagement with influential people
  • SEO rankings, number of keywords for which you rank well
  • Quantity and quality of incoming links
  • Cost per lead
  • Conversion rate

Identify what’s not working and then either tweak your approach to make it work, or discard it. Identify what IS working and then scale up that approach to produce a wider smile.

Conclusion

“Blogs are the foundation of all high-profit marketing online today. I see it with my multimillion-dollar product launch clients who funnel all their traffic through a blog. I even see it with my small-hobby-blogger clients who turn their passion into a mid-tier six-figure income. Your business blog can cash in on the elegant promise of that simple lemonade stand we all cherished as kids!” ~Jaime Mintun – marketing maven and copywriter

If you don’t have a blog—start one now. Marketing Sherpa has already identified that if you don’t have a blog, you’re going to find it more difficult to achieve your business objectives through marketing online.

To get the most out of business blogging, check out How to Engage With Social Media and 5 Ways to Make Your Blog Posts Outstanding.

If you’re already using a blog, are you doing well to leverage social media in your favor? Are there any tips or tricks you have to share with our readers? Let us know and leave a comment in the box below.

All images from Shutterstock

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About the Author, Clement Yeung

Clément Yeung is the Co-Director of Easisell, a digital marketing & design company that helps small businesses achieve success online. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.colemanmg.com Antonio Coleman

    I put into action an good portion of these tips, even though some are time consuming..they work and a must have.

    “TrafficColeman “Signing Off”

  • http://www.mazakaro.com Rahul@MazaKaro

    Very informative post , i really was enjoying reading different part of what you said and i so agree with many points you mentioned , wasting time in looking for strategies and not having plans is a very common and dangerous problem here ! i think following what you said is essential , i do find having goals and being smart with what you do is absolutely required !!

  • http://jeffkorhan.com Jeff Korhan

    Clement – Very thorough post that covers a great deal of information that may be common to some of us, but for whatever reason is not sinking in for others – such as driving traffic to your blog to engage first, before doing business. I was not aware of the Marketing Sherpa data. I’ll check that out.

    They are right on about one thing – if you don’t have a business blog you aren’t serious about marketing.

    BTW, thanks for linking to my 5 Ways to Make Your Blog Posts Outstanding! Love those unexpected surprises. :)

    Jeff

  • Jonathan Kidder

    The initial appeal of social media for many companies is that it is free. Well it is… sort of. Yes, most social media platforms do not charge a fee to join; however, it will still cost you time and energy to effectively use these tools. Between the time it takes to create valuable content and create meaningful relationships/interactions, it will most likely begin to feel less “free.” However, if budgeted accordingly, the return on those investments will help you achieve your goals.

  • http://www.voiceofthepoorgroupinc.com/ Durant Pauline

    THANK YOU THIS MESSAGE WAS VERY HELPFUL….PEACE TO YOU

  • http://www.michelerichardson.com/ Michele Richardson

    This is a great point Jonathan. Maintaining a social media presence requires consistent execution. It’s easy to leap in, but social media can become all-consuming. And unless all that activity is producing the results you want to see, then the effort exerted is definitely not worthwhile. The tricky part is finding that sweet spot where the effort you put in creates value for your customers and your business. That’s why I love Clement’s advice here: be strategic, have a plan and measure results.

  • Clement Yeung

    Thanks – they do indeed! Interesting name… :)

  • Clement Yeung

    I think that one of the issues that plagues small business owners is information overload – don’t you think? It’s this kind of constant barrage of “what to do” and “what not to do” and then worrying about whether you’re taking the correct approach that can lead to an inability to stick to a plan.

    Thanks for the comment Rahul :)

  • Clement Yeung

    Hi Jeff – check the reply I made above for a possible reason as to why this isn’t sinking in… at least in the right ways. Maybe today I start with one approach, then tomorrow I start a completely different one because I read that it was better ;)

    Re. the blog post – that’s my absolute pleasure. Great post!

  • Clement Yeung

    This is one of the biggest hurdles is it not? Taking action on a route that everyone says works out, and then not seeing immediate results. A lot of businesses don’t learn how to market properly online with social vehicles before they quit because they don’t give themselves the time they need to learn. Patience really is a virtue when it comes to new media marketing.

  • Clement Yeung

    And yourself Durant – thanks for dropping by :)

  • Clement Yeung

    Great point – measurement is key to making sure that you’re getting ROI. As @chrisbrogan states, turbulence does not equal forward movement. You might think you’re making waves – but are they getting you closer to your goals?

