“Social media marketing is business use of selected social media channels to understand customers and to engage them in communication and collaboration in ways that lead to the achievement of ultimate marketing and business goals.” -Roberts Zahay
Using Facebook, Twitter, etc.. for personal use has been easy and fun but for businesses, there is an entirely new world of marketing. Social media marketing is way more complex than I thought. The few assumptions I had were as follows:
- It’s free!
- Postings can be product oriented.
- There’s no need for businesses to be on twitter.
- Every post would be read by a follower.
Boy was I wrong. For starters, maintain a social media community is not free. The time it takes to collect information, create content, and interact with followers is time consuming. And as many of the greats like Professor Atkins, “Time is more valuable than money.” Also, posting product oriented content is not as effective in most cases. This is why personas are created. Companies could generate content based off of the personas likes, interests, background, etc. As for Twitter, I initially thought why I would follow a company who will probably post advertisements. However, now I follow companies like Nike and Microsoft who engage with their followers. Their tweets are not pushing products but instead post sports news are pop culture related news. And lastly, not every post is read by the followers. During a social media campaign, I found that the reach did not add up to the actual amount of followers on Facebook and the likes and comments where much less.
To make sure a marketing plan is resourceful it is always good to set objectives. In Internet Marketing: Integrating Online & Offline Strategies by Roberts Zahay, explains the proper steps to developing a SMM strategy as follows:
From experience listening is the most important step. Like Professor Atkins says “The customer is the marketing manager.” A listening tool during my internship with the OC Music Awards, was the Hoot Suite twitter search. It was a way to see what people were saying about our showcase series and award show. When communicating, it is good to have a message for a specific audience that will feel prompted to engage. For a school marketing campaign a few group members and I put together a persona chart to target a very specific target market named Sienna.
Here we explain the personality traits, hobbies, background of a group to target. This chart grew larger overtime as we found more interests and likes of our target customers enjoyed reading.
In addition to the chart we created a content calendar that organize how we communicated with the audience based on our persona’s interests.
The last two steps engaging and collaborating are also important when attracting audience attention. However after all these steps are complete the ROI is hard to calculate. Despite the amount of resources and time used to do SMM, I believe all businesses could benefit from the exposure.