How to Create a Jaw Dropping Social Media Strategy in 5 Steps

social media bird

Social media is not a campaign. It’s a channel. It’s a means to an end, not an end in itself. That means your social media networks should be part of a larger marketing plan.

That being said, you still need a set of goals to guide your individual social media efforts. Like most marketing plans, social media channels need to go through the following five goals in order to produce the kind of results that are truly profitable.

Step #1: Identify warm prospects

There is no doubt that social media has gone mainstream. Virtually everyone in America knows what Twitter and Facebook is.

Earlier this year, Edison Research published a report that showed how Americans are using social media. One of the things they uncovered is that 52% of Americans over the age of 12 have at least one social media account. And 51% of all Americans are on Facebook.

america social media

That’s huge! But just because there is a huge audience doesn’t mean all members of it are your prospects. You need to define your prospect before you decide who to attract and follow.

In fact, without a defined idea of who your prospect is, your social networks will just get big, clunky and messy. You may end up like Chris Brogan or Michael Hyatt who both unfollowed over 100,000 people. While that’s not a career-ending move, it just demonstrates what happens when you launch into something without a plan.

To identify prospects, you can:

  1. Figure out who the ideal person you are looking to connect with is. Is it a business owner, a VP of marketing, or a social media consultant? This person should ideally be a decision-maker and the one who is going to buy your product or service.
  2. Once you know whom you want to reach, look for areas where they may hang out. It could be social sites like Twitter and Facebook or other types of sites like Digg.
  3. After you know the avenues they use, do searches to connect with those people. For example, if you are looking to connect with the VP of marketing, search for marketing-related topics on Twitter and start engaging with the people who are tweeting about those subjects.

Step #2: Establish a conversation with your prospect

One of the most effective ways to use social media is to encourage people to follow you based upon a purpose. This could be as simple as attracting followers with deeply discounted offers, like what California luxury hotel operator is doing.

But after someone starts following you, you need to look at the conversation that is going on with your prospect. What happens to your content after you send it out? Do people ignore it? Do your questions generate conversations? Are you actually getting sales, subscriptions or more followers?

There are plenty of good social media advertising and metric tools out there that will allow you to measure your social media success.

But why is it important to know your social media stats? For instance, when you significantly increase the frequency of posting, the likelihood of you getting a customer jumps. In fact, according to the 2011 State of Inbound Marketing by HubSpot, posting multiple times a day versus just once a day will increase your customer acquisition rate by 15%.

hubspot frequency

Of course, you have to know if your audience can stomach that much content. It’s not worth burning them out if they don’t want it. You measure and test your social networks in order to help you establish a comfortable conversation with prospects because in the end, your prospects need to feel comfortable.

Step #3: Establish rapport with your prospect

Growing your social media networks is just one part of the equation. While a large fan base is great, you need to engage that audience.

Fortunately, that’s not as hard to do anymore as it used to be. It seems that users appear to be using social media – like Twitter – more, according to the Social Habit 2011 Edison Research:

twitter engaged

Building rapport on the social web occurs in a handful of ways. Sometimes it’s as simple as replying and thanking someone for re-tweeting, inviting him or her to DM you to swap emails and sharing content from other followers with your audience.

Social media levels the playing field and brings you into direct contact with the prospect. You must earn his or her respect through repeated conversations to get to the next level of social media success.

Step #4: Develop a social media relationship

Just because you are talking to people doesn’t mean you have a relationship. That’s the mistake a lot of marketers make. They are rushing to the transaction part simply because they have the conversation.

What you have to understand is that those thousands of interactions between you and your followers or subscribers is what builds trust between you and your prospect. Here’s a diagram of what that looks like:

your social marketing profile

The path of moving prospects to customers is paved with trust. That means you need to figure out how to move those prospects into a relationship with you.

At this stage of the game, a multi-tiered path is a good idea. For example, you move your prospect to join you on a social network. Next, you begin to engage him or her through questions and surveys. Offer a free download or a webinar. Then recommend the transaction.

Keep in mind, the bigger your brand, the less time you need to build trust. Apple doesn’t have to convince many people to trust them. You, on the other hand, will. So, be patient.

Step #5: Track the lifetime value of a relationship

Finally, you need to be thinking about the lifetime value of your social networks. You are probably familiar with customer lifetime value (CLV), which is the amount of money a company expects to make from one customer during the time of their relationship. In the same way, when used effectively, CLV can lead to improved decision-making and increased profitability when it comes to social media.

In fact, CLV is an important tool that can satisfy executives’ desire for social media accountability, which is something KISSmetrics can do. Besides, a plan without measurable markers is worthless. How are you going to know if you are winning or losing?

