Too many people and businesses jump into using social media because they know they should be, but have no clear plan of what they hope to achieve. In this post, I take it back to basics, looking at the 3 Ms of marketing and how you can use them to create a strategic social media marketing plan and achieve your goals.
The 3 Ms
Market, Message, Medium, in that order! It's no good deciding to use Facebook (medium) when you have no idea whether your target market are using it. First define who they are, what you want to tell them, then choose the right way to get that message across.
Who are your ideal customers? What characteristics do they have? Why are they your ideal customers?
Depending on your industry, you might look at the size of company, turnover, their personal income, their family circumstances, their age, gender and location as well as what their challenges and problems are.
For example, if you're selling Rolex watches, your ideal customer would probably be a high earner. If you sell watches in a bricks and mortar shop, their location would be important too, they would need to be within a certain mile radius of your shop. They would also need to be fashion conscious and appreciate the finer things in life!
Think about your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) - what benefits does your product or service offer? What should your clients expect to gain or experience from working with you over your competition?
Going back to the Rolex example, using marketing messages that include words like "cheap" and "affordable" is probably not going to appeal to a market that wants to splash out. You need to differentiate yourself from your competition in another way - perhaps your customer service is second to none, or perhaps you offer a free Rolex service after 12 months or offer your clients exclusive membership to a Rolex VIP club where they receive additional value through offers and rewards.
Whatever your message, make sure you stand out from the crowd.
How are you going to get your message to your market?
In a traditional marketing plan, your medium would be anything from newspapers and industry journals, to television and email communications. As we're primarily looking at social media here, your medium would be the social network or platform where your market hang out.
Around half of the UK population have a Facebook account with the gender split being 50:50. The largest demographic group are those aged between 25 and 34. Facebook is the more conversational, friendly and informal social network - so no jargon here please!
LinkedIn on the other hand has 11 million users, 72% of which are over the age of 35. It's also the only social network with a higher proportion of men than women. Therefore, LinkedIn could be the right medium to get your message to your potential Rolex customers.
Twitter users are spread evenly across the age brackets so you have the potential to reach a variety of markets, but you'll need to refine your message with just 140 characters.
Pinterest, although still relatively new to the UK, has 83% female usage in the States, with trending topics such as crafts, interior design, fashion and hobbies, meaning this would be a great medium to reach creative women.
Once you've got your 3Ms nailed down, start trialing your strategy and monitor results using the analytics tools provided by each social platform and Google Analytics, of course.
See what works best for you and your business and focus in on that strategy - you don't need to be a jack of all trades to build your brand on social media!