Components of a Successful Social Media Strategy

Instructor: Beth Loy

Dr. Loy has a Ph.D. in Resource Economics; master's degrees in economics, human resources, and safety; and has taught masters and doctorate level courses in statistics, research methods, economics, and management.

Social media brings with it new possibilities for marketers. These avenues should be pursued with a dedicated strategy. This lesson will define marketing strategy, its social media component, and the essential parts of a social media strategy.

What Is A Marketing Strategy?

If you have ever interviewed for a job, you have developed a marketing strategy. You likely researched the company, put on your best professional clothes, made sure your resume was spotless, planned to get there early, and thought of questions to ask as the interview ended. This was your plan to beat the competition. You were marketing yourself, and each step was a part of your strategy.

Marketing strategy is a company's plan to rise above the competition. A for-profit company may want to increase sales. A non-profit may look to increase its funders. A charity probably wants to increase its donations.

A marketing strategy is going to depend on a company's objective. A company may want a new, sleeker look. It may change its logo or add new brands. It could hire a celebrity or target a niche market. Maybe a company donates a percentage of its sales to a charitable cause. Or, a company could offer limited products during the holiday season. Let's look at how a company's goals should include developing a social media strategy.

What Is A Social Media Strategy?

With the popularity of social media continuing to rise, it's important for a business to invest in developing a social media strategy as a part of a larger marketing strategy. A business needs to know how to use social media channels like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+ to support its mission.

A social media strategy combines the use of social media outlets to engage an audience and expand a company's reach. Staying on target will give an advantage over the competition. Let's look at the basic components of a successful media strategy.

Components Of A Successful Social Media Strategy

Let's say you are working for a gaming company, GameWares. Your company creates games for popular gaming consoles and you want to develop a social media strategy. Let's look at the steps you can take to do this.

1) Formulate a budget. The first step in developing a social media strategy is to determine how much money and time you have available to invest. If you have a limited budget it's important that you focus on what will give you the most exposure for the least amount of investment.

For example, GameWares should begin its campaign with the most common social media channels, Facebook and Twitter. These can be cross-linked to cut down on staff time, and they are good ways to build a foundation for other social media outlets.

2) Develop tangible goals. Look to your mission and determine whether you want to increase your followers, push people to your online store, provide incentives to visit your brick-and-mortar store, or improve your customer service. Keep your goals narrow and focused so your progress is measurable and the results can be used to create future strategies.

GameWares develops and distributes many online games. Its website provides tutorials, reviews, and game downloads. A tangible goal for GameWares would be to use its social media channels to push 25% more consumers to its website during the holiday season.

3) Implement a tactical plan. How will you use social media to spread the word that your company is the best? This plan will put you in a position to sell your goods and services to new customers while meeting the needs of existing ones. Three essential components of this plan are to: a) Focus on your uniqueness, b) Determine your target market, and c) Incorporate your marketing strategy.

GameWares could use social media to offer improvements to the gaming experience. Because GameWares has a target market of gamers, the company could offer new services such as free storage space; coupons on batteries for tablets, mobile phones, and other devices; and a chance to be a tester for game prototypes.

When these incentives are offered, it's time to describe how your products and services stand apart from other gaming companies. If your marketing strategy includes a celebrity spokesperson, incorporate them into your overall marketing strategy within your social media strategy!

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