Earlier this week, I wrote a post about the need to build a social media strategy around specific goals instead of simply launching a presence because "everyone else is doing it." Today, I'm going to map out the three primary goals most social media outreach campaigns fall into. If you're still trying to figure out how and why to get involved in social media outreach, consider these three categories and ask yourself how they might apply to your business.
Three Primary Social Media Goals
When we look at online marketing, there are three broad categories into which nearly all social media related goals can fall. They are usually either aimed at:
Starting at this broad level and thinking about the goals you have for your business can help you begin to write up a list of realistic ways in which social media might help you reach those goals.
Let's take a closer look at these three areas and how they might apply to your social media efforts.
Goal #1: Build the Brand
When it comes to building and reinforcing your brand, social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools available. It gives you the strongest and broadest opportunity to both find your target audience and to engage in conversation with them.
These days, you have no choice but to differentiate yourself from your competitors unless you have an exclusive product. Otherwise, you're forced into the unwinnable battle of competing for the lowest prices and the fastest shipping.
Think about the things that make your company different from your competitors; your Unique Value Propostion. This is the thing you want to use social media to built awareness of.
If you're a service professional, target a specific niche and build a blogging and Twitter strategy around that. Demonstrate your expertise in working with a certain type of client and then seek out those types of clients to have conversation with. Look for new ways to connect with them and encourage your current clients to socially share your articles with their networks.
Goal #2: Drive Conversions
One of smartest reasons to use social media is for the potential boost it can have to your conversion efforts. Whether you're looking to drive sales, increase leads or simply drive people to action, conversions are an easily trackable goal in the realm of social media.
Sit down and write out a list of all the potential actions someone might take while engaging with your company's web site or while interacting online.
Obvious options like buying your products or becoming a lead spring to mind, but don't forget about other valuable actions like subscribing to your newsletter, retweeting a blog post or downloading a white paper.
Read over your list and think about the different ways you might be able to use social media to increase conversions for each item. Often times, this is the best way to start planning your social media efforts.
Goal #3: Increase Presence
Finally, we come to the goal most often associated with social media outreach efforts; increasing the conversation about your brand. After all, social media is all about the conversation. It's about the
only space in the world where consumers talk to each other and to companies in an environment that can be tracked, sorted and followed-up with. This makes social media a prime outlet for PR driven companies who want to know what customers are saying about them.
Setting up even a baseline of social media monitoring can go a long way toward helping you follow these conversations. Whether you're launching new product and aiming to get people buzzing about it or trying to reach out to a new target audience to share information about one of your best selling services, it's all trackable.
When it comes to the conversation people might be having about you online, ask yourself a few questions.
These are your starting points for setting up key goals within the realm of increasing your presence.
You've Set the Stage, Now Start Building a Plan
Looking at your business with each of the above goals in mind helps you set the stage for your social media efforts. This post isn't aimed at telling you what to do, I'm simply trying to get you to figure out why you want (and need) to do it.
If you're small business looking to take your social media efforts up a notch (or maybe even just get started,) take the time to define at least two goals from the categories above. Once you've identified your desired outcome, you'll be a lot more ready to start mapping out the path to get there.
Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.
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