marketing + sales: The 5 'P's' of Social Media Marketing Success
Small businesses face a different set of circumstances when it comes to social-media marketing than their larger counterparts—namely, smaller budgets, fewer employees and a greater priority on traditional forms of marketing.
For those charged with marketing, the biggest first step toward making social media an integral component of the plan may be convincing your organization. Despite widespread use of social networks for personal connections, the leadership of smaller organizations often questions its effectiveness as a marketing tool and whether they'll see a return on their investment.
I've developed and implemented social-media strategies for a variety of organizations—for-profits, nonprofits and individuals. For all of them, I've discovered that when it comes to social media, it's important to remember the 5 "P's":
Identify what you hope to accomplish and create a strategy to take you there. Too many small businesses dive into social media because they "have to," and don't consider a plan of action before they do so. Make a list of what you want to accomplish. Is it to gain more exposure? To get a higher attendance at your annual fundraiser? To increase sales?
Make it a priority to identify goals so you can create the social-media strategies for meeting them.
Nothing happens overnight. It takes time to develop relationships and establish credibility with your brand and your target audience. Over time, events and a steady pace will win out. Rushing leads to mistakes.
This type of patience requires a long-term mindset. When day-to-day activities seem arduous and, at times, unfulfilling, know that each day builds to the greater goal.
You must be stubbornly committed to your goals and your strategy. Keep plugging away and give your plan a fair amount of time and analysis before you pull the plug. If you know the plan is a good one, don't panic and change course simply because you're not seeing results as quickly as you'd like.
That said, circumstances change. Not every strategy works, and you also need to be willing to recognize when it is time to try something new.
Be persistent in implementing your plan and in monitoring whether you're reaching the objectives that will take you to your goal.
4. Pay (What You Can)
These days, especially on Facebook, it's a pay-for-play landscape. Pay where you can, if you can. The results can provide the spark you need to drive a specific campaign or to increase your overall visibility to your target market. It also can be an affordable alternative to other digital advertising options.
I can't stress enough the importance of time management. If your marketing staff consists of only one or two people, it's essential that you stay on top of your social-media strategy by prioritizing your quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily objectives and goals. Small businesses face countless new daily challenges. Sometimes we lose track of what's most important. Take the time to identify those tasks critical to your success and make them a priority.
You can succeed with social media even if your organization doesn't have the brand recognition of a multi-billion dollar corporation. If you remain even-keeled and set realistic goals, the return on investment will follow.
By Jeremy Juhasz
Jeremy Juhasz is a social media strategist at EMSI Public Relations and a panelist for the Tampa Bay Marketing Summit. He has years of experience managing social-media marketing for the nonprofit sector, including launching social-media and online strategies for Feeding America Food Bank and Goodwill affiliates. His multimedia background includes work as a newspaper reporter and a marketing professional. He is a graduate of Alfred University and attended Kent State's School of Communication and Information, public relations.