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Imagine showing up to run a race and learning that there is no formal course. Or that your cross-country road trip partner has not planned a single detail between point A and B.

Such is the same for marketers using social media without a clear goal.

Any social media marketing should be driven by a strategy. Having a map or blueprint of your action helps keep teams accountable, helps maintain consistency, and helps track ROI — the return on investment — for your social efforts.

What should be in a social media marketing strategy? How do you know what is important and what isn’t?

Here are three key elements of a social media sales strategy:

1. Know Your Target

It is tempting to believe that your product will work for anyone and everyone.

This fallacy will end up costing you a lot of money, time, and wasted energy.

Clearly and articulately define exactly who you will target in your marketing. Identify whose problem can you solve.

There is no “one-size-fits-all” to finding an ideal persona. It must be unique to you and your product.

Here are some ideas to developing your own ideal customer persona:

  • Does your product apply more to men or women?
  • Does it matter what age? If so, what is the ideal age?
  • Does it matter how much money they make?
  • Does it matter if they own or rent a home?
  • Does it matter where they live geographically?
  • Does it matter if they are technologically savvy?
  • Does it matter if they have a job?
  • Does it matter if they know what your product is called?
  • Does it matter if they have kids? Grandparents?
  • Does it matter if they like a certain food? Drink?
  • Does their religion matter?
  • Does it matter where they attended college? If if they didn’t?
  • Does it matter that they’re on a deadline to make a purchase? What happens if they don’t?
  • What freedom comes after they buy your product?
  • What problem of theirs is solved?
  • What frustration do you think they are facing right now before making a purchase?
  • How long does it take for them to decide on the product?

As a side note, your ideal customer persona does not lock you into an exclusive contract with this audience. It serves as a guiding force behind your messaging.

Some examples of ideal customers for my clients include:

  • middle aged women battling depression
  • engaged couples planning a destination wedding
  • business owners not comfortable doing their bookkeeping
  • small businesses interested in using video to promote their products
  • inventors looking to create killer Kickstarter campaigns
  • parents looking for healthy after-school, year-round activities for their children

As you can see, many area very specific. This helps keep the marketing message clear and defined, they are not all things to all people. Your product cannot solve everyone’s problem, and that is okay. Instead, focus on the people you can help.

For the Shaun Nestor brand, much of our writing and advice centers around agencies and consultants. But I am contacted by small business owners, real estate agents, chiropractors, orthodontists, trade show organizers, athletic clubs, freelancers, health and fitness professionals, and hair salons.

It would be impossible for me to create content that specifically targeted all of those different industries, but the principles found in my content still apply to them.

2. Don’t Be Everywhere

It is overwhelming when you expand your marketing to include social media. I get it: the thought of having to create and maintain 5, 6, 7, or 8 “new” online properties is daunting.

Don’t.

There is no reason to be everywhere all the time.

Not only is this not practical, but will lead to exhaustion within your marketing team. Even worse if you are managing your marketing alone.

Instead, think about the person we defined above, in Step 1. What social media platforms would they use?

Think about the following questions to identify what social networks you should focus your efforts:

  • Where is your audience?
  • Where do they “hang out” online?
  • Where do they get their information?
  • Are they on visual platforms (Pinterest or Instagram)?
  • Realtime (Twitter)?
  • Professional (LinkedIn)?
  • Casual social (Facebook)?
  • Video (YouTube, Blab, Periscope, Meerkat)?
  • Are they seeking advise (Clarity, HourlyNerd, MosaicHub)?
  • Foodies (Yelp, UrbanSpoon)?
  • Travelers (TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google+)?

Do you have a specific niche that has it’s own unique networking platform? Remember, just because there are a few mainstream sites, your ideal customer may be spending their time on a very industry-specific site looking for information.

3. Manage Your Social Schedule

Pre-scheduling your social media posts with a tool like HootSuite, Buffer, Edgar, or HubSpot is a must for social media success.

By creating a social sharing calendar, you can plan themes, promotions, and spot gaps in your posting schedule.

Having a plan also helps avoid the time-suck associated with social media marketing.

For my team, we develop monthly “themes” and build our blog posts, social media updates, graphics, and products around these themes. This keeps us focused and helps us overcome those moments of writers block since we can refer to our content outlines developed early in the year.

Conclusion & Next Steps

Before you set out to use social media to expand your brand’s reach, invest some time to create a social media marketing strategy. Know who are targeting, where they should be targeted, and how you will target them.

With these key elements in place, you will realize greater success in both the sales and marketing your product.

Generate Sales with Social Media Workshop Banner with Shaun

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