Conclusion

Social media is here to stay. And how we think about it is still changing and will continue to for years to come. But smart marketers are learning to treat it like every other traditional marketing tool, which means they set goals and measure the success of those goals. So should you.

What other goals should marketers be setting to measure the success of social media?

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Comments

  1. Good point about needing to build trust by proving valuable to your prospects. Got to be patient and build relationships over time. :) Thanks!

  2. Neil

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who gets concerned about people seeing social media as an end in itself and not as a tool!

    Good blog, some excellent points in it.

    Kind regards

    Nic

  3. Nice post and all these are awesome steps. I think social Media is all about making new connections and building relationship with them.

  4. The problem we see with some new prospective clients is they want that return on investment immediately. I always hear “Can you get me sales tomorrow.” Yes, but that’s not the point of using social media. It’s the long term increase in CLV that needs to be focused on and it’s a beautiful thing getting them to see the light and allowing social media the time it takes to work.

    Great post Neil. Only thing I’d add is to resist the temptation to constantly sell via social networks.

  5. Web design India :

    Social Media Relationship plays vital role in the success of your business, if you’re interacting with your prospects on regular basis it doesn’t mean that they trust you…. for this purpose you need to give them some time, offer them

    • True, they may not trust you right away. However if you interact regularly like you said then that means they at least like what you are saying. Then over time you will be able to earn their trust by providing them with information that can help them.

  6. Excellent point, Relationship building is key and I think our society is slowly shifting into the importance of interacting more when people post Tweets etc. Instead of just submitting a post and ‘end of story’, one needs to respond to their network of posts, tweets, comments etc.

    • Thanks Karen,

      You are correct with you’re thinking. It has become increasingly import not only to post, but also to continue to respond and interact through the post. This will help you build relationships with followers and gain even more.

  7. So from what I gather from the “Your Social Marketing Network” diagram is you let your jellyfish prospects keep you within their tentacles, you then constantly feed them little bits of delicious value-added information, and poof! one day they’ll get more hungry and want more than just an appetizer…

    Got it ;)

  8. Neil,
    Thanks for another great post. I’ve been reading your blog for over 2 yrs and you are truly one of the most consistent “hitting it out of the park” marketing bloggers. Thank you for being so generous with your insight & wisdom as it has been catalytic for my own projects and career.

    • Thanks a lot Mike,

      I appreciate your kind words. Nice to have you as a reader for so long. I am glad you enjoy the content, I am happy to help when I can. If you ever have any questions feel free to ask.

  9. Nice post! I particularly found the stat about blog post frequency and customer acquisition interesting. Two or three posts a day…that’s a tall order!

  10. Neil,
    Regards the first step “Step #1: Identify warm prospects” – I don’t see how you do this in the content under that heading? You just mention about the size of the market.
    Mic.

  11. Thanks Neil for some great info. I’m still on the fence about Twitter. It seems to go back and forth over the last few years in terms of overall (or long term) value but it looks like Twitter users are becoming more engaging. I’m sure that is due in part to offering them better reasons to engage. Either way, it’s very interesting to see how social media has grown and your take on how to best capitalize on it. Take care.

    • Even if you are unsure about Twitter try and keep with it. Over time you will see the impact it can have, as long as you use it properly. It is definitely up to you if you want users to be more engaging. You have to find a way to post interesting and useful things worth remarking on or having questions about for your followers. If you can do that then you will be better off in the long run.

  12. John Alexander :

    This is an excellent post, Neil. I am really in favor of this long term approach to building clients through relationship building.
    Not only is it perfect for Social Media, but it creates high value long term customers for life. Much better than some companies who seem to favor the make the one hit sale.
    Thanks so much for sharing it.
    John Alexander
    PS: I’m going to let my readers all know :o)

    • Thank you John,

      Yep, for me it is all about long term value. It may take me longer to do certain things but if the extra time spent produces value in the long run then it is worth it to me. Happy to share and thank you for sharing as well!

  13. Hi Neil,

    Today seems to be a Social media day. I am continuing to figure this ‘amimal’ called Social Media out but as you say a relationship has to be established with the community.

    Thanks for this Neil.

    David

  14. Great post Neil,

    I really liked the section on building relationships, It’s so true that only after that will come trust and then sales.

    Nice one!

    Catch up soon,
    Glenn

  15. Great points about trust and how social media/networking is making relationships more important than they have ever been in marketing.

    I wrote this piece a couple of weeks ago about what goes into a personal or business reputation, and it’s good to know that I’m at least on the right page. :)

    http://swaymaker.com/2011/11/21/fundamentals-of-reputation/

  16. Great points. Neil can you write an article on Google Adsense and what tips you use.

    I know you build a lot of software sites, like crazy egg and kissmetrics.. do you even do any affiliate or have any niche sites?

    thanks

  17. I totally agree with you Neil, repeated conversation is very important!! One has to be really interested with the people they are targeting,and slowly build trust… nowadays people have are very smart and can sniff out easily someone who is trying something sneaky.

  18. Great points and its true that trust is at the center of relationship building. I think many people get worried about the time needed to cultivate social media channels and is the return really worth it.

    I think when used in the natural flow and language of the brand, social media doesn’t have to be time-consuming and can help to build a really strong presence on those channels.

    – Fajr

  19. Neil,
    Excellent post. Actually jaw dropping. Can you put me wise on your customer lifetime value strategy. I need to learn more about it.

  20. As you so aptly state, social media is a channel, a means to an end. You still have to make the personal connection offline. That may mean by email, Skype or phone if you’re not in the same geographical area. But most of us living in urban areas, like I do, probably don’t have to search more than 5 miles in any direction to find all the business they could want. So time to get off social media and into potential client offices!

    • You make some good points. It is defiantly a good idea to make personal connections by going to conferences or office parties. Social media sites help but it is a good idea to meet people in person as well.

  21. Another great post. I have been looking forward to these every week. I have taken a lot of blogs and other sites off my RSS feed lately, but this is one that is staying on for a while.

  22. It is interesting to see the information you use to identify the profile of the persons in a network.

    I think we all realize that there are only so many hours in our day and we have to apply some of these things in order to pair down to the true prospects for our products.

  23. Thanks for publishing (and intelligently discussing) our data, Neil – and a great point about establishing a plan (as in, a segmentation/targeting strategy) *before* wading in. Great post!

  24. Great blog again Neil, religiously read the great content you provide.

  25. Thanks for great info.

    Social media is just a platform. It is our duty to reach the prospects using this platform.

  26. More than internet presence what we focus on is adding value to peoples life. People are paying for their dreams. And their dreams are PRICELESS. They are not paying for the social presence.

    If the person in front of you has big enough dreams. And you can put them in touch with the deepest, most powerful of those dreams. And then they get that spending time with you will help them to achieve it, they will move mountains to create that money.

  27. Nice one, Neil looking forward for a post on how one should look at FB and/or youtube insights… most of the data are good to know but how to act upon it?

  28. Yes, Neil the social networking is not a link building it is a Trust Building ….. I really happy to read your all blogs posts.

    Same thing you mentioned in your posts you applied in every article you posted.

    We don’t Learn How to do SEO or SMO from your posts we learned the best approach to do these things for best results.

    Thanks Neil :)

  29. Hi,

    Very nice post Neil you describe very well about what is the importance of social media sites in our life. I think we can’t achieve good milestone in SEPR without the help of social media sites.

    Beside that another great thing is that we can make lots of friends and make own social network for share and gain good experience about technology and other things which are going in all over the world.

  30. I like the idea about what social media means to all of us these days. I agree with you that social media job doesn’t end in following and unfollowing people but creating a meaningful conversation that benefits both parties. Social media is part of a big relationship marketing method employed by businesses.

  31. Added to the “reading list” (in work so need to work when at work). One thought though, I don’t think you need to own a business to have a social media strategy. We can always work on building trust with others “prospects”, friends, associates and even family. Part of your personal social media strategy could be just to greet everyone happy birthday to reconnect throughout the year, by doing this you can sincerely touch base and strengthen those relationships. At the end of the day, it is not about how many people you know, it is about the depth of those relationships with others that brings happiness.

  32. Thank you Niel,

    Eye opener, building trust is what it takes.
    I never have learned so much in such a small time.

  33. JVL Web Solutions :

    Thanks for valuable information, i used to read all blogs post by Neil

  34. I agree with your statistical analysis regarding twitter, I too started using twitter in 2011 only.

  35. Thanks for the tips, but i wanted to know that will it workable for any country ? suppose i choose France then these tips will work? Please help me…

  36. Good post, Neil, building the trust is ultimate for my business, because I am writing & posting info they want to read more about because they need to feel better and take care of their health.

  37. Agree with you Neil, conversation is very necessary to build relationship

  38. But people say social media traffic does not convert that well, how true is that?

    • You have to figure out how to make it convert. At KISSmetrics it converts well, but it took us 6 months to get there…

      You just have to be creative when trying to get things to convert.

  39. Nice Article Neil, I hope people take this on board as a pose to just using social media channels to send their latest blog posts to.

    Thanks
    Stuart

  40. Nowadays social media sites is the major source for seo analyst to increase the traffic

  41. Really good tips. Social Media is undeniably vital these days, and as you emphasized, building an interactive relationship with prospects is important. Many are so turned off by feeling they are just a name on someone’s list.

