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Target Social Media Marketing Plan

Any hunter will tell you you must carefully aim for your target when you want to bag a buck or a rabbit because "buckshotting" the whole field doesn't work,

The same thing goes for trying to bring new names onto your client list-and of course social media is the newest way to do it. It would be nice if everyone understood how best to use it.

Toward that end, social media strategy consultant Neal Schaffer, offers several suggestions on how to manage marketing on LinkedIn and Facebook in his book 

Many company leaders understand that in order to survive in today's business world, their companies must have a social media presence, he notes, but to the detriment of many organizations, strategy is lagging (way) behind.

 And when no strategy is present, he says individuals from different departments tweet at will, using the company's official handle. Some of these 140-character messages are loaded down with cumbersome language from the company's Web copy guidelines; others are peppered with abbreviations like "u," "r," and "2." On Facebook, users who "like" the company's page find that their newsfeeds are bombarded with promotions, surveys, and so called "news." Meanwhile, