A lot of businesses are now replacing or at least complementing traditional online marketing strategies with social media marketing. This means they are doing their best to become active in social media platforms. The problem with most businesses, however is that they dive into social media marketing without mapping out a social engagement plan at the outset.
They know that engagement is the key to social media success, but they haven’t really made a concrete plan as to how they are going to successfully engage their target audience. So, give your social efforts a rest and take some time to create a plan first. However, before you actually make your plan, you will need to answer a couple of questions first.
The primary purpose of engagement is to facilitate a meaningful and productive conversation with your target audience. This is important because it is the first step towards building a lasting relationship with your target market. Opening the lines of communication helps you win your audience’s trust and eventually, their loyalty. Needless to say, it’ll be so much easier to accomplish other goals like lead generation and brand awareness once you’ve earned the trust and loyalty of your target market.
What is a social engagement plan?
Simply put, a social engagement plan answers the “how” of your social media strategy. Where a social content plan outlines what message you want to deliver to your audience, the social engagement plan shows how you plan to deliver that message.
Additionally, it also shows how you plan to respond to your audience’s questions, comments, and concerns. You will need to outline the steps you’re going to take towards the goal of catching your target audience’s interest and engaging them in meaningful conversation.
A social engagement plan shows what steps you’ll be making towards drawing your target audience into meaningful conversations. Photo by Gabi_menashe at Flickr.com
You cannot keep providing content without allowing readers to comment and ask questions if you really want to succeed in social media marketing. Doing so will give you the air of being distanced and impersonal. A well-crafted social engagement plan can spell the difference between having a hundred and a million followers.
Now that we’ve gotten those two questions out of the way, we can finally get down to the actual task of creating your social engagement plan. You’ll be surprised at how easy it can be to come up with a good plan. In most cases, all it takes are a few simple steps.
Step #1: Observe
Remember that social media marketing is all about the audience. This makes it very important for you to closely observe their social media habits. Close observation will help you identify your target audience’s stated and unstated needs. It will also give you an idea as regards the kind of content your target audience finds interesting in terms of topic, tone, type, and voice (first, second, or third person POV).
Time and time again you will probably hear Internet marketing experts say you need to get to know your market. This advice will always ring true because you will never succeed in any form of marketing unless you know what your market wants, when they want it, and how they want to receive it.
Close observation is needed to determine what type of content your target audience likes and how they can best be drawn into conversations. Image Source
Where social engagement is concerned, you should strive to listen closely to your audience even as you talk about yourself and your business.
Let’s say, for example, that you manufacture mobile phones targeted towards college students and young professionals. You could check out Facebook pages and groups where this type of crowd is likely to converge and see what they have to say about the latest mobile phones on the market. What features do they appreciate and which ones do they consider unnecessary? You could also check niche-specific blogs and read through the comments so you’ll know what’s on their mind.
Step #2: Engage
As soon as you know what makes your target audience tick, start engaging them. Sure, you may have learned a lot by observing their social media habits very closely, but you’ll definitely learn a whole lot more by engaging in conversations with them.
As mentioned above, you can’t be the kind of business that just keeps talking about yourself without taking the time to listen to your audience. Trust and loyalty aren’t built that way. Answer questions, thank people for taking the time to comment, and address complaints promptly. That should drive home the message that you’re more concerned about your customers than yourself.
Step #3: Monitor and Measure
Of course, you can’t just go on with your social engagement efforts without knowing whether it’s actually working or not. You will need to define the metrics by which you’ll be measuring the success of your strategy.
It is important to have your framework for success down in black and white, as that makes it a lot easier for you to determine whether your efforts are succeeding or if there are specific areas that need improvement. Bear in mind that you cannot possibly improve something you can’t measure.
You need to define specific metrics by which you can measure the success of your efforts. Photo by Tomas Fano on Flickr.com
Step #4: Learn
Just as you can’t improve something you can’t measure, you also won’t be able to benefit from your measuring efforts unless you learn from it. The purpose of measuring your performance isn’t just to see what happened to your efforts, but also to determine what you can do to improve your results. What you get from measuring should set the tone for the future of your social engagement strategy. Let’s assume that your results show low engagement levels on Facebook, but amazingly high engagement on Twitter. Keeping this in mind, you can start mapping out a plan for encouraging your Twitter followers to “Like” your Facebook Page and connect with you there as well. Another option would be to craft a plan for increasing awareness of your presence on Facebook.
There you have it. Creating a social engagement plan (and putting it into action) isn’t really that difficult. So, what’s stopping you?Author's Google+