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Social Media Strategy: Do you Have One?

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Social Media Strategy

Positioning and Increasing Value

SMM strategyThere’s no doubt about it: The world changed when social media platforms achieved mass public appeal. As time progressed, ‘big business’ began utilizing social media sites as a way to share knowledge and increase brand awareness, which generated online communities with actual value far beyond the adolescent, silly perception of the typically thought of SM post.

While learning how to improve your tactical usage of social media websites is essential to effectively manage and grow your target industrial community, I recommend you take this thought process a step further and consider in what ways you can make your social media campaign even more valuable and think about it in a more strategic way.

You’ll need to think first in terms of the collaborative nature of social media, then the fact that each social site has its own personality and rhythm, and then the way in which communications and interactions within each community filter out into search engine key phrase results on the World Wide Web.

Use Key Phrases in Social Media Strategy

most-valuable-keywordsThe term “key phrase” is commonly considered in connection with optimization of a business website as companies attempt to achieve page 1 placement in search engine result listings. However, social media websites can also affect not only the placement of your website’s positioning in online search results, but include additionally contextual optimization in association with important key terms. Find out what key phrases are important to your company by visiting the Google AdWords tool to discover a general estimate of how many times people have actually been typing what you think they would type into Google to find the products and/or services you sell. Increasing your popular key phrase knowledge is essential to employing a digital marketing campaign of value!

As critical key phrases are woven throughout your company’s social media posts; those posts themselves at times reach the first page of Google and direct attention back to your business social pages. This depends on the settings in each social media account. People can choose to allow their tweets and Facebook posts, etc. to be public or private; but if this is for your business: why in the world would you keep them private?

Using tools such as # (hashtags) and @ symbols create a forum where your post shows up within the social sites themselves when people search for specific key terms. The @ symbol targets a specific site user, but then if that particular community member has a large following, they are seeing the messages that are ‘@’ that member. The hashtags are also used as part of the Twitter and Facebook site’s programming in order to make suggestions for people who have related interests and to display which topics are hot, or trending.

Using key phrases effectively in social media marketing campaigns can achieve a multi-level affect.  This way, popular search engines are being used to increase awareness of your brand. Social sites are also providing a more intimate level of brand awareness within targeted communities involved in online discussions on related topics.

Content Makes All the Difference!

contentSocial media strategy also includes tapping into the excitement surrounding events such as trade shows, plant turnarounds, construction of a new pipeline, trade association events relevant to your industry, and so on. As an industry insider you may already be aware of a number of events that would be of interest to your industry associates and sharing this information with your inbound marketing team is paramount to ensuring they have what they need to help you succeed.

If you are managing your social media content yourself, you’ll need to become very familiar with the use of key phrases and hashtags. Additionally, understanding how to engage your audience is key to making a social media marketing campaign worth your time.

People get sick of “being sold to” and other promotional posts without depth. Internet searchers want information! You absolutely have to give them what they want if you expect them to pay any attention to your messages and thereby develop an interest in your brand, products, and services.

A good idea is to follow the 80/20 rule (80% content of interest, 20% promotional) of content marketing and social media marketing. This means that the majority of your articles and social media posts must be heavily informative and therefore interesting to your potential customers. If they see too much “sales speak,” particularly if your target audience is more in the technical or engineering category, you will have difficulty growing your audience and you’ll experience failure in the attempt to create an online community where your biggest opportunity for increasing brand awareness exists.

As you can see, there are very specific actions required on your part to develop a strategic social media marketing program. If you leave everything up to simply thinking you’ll jump online 5 minutes per day and submit a post and a tweet or two, you’ll fall short of the mark and be left wondering how others succeed with social media marketing.

In order to ensure you are utilizing quality content and reaching the industrial business community effectively, it is absolutely essential that you develop a social media editorial calendar, or that you check to make sure the inbound marketing firm you are using employs one in their efforts to help increase your business opportunities.

Tools to Help Your Strategy Succeed
editorial calendarA social media calendar will be invaluable as a tool that allows  more than one person to review and contribute notes about what info should be included in the content strategy, and when. In order to achieve this level of effective collaboration though, you’ll need to use an online collaboration application so your team can view and edit it from various physical locations.

One very simple solution most people already have access to is Google Documents. You can upload a file in Google Docs and choose to share it with whomever you wish by simply clicking on the share button on the top right side of the page and populating the field with the email of that individual. There are a lot of options these days for team collaboration and project management in the cloud. Many are even free for basic services which can be very robust.

Project Management Software

Podio is one example of a free cloud workspace within which you and your team can communicate instantly via messaging that is stored in a designated project and deliverable workspace and then tracked for later reference. Within this workspace documents can be uploaded and downloaded, making document sharing for draft revisions and team reviews all in one space. Task management is also included, as well as email notifications of team members and organizational tools such as daily project summaries.  In fact, Podio is completely customizable.  Within each workspace, you can add apps that feature the functions you need for that project.

Team collaboration workspaces providing similar capabilities include Taskworld, AceProject, Basecamp, Huddle, Zoho, and Nozbe to name but a few. You’ll find that some currently claim they will always be free and others only offer free trial offers. Additionally, each project management platform has slight differences, capabilities and user interfaces. Having a variety to consider enables you to identify which offer the pieces you are most interested in and which user interface you are most comfortable working within.

Social Media Scheduling Software

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For the process of managing the actual schedule of your social media posts, you can make your life much easier and get your company much better organized via the use of varied dashboards that allow you to create and schedule posts in advance. This is supported by cloud applications separate from those listed above, but would be well worth your time to check out if you are considering doing your own strategic social media marketing campaign work.

There are absolutely unique nuances to each of these types of post organization and scheduling programs online, so make sure you sit down and spend a few hours reviewing the aspects of a few.

You can schedule tweets and enjoy the content curation aspect of websites like everpost.co. One nifty thing about using everpost is that when people click on the news story link as it’s provided for them from your twitter post that you scheduled from within the everpost.co system, on the top left side of the news story page it shows the logo of your company and basically says that the news story they are reading, regardless of what online media channel it’s actually from, is brought to them by your company.

Other commonly utilized social media scheduling applications online are HootSuite, TweetDeck, SproutSocial, Engager, and Meltwater to only name a few.

The important thing to remember is that if you have not stopped to ensure your industrial social media marketing campaign is organized and thoroughly planned out ahead of time; it is unlikely you are involved in, or paying for, a strategic social media marketing plan.

If no one is aware days, weeks, or months before a tweet is tweeted, or a post is published on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, or other social media avenues just what that post is actually going to be about, then it is highly unlikely you are going to reach your target business sector online with any information or media they consider to be of value.

And finally, if you do not have the tools to support this level of organization, content curation, and advanced scheduling, your social media marketing plan will not only fail to be effective and strategic, it will most certainly not be sustainable.  This is the reason so many companies think social media marketing “doesn’t work.”  It’s because they never planned to succeed.

You Wouldn’t Begin A New Manufacturing Project Without Using Project Management Methods!

Remember that your marketing plan is what drives your brand awareness. Your brand awareness is the outward display of your business to the global community. Just as you wouldn’t jump into an engineering project with an oil and gas company without developing a thorough project plan that includes a schedule of phases/stages, a budget, and benchmarks; you must make sure your business takes the face you present to the global community and to all potential customers just as seriously.

Position your company to be viewed as a leader in your online communities with effective and profitable results by ensuring your social media marketing plan is actively managed in a strategic manner today!

Author: Kerry O’Malley, Marketects, Inc.

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