  • http://jeffkorhan.com Jeff Korhan

    Clement – Thx for responding. Agree. A plan implemented is much better than none at all. That has been my experience (and frustration) with clients – they give up!

    Have a great weekend,

    Jeff

  • http://www.blog.chrisehyoung.com/ Chris Eh Young

    I like this post mostly that it makes for a great starting point. It outlines the necessary steps it takes to establish a social media presence and be successful.

  • http://brandyousocial.com Karl Sly

    Clement awesome job on this post bud. I love when you talked about strategy. I’ve gone in head first on a few campaigns and they never turned out successful. Without research and focus you’ll still get results, but they’ll seldom be the ones you expected.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • http://AffordableWords.com Cindy Brock – Affordable Words

    Still the #1 issue I see for “newbies” is not identifying their target audience. When they don’t do this, it sets them off on a wild goose chase and leaves them wondering why they aren’t seeing the results they want. I’ve found it hard to get my students to “buy into” the process of deciding WHO they are trying to reach with their product/service BEFORE doing anything else.

  • BillyIrish

    Good point on pre-selling not selling on your business blog. I’ve come across some that are pretty old school, in your face, hard selling, high pressure type blogging efforts…total turn off. I’m gone and on to the next. Great post.

  • Jo-zanne Owen

    This is an excellent overview and I also agree with Cindy’s comment above. Many companies just select a platform they believe is the most popular, without researching and identifying which platforms their target audience is participating on and how they function in that space. I have created my own personal strategy framework and research is an important step in my process. Although it may be difficult to convince companies to use blogging as a platform the points you raise will certainly assist in conveying the effectiveness of blogging. Thanks also for mentioning the 2010 Marketing Sherpa report. Good to be kept up to date.

  • http://twitter.com/Spinwyz Alejandro Rodriguez

    A most valuable article on ROI from Social media, if you don’t know the metrics then how do you measure the progress. I would agree that you need to have distinct tangible goals to measure your outcomes against the efforts and costs needed to produce such results.

    Great insight…

  • Spiros Fatouros

    Clement, really excellent post. Spot on from my perspective. Whilst I’m quite a novice in the social media space, the main takeaway for me is your indirect reinforcement of the old adage, “fail to plan and you plan to fail”. I work for an organisation that is just about to embark on a social media strategy. I’ll certainly be recommending your manifesto as a great starting point.

  • Clement Yeung

    My pleasure Karl! Good luck on future campaigns and let me know how they go :)

  • Clement Yeung

    Absolutely Cindy. Defining your “Bob” is pivotal to success!

  • Clement Yeung

    Agreed – a good example of this is the seemingly “whimsical” approach to blog content. When you look like you’re having fun with a blog, the audience will most of the time run with it. Shorter, sharper, punchier with more emphasis on transparency than anything else can always help to build a stronger connection and greater reach.

  • Clement Yeung

    Thank you Jo-zanne, yes, this is the most important step when embarking on a marketing effort without a doubt.

  • Clement Yeung

    Thanks for dropping by Alejandro.

  • Clement Yeung

    Excellent Spiros! I’m looking forward to it – feel free to contact me if you need any assistance. Thank you for dropping by.

  • http://www.brosix.com/ Brosix

    What a well-written article.

  • http://twitter.com/dutchovenbrand Dutch Oven Branding

    Thanks for post Clement, very in-depth. Definitely going to have to refer back to this one!

  • http://twitter.com/dutchovenbrand Dutch Oven Branding

    Thanks for post Clement, very in-depth. Definitely going to have to refer back to this one!

  • http://www.moremoo.com Adam

    Hi Clement,

    So many people want to enjoy the social networks wave without proper research or knowing what is the purpose of the social networks. Therefore there is no wonder they are not successful, as you said, it is always very important to have a vision, create a plan and divide it into the separate steps how to reach it.

    Also we should not forget about the evaluation phase and identify the variables that we are going to measure. With the social networks it is much harder, you can not rely solely on ROI. But certainly there is couple of things that we can measure (for example what is the number of visitors coming from social networks or what is the number of retweets?)

    Great article, thanks for sharing.

    Adam

  • http://www.moremoo.com Adam

    Hi Clement,

    So many people want to enjoy the social networks wave without proper research or knowing what is the purpose of the social networks. Therefore there is no wonder they are not successful, as you said, it is always very important to have a vision, create a plan and divide it into the separate steps how to reach it.

