Key Elements of Social Media Strategy – Free Marketing Template!

[Download link to my free Social Media Marketing plan is at the end of this blog post!]

Social Media Marketing strategies are important to any organization looking to grow their audience online. There are some key factors that must be considered when making your marketing strategy if you want things to run smoothly, especially if you’ll be working with a team of other gurus

line_chartFirst you must come up with some objectives for your Social Media growth. Think about what goals you want your company to reach by establishing and nourishing an online presence. Are you aiming to create a solid space for customer service, are you strictly looking for a way to interact with your consumers, do you want to gain more attention for your brand, or are you looking to do all of the above? It’s important to have a clear set of goals in mind before continuing with your plan.

The next key step is defining your audience. Do some research to determine which groups you will be targeting with your Social Media messages; young women who are into video games, parents over the age of fifty, or even as broad as ‘college students’, to give a few examples. Such information can be gathered by studying user_groupsimilar brands and their audiences, or building your Social Media pages and watching closely with data analyzing tools like Facebook Insights and PeerIndex. Once you have groups targeted as your key audiences think about their specific objectives, as different groups will respond to your marketing messages in different ways.

You’re almost ready to start thinking about how you’ll build your presence online! Consider the ways you can integrate Social Media into your website, and how you’re going to deliver your messages. Will you use e-mail marketing campaigns, attend events in person, or put Social Sharing buttons on your website? Will you create an online forum where your audience can gather, or will you present your website on other forums and message boards? You also want to consider which Social Media venues are going to best suit your website. Facebook and Twitter are a staple in Social Media plans for all companies, though your audience may also fit well with Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+, or YouTube. Choose venues that will fit your pre-defined audience and be confident in why you’re picking them selectively.

Once you have you platforms chosen you should decide what tools you’re going to use to deliver these messages and monitor data. Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are popular choices, but which is best for your brand? You should also consider whether you’ll use the web versions of these applications, or if you’ll be downloading desktop versions and purchasing upgrades so that you have more options. Take the time to hammer out what roles your fellow team members will be have, too, so that each person has clearly defined responsibilities in your marketing plan.

graphNext, consider how often you’ll be checking the data for your various Social Media accounts, what you’ll use to gather said data, and then what you’ll do with the information. Will you have weekly, monthly, or yearly check-ins to see if your messages are being properly delivered to your audiences? Will you use Google Analytics, Klout, Facebook Insights, or a combination of the above? And finally, what will you do to make sure any negative data can be changed to positive data in the future? Try to summarize ideas for the ways you may be able to alter your marketing plan in the future, if your data isn’t coming out the way you’d like it to.

Once you have everything in a neat package, I suggest creating a marketing plan timeline and outlining any major goals you have for your company’s Social Media presence. For example, if you’d like to see a solid amount of participation on your Facebook page within six months, or double your Twitter followers within a year, note those objectives in your timeline so you have clear goals to reach.

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An excellent way to end your marketing plan is with a brief summary of your well-defined plans, tactics, goals, and implementations. You can also touch upon any budget restrictions you may have, as some Social Media tools can involve recurring payments made for upgraded plans. Even if you over-estimate what you’ll need for your budget, it’s a good idea to have all potential expenses written in your plan so that nobody is broadsided by costs.

In closing, you can download my Social Media Marketing Plan template for free and use it to craft your own long-term strategy with all of the elements mentioned in this blog post. Good luck and have fun!

If you like my free marketing plan template, please return the favor and give @Omnomedia a follow on Twitter!

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TweetDeck vs. Hootsuite

There comes a point in nearly ever Social Media user’s life when he or she sits back and realizes they’ve got way too many accounts to keep up with. Whether a professional Social Sharer or an avid fan of many different Social Sharing venues, if you’re plagued by having an overflowing wealth of feeds then you’ll need a tool to make your Internet life easier.

TweetDeck and Hootsuite are arguably two of the most popular tools for mass-sharing statuses across Twitter and Facebook. While they both have pros and cons, one is better suited for personal use and the other better suited for professional. So which goes where?

TweetDeck

Tweetdeck has many attractive features, including the ability to add several Twitter accounts without being forced to upgrade to a paid service. While it offers the ever-important option to schedule your messages it lacks a few key features such as analytics, team collaboration, multiple Facebook account integration, and Klout support. Some users may find TweetDeck’s desktop application interface a pro if they use web browsers heavily.

Another important feature when considering TweetDeck is it’s language translation option, which allows users to translate messages from their feed into other languages. This can be quite useful if you have a lot of worldly Followers on your personal accounts, or deal with international Fans on your business accounts.

Hootsuite

In terms of functionality and purpose, Hootsuite wins out in the categories of basic analytics and team collaboration. Unfortunately, it requires users to pay for an upgraded plan when they want to add more than five Social Profiles, integrate Google Analytics, integrate Facebook Insights, and have unlimited RSS feeds.

Once upgraded to a Pro account users will have unlimited everything, including Facebook profiles and Klout integration, which TweetDeck lacks as a free service. A potential con with Hootsuite is that it functions solely as a web-based application, which some heavy web users may find detrimental.

Head to Head

Final Judgement

Hootsuite offers far more options for Social Sharers using Twitter and Facebook in the business world, especially if users go for their paid option. TweetDeck offers unlimited Twitter accounts and scheduled posting with their free (and only) option, which can be more beneficial for personal and more leisurely use of Social Media. So, if you’re trying to decide which to use for a particular aspect of your online life, I recommend:

Professional: Hootsuite

Personal: Tweetdeck