Is social media marketing enough?
Content! Content! Content! When it comes to marketing, that’s all you ever hear about. In the business version of the Brady Bunch, content is Marsha and everything else is poor Jan (who, incidentally, I always thought was much prettier). The fact is, content marketers and social media managers just aren’t telling you the whole truth about how to market effectively. Don’t worry. They’re not evil. They just hyper-focus on the one thing they do. As a business owner, you have to understand that the work they do is only one part of a successful marketing campaign. Don’t use social media in isolation, or you will find yourself treading up hill in the blazing heat, unable to reach the peak.
I always write that content is king and that social media is highly valuable. All of that is true. You need to realize, however, that if you want to really promote your business, then you must incorporate a variety of strategies and tactics into your campaign. Don’t make the mistake of believing that your social campaign is a strategy. It’s a tactic that needs to be part of a larger strategy to deliver the results you need. Integrated marketing communications is where it’s at!
Integrated marketing communications, according to businessdictionary.com is, “An approach to achieving the objectives of a marketing campaign , through a well-coordinated use of different promotional methods that are intended to reinforce each other.” With integrated marketing, you are blending the efforts of public relations, sales, marketing, advertising, etc. to create a consistent and stronger result than any of these efforts could produce in isolation. It is especially important to do this if you have a new product or a unique product that may not be an obvious solution to the end user. Combining your marketing efforts in this way will allow you to be seen more easily by decision makers everywhere.
So what needs to be considered when developing your integrated marketing communications plan? Check out this info-graphic and read on to get a better understanding of how to create a plan that will allow you to attract leads that convert into sales.
I like to use the “who, what, when, where, why and how” approach to planning. Journalists have it right. If you ask enough questions, you get a very clear picture of a situation. Therefore, your first consideration is to understand who you are targeting. Having a complete understanding of your potential customers will allow you to assess their pain and how your solution will fulfill their needs. It will also help you direct your marketing efforts in the right place. For example, are they a demographic that uses social media, and if so, which channels would be most appropriate? Where do they shop for products like yours? What other habits do they have? What barriers might they face in making a decision about your product? Paint as clear a picture as you can and the strategies and tactics you need to employ will reveal themselves to you.
Another consideration is what your objectives are and what your theme and key messaging should be. With an integrated approach, everyone will be singing the same song and walking in the same direction (as they should). Get a clear understanding of what you want your objectives to be and then think about how that will tie into your theme and messaging. It is critical that your theme and messaging are consistent in all of your marketing material.
When developing your key messages, consider your unique selling proposition . If you don’t know what that is, your USP is the thing that makes you different from your competitors. Tell the world why they need you more than anyone else. Speak to your customers’ pain and be as front and centre as possible!
The next thing you need to think about is when you will run your campaign. Timing is important. Is it better to start marketing in a down time or should you maximize opportunities during the busy season? That depends on what you are selling, so do your research to figure out how to optimize your campaign.
Where you are going to concentrate your marketing efforts is also important. Will you be able to get attention from mainstream media? Should you send out a media release or hold a media event? Which social media sites should you use? Should you attend trade shows, and if so, which shows will yield the most leads? Should you run ads, and if so, where, and for how long? Will you need to revise your print collateral? Giving thought to these questions will prove critical to your plan.
The biggest question of all revolves around implementation. How will you do this? Which strategies and tactics make the most sense, given your budget, your time and the other things you learned while developing your plan? A great integrated marketing communications plan is the result of plenty of discussion around all the things I mentioned above. It requires a lot of communication in order to become a useful document. When you are developing your plan, you will need to be very transparent with your communications professional. There is no point in developing a plan if nothing in it can be executed because you’re broke or not in agreement on something.
Many business owners naively think they can write a plan on a napkin or just use social media to gain sales. You can, if you don’t care how long it takes to get results. Building a strong social media campaign requires a lot of time. Followers don’t just flock to your Twitter account, you know! It takes time to develop reach and an awful lot of people setting up shop in that venue really aren’t all that knowledgeable. That’s another consideration in itself.
If you are serious about making money, however, don’t settle for executing things in a willy-nilly fashion. You don’t have to execute everything in your plan at once. You just need to be strategic. Make sure you build in a timeline and a budget to help you remain organized and balanced. A well-constructed and well executed plan should attract plenty of solid leads that convert to sales. Good luck!
Renée Cormier is a public relations & communications specialist with a passion for business and helping business owners meet their highest goals. Need quality help with your marketing communications? Contact Renée through her website at www.reneecormier.com
Follow me on Twitter! @reneecormierpr
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