We’ve created a 5 step guide to help you with your social media marketing projects and to help ensure you get the most of the time you devote to promoting your business.

Social media marketing is a relatively new way to promote yourself, your products and your services to users who choose to follow your organisation. More and more people are using social media to network with others and gain new business. If you’re not using social media sites for your business you could be losing out to competitors.

Here are 5 steps to help ensure your marketing plan is a success.

Step 1: Plan your social media campaign

This is the most important step. You must plan your marketing strategy. Think about who you would like to promote your business, products and services to and determine which social network would be the one best suited for the job. Are targeting the public or corporate customers? Which products/services or aspects of your business should you promote? Are you planning on simply building brand awareness? It’s vital you realise who you want to promote your business to before commencing further with your project.

2. What resources are available to you?

One of the most important aspects of social media is communication with your customers. You need to think about who will be responsible for responding to customers via the social networking service you’re using. Social media is a general term for a lot of different activities that require different skills. Do you have someone in your organisation that has both the skillset and the time to devote to this project or will you yourself be responsible? Failure to regularly publish updates and engage customers will mean your marketing project will fail.

3. Create interesting and useful content

Just because you’ve decided to use social media sites doesn’t mean people will want to engage you. You need to make sure that the content you publish on the site, whether it be on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube is both interesting and useful. If you give users useful information that proves to be helpful or beneficial to them in some way they are more likely to tell other people they know about your business. It’s in this way that your social network will grow and more people will get to hear about what your business has to offer.

4 It’s about giving not receiving

Social media is largely about offering contributions and engaging others in a helpful way – if all you’re doing is promoting yourself you’ll quickly realise that your efforts are in vain. You should split your time into 60% communicating with others and around 40% promoting your business, but try to avoid making your business-related posts sound too ‘salesy’. Don’t always be looking to sell something in your messages. Instead, you could mention things like staff promotions or awards you’ve received etc. Remember – endless self-promotional will get you nowhere fast.

5. Learn from your customers

As with pretty much everything there will always be more you can learn. Listen to what your customers are saying and if they’re saying negative things about you, don’t try to silence them. Instead, engage them and ask them how you can resolve their problems. This will be great for your PR image (we’re sure Mary Portas would agree too) – customer service, not customer silence. You should be prepared to constantly devote time to learning new ways to engage with people so that you can refine your strategies and grow your network.

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