It’s a sad but true fact that companies with no social media presence will not last long in today’s digital world. Half-hearted efforts at interacting with social media (like posting sporadic blogs, or having a profile on a few platforms, but never using or updating them) are not enough – like any other aspect of your business, it needs a strategic marketing plan.

As with any strategy, you need to set specific objectives, like increasing revenue, promoting your brand, improving the customer experience, expanding your database, etc. Like with any campaign, you need to be able to measure the results, to show if it’s working out like you planned or not. A social marketing strategy must be integrated with the company’s marketing strategy – it will soon show improved efficiency and effectiveness in all aspects of the marketing plan as a whole.

Social media is not an expensive element of your company’s marketing, yet it can reap great rewards. It is extremely important to stay current on social media platforms, as the digital age is moving with such speed, something you set up 6 months ago may no longer be relevant. There are many tools and apps out there to help craft your strategy, meaning you have a lot to choose from and you’ll likely get a lot back from your investment.

Aside from the obvious reasons (and benefits) of marketing of any type, a social marketing strategy can have a lot of purpose. Here are a few reasons to have one:

  • It can focus your thinking – planning and deliberating over a social media strategy can help you to put the broader business objectives into perspective. It can help you identify areas where you are weak that social media can help to improve.
  • It will put you in touch with your customers – social media allows for a much more personal interaction with your clients, giving you insights into what’s trending, what people want and need and enabling you to place it within their reach. Using LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other appropriate platforms will enable your business to build up a following of people in your niche: existing and potential customers, investors, employees and competitors.
  • It will keep you competitive – you can bet your competition has a social marketing strategy, so you need one to be in there too, to claim your share of the online market. Social media has proven to be very effective and lucrative, so you need to know what your competitors are doing, as well as leading your own marketing campaign. There are a number of ‘spy’ tools which can monitor your competitors on your behalf, such as Compete, HubSpot, Moz, Affilorama or Woorank.
  • It improves your customer service – the big benefit of social media is its real time reporting. Things happen very quickly online, as you would know from watching viral videos on YouTube. Following and responding to feedback via social media will show your customers you care and that you are on the ball. A good positive image reaps many results, such as repeat customers and word-of-mouth recommendations. The down side is that considerable time needs to be invested into staying current with social media – don’t think of posting articles, responding to comments, or sharing other people’s posts as wasted time, it’s time spent building your brand.

Don’t miss out on what is fast becoming the best marketing tool out there. If your company does not have the knowledge, resources or time to manage a social media strategy, there are hundreds of businesses online and in the traditional market place that can set you on the path to success.