    Also we should not forget about the evaluation phase and identify the variables that we are going to measure. With the social networks it is much harder, you can not rely solely on ROI. But certainly there is couple of things that we can measure (for example what is the number of visitors coming from social networks or what is the number of retweets?)

    Great article, thanks for sharing.

    Adam

  • Clement Yeung

    I’m honoured :)

  • Clement Yeung

    I’m honoured :)

  • Clement Yeung

    Thank you very much Brosix.

  • Clement Yeung

    Thank you very much Brosix.

  • Clement Yeung

    I couldn’t agree more Adam – thank you for dropping by, it’s great to see you here!

  • Clement Yeung

    I couldn’t agree more Adam – thank you for dropping by, it’s great to see you here!

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/cathleenedgerly Cathleenedgerly

    Thanks for another wonderful post. I am currently developing online marketing strategies for several projects and the information & links included are so helpful. It’s so hard to navigate the ever-changing and often overpopulated waters of digital/social media marketing. This article definitely can help people get started!

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/cathleenedgerly Cathleenedgerly

    Thanks for another wonderful post. I am currently developing online marketing strategies for several projects and the information & links included are so helpful. It’s so hard to navigate the ever-changing and often overpopulated waters of digital/social media marketing. This article definitely can help people get started!

  • Clement Yeung

    My pleasure Cathleen!!

  • Clement Yeung

    My pleasure Cathleen!!

  • Darrell Price

    Brilliant article Clement, as someone who is looking to start promoting my small business through these avenues it has at times appeared a bit overwhelming and alot of people have the same question “where do you start????” and this covers brilliantly how to get started without just jumping in like many do

  • Darrell Price

    Brilliant article Clement, as someone who is looking to start promoting my small business through these avenues it has at times appeared a bit overwhelming and alot of people have the same question “where do you start????” and this covers brilliantly how to get started without just jumping in like many do

  • René Power

    Great post Clement. Love the simplicity of the MOST approach. Getting clients (and sometimes agency management) bought into the benefits of social media – trading off the time commitment against ‘intangible’ improvements in brand awareness, reach and engagement – is a challenge for us all. Setting objectives gives you something to benchmark against – too many businesses dip their toe ineffectively or launch into it without a plan.

  • René Power

    Great post Clement. Love the simplicity of the MOST approach. Getting clients (and sometimes agency management) bought into the benefits of social media – trading off the time commitment against ‘intangible’ improvements in brand awareness, reach and engagement – is a challenge for us all. Setting objectives gives you something to benchmark against – too many businesses dip their toe ineffectively or launch into it without a plan.

  • http://www.socialmedialogue.com Socialmedialogue

    A very comprehensive and good summary. Thank your Clement!

    The problem is that many people just start with tactics instead of developing a strategy. And you can’t develop a stategy without listening. I think listening is one of the most important things in terms of social media marketing. Observe your audience, listen and engage with and you will build a loyal community and a valuable relationship with your customers.

  • http://www.socialmedialogue.com Socialmedialogue

    A very comprehensive and good summary. Thank your Clement!

    The problem is that many people just start with tactics instead of developing a strategy. And you can’t develop a stategy without listening. I think listening is one of the most important things in terms of social media marketing. Observe your audience, listen and engage with and you will build a loyal community and a valuable relationship with your customers.

  • http://www.game-changer.net Jorge Barba

    It’s incredible how most businesses just jump in without gathering insights beforehand. A strategy is built on insights and then only way to get them is to observe and listen as you mentioned.

  • http://www.game-changer.net Jorge Barba

    It’s incredible how most businesses just jump in without gathering insights beforehand. A strategy is built on insights and then only way to get them is to observe and listen as you mentioned.

  • Devani Freeman

    This information is so valuable! Thank you so much for laying it out in a simple to understand way!

  • Devani Freeman

    This information is so valuable! Thank you so much for laying it out in a simple to understand way!

  • http://www.BroughinIt.com Bryan Brough

    Being new to this whole maximization of exposure thing, I found this post to be incredibly helpful. I do indeed to step back from forward momentum to plan my goals. Or rather find time to set my goals while maintaining momentum.

  • http://www.BroughinIt.com Bryan Brough

    Being new to this whole maximization of exposure thing, I found this post to be incredibly helpful. I do indeed to step back from forward momentum to plan my goals. Or rather find time to set my goals while maintaining momentum.

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  • Amani

    Great article; succinct and thorough. Question: Does a company need a blog even if it has an existing platform where it can curate content and its users can share opinions, ideas and ask questions?







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