    I think people look into a company’s Social Media profiles to establish how they feel about the company.

    • Thanks,

      I agree people tend to base their judgments off of what they read and see on the businesses social media sites.

      • Absolutely. Then the aspect that I find surprising, when I interact with quite a number of businesses, is that they can’t quite see or imagine the value of social media.

        I see more and more catching on, some because they hear that it works alone, and others because they can grasp the concept. But a number of them whom I have interacted with seem to see social media as something for kids.

        I noticed a trend where companies who used to capitalize through being vendors within niche related forums are moving to Facebook etc., where in essence, advertising in certain ways to their clients and fans is free.

  42. It’s amazing how social media has grown so big so fast. I wonder what might be the next BIG thing? Years ago, everyone thought myspace would dominate forever, now people say that about facebook. I wonder what will be next?

  43. It is here to stay and I myself am guilty of not using social media to my advantage. You have giving some great thoughts here. I will have to work harder on implementing a social media marketing strategy.

  44. Social marketing requires a lot of time, and time is in short supply when you run online business.

  45. Amazing post! Really useful ! I am starting to create my first social media strategy to promote my business. This article helped me with on writing down the first steps i will take.

  46. Hi Neil,
    This is exactly why I keep coming back to this blog. You share such useful content for bloggers in the blogosphere and internet traveler’s. I like reading posts that have statistics or factual data to back up what the actual post is about – and it all connects… Like a warm cup of tea on a cold winter’s night.

  47. Good point about needing to build trust by proving valuable to any
    prospects. I think we get more social media by twitter of facebook

  48. Social Media its the best strategy to gain an good business leads

  49. Do you think that having profiles on smaller social media websites is it worth it to promote your business or should we just focus on the biggest? :)

    • Anything can have an impact on the web but is better to focus on the biggest in my opinion. I think the impact of smaller ones is too little to waste your time with them. Focus instead on the biggest ones and invest as much as you can in them rather than wasting your time on something that won’t help you a lot.

    • If those smaller social sites are niche ones related to your business, then yes.

  50. Hey Neil, nice points you have covered over here. With the help of effective social media marketing we can establish the long term relationship with out customers. So it is necessary to do solid planning before implementing social media marketing. Because good marketing requires a better strategy which can give awesome results.

    • It is necessary as without a good plan it is going to be hard to build strong relationships. I am a big believer in having a few strong ones with customers than a ton of weak ones.

  51. While I don’t have suggestions (yet) I just wanted to give you a warm thank you as I just started using HubSpot and KISSinsights (cause of you) and have already seen growth in the traffic to my site. No conversions yet, but all in good time young grasshopper. New Follower alert!

  52. WoW. Great strategy. Really usfeul. I fully agree that we should write to our followers/prospects in order to be successful. Nice post :)

  53. I wish i could find a patiency solution to my seo achievements. I want things to happen quick..and they really take a lot of time..

  54. Here’s a social media tool thats for free- itweetlive was designed to help u target your audience and engage with all of them at the same time, this saves you so much time and cuts your work in half http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Yu4JpV5sHo&feature=related Includes ‘geo-location’ and Klout score in your search results as well as AB testing to see which tweets generate the most mentions for you.

  55. Loved this post. Like going through the ABC’s of no-nonsense selling with social media as a conduit, not an established list of prospects, but still works like a charm. Excellent article!

  56. I think it’s worth mentioning that a key factor of success on social media sites is not just identifying who you want to build a rapport with but it’s to go looking for the guys who are already big players in your niche and seeing how best they use social media.

    For example, the people I’m looking for are all into video games, so I follow all of the video game mags and big video game blogs to tap into their userbase.

  57. Social media is blasting its way into being one of the most powerful marketing tools to use on the internet. the best thing about the whole thing is, ITS FREE! When I started my blog, I immediately signed up for the most prominent social media sites. It has helped my traffic tremendously!

  58. Social media surely has some very powerful marketing possibilities, and every webmaster should take as much benefit as possible.

  59. hey neil,
    it’s a great attempt from your side. well elaborated all the five steps.

    Thank you for providing us such information.

    Matt

  60. Social Media Relationship plays vital role in the success of your business, if you’re interacting with your prospects on regular basis it doesn’t mean that they trust you it may or must need to take time to get that relation to a person.

  61. I know social media was really helpful to build up your site and expand your presence online but sometimes it is hard to show you on the top of social media because a lot of competitors.

  62. It’s the long term increase in CLV that needs to be focused on and it’s a beautiful thing getting them to see the light and allowing social media the time it takes to work.

  63. How did I miss this great post and still very relevant today. Thanks Neil!

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