Set Your Social Media Goals Before You Implement Tactics

Lately it seems everyone from major brands to small companies are using social media to promote their products and brands. So is social media right for you? Sure, if you approach it with purpose. Social media can be a very effective way to communicate with your target audience in efficient manner. Assuming your target audience is into social media, of course! The first step to creating a plan for your social media campaign is to set realistic goals. Ask yourself what you want to achieve through social media marketing?

Here are 5 realistic goals you can strive for.

1. Improve Search Engine Rankings

Social media marketing can actually be a quite powerful tool for increasing your organic search engine rankings. Social media sites like Facebook, Digg, YouTube, and Twitter can do wonders for boosting your organic search engine visibility as Google weighs links from social media sites and ranks social media mentions.

Additionally, when you promote your content through social media, you can earn more links as people begin to link to your content, creating that ever desirable viral effect. The more natural back links you have, the better your search engine rankings will be.

To maximize the SEO benefits of social media, be sure to create relevant content on hot topics that your audience cares about. Having strong, linkbait-style headlines can also go a long way to driving more traffic and earning more back links.

2. Increase Brand Awareness

One of the great things about social media marketing is that it can level the playing field. Small businesses that blog and interact with their target audience on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites can increase brand awareness, educating customers about who they are and what they do.

Tip: Don't treat social media like a typical advertising medium. Rather than pushing offers to your followers, focus more on being personable and building relationships and trust.

3. Increase Positive Brand Comments Online

Social media has given consumers a voice and they are using it. Customers share their experiences with companies – good and bad. There's a good chance that your company has been mentioned already. Just do a little searching – you might be surprised.

By creating a strong social media presence, being aware of what's being said about your company, and reaching out to your customers, you can minimize the negative mentions and earn more positive ones. Reach out to those who post negative comments to see if there's anything you can do to rectify the situation. A lot of good can come from bad, especially if others are watching the interaction and see how nicely you handle fixing things. And don't forget to encourage your satisfied customers to review you online!

4. Improve Customer Service & Satisfaction Ratings

It's interesting to see how social media can be an effective customer care medium for many companies, big and small. Now businesses can connect with customers and solve their problems quickly. If you plan on using social media as a customer service tool, make sure you train employees on how to do so properly, consistently and within the brand image. Also, don't get rid of your other customer service avenues – don't assume everyone wants to talk to you online.

5. Increase Sales

Many companies are combining social media with other forms of marketing, like direct mail, to help spread the word about their offers and earn more sales. Overlapping communication mediums in marketing is not a new concept.

You can also take advantage of the new group buying options like Groupon. These websites allow you to create special offers that customers share via social media, earning you more sales and increased brand awareness.

Once you set your goals, you can then make some decisions on the best way to carry out your social media marketing plan. I would suggest choosing a platform that works best for your campaign. Where is your audience and which social media site is best for communicating your message to them? As always, be sure you fully understand the audience you are targeting and remember to create value for them. Next, if you don't already have an account with a social media provider, you will want to set that up and customize your page for your brand and possibly even your specific campaign... Now it's time to engage your audience, choose your posts wisely and post at the right times for your audience. Remember, when your campaign is complete, be sure to evaluate your performance. Learn and adjust so you can improve your results each time. Have fun!

"Have a Pawsitively Tail Waggin' Good Day!"

P.S. This information was provided by Ruff Haus Design - Your Loyal Marketing Companion.

Established in 1997, we are a special breed of full-service graphic design company that works with a premier pack of clients. We bring a fresh outlook and tail-wagging enthusiasm to your marketing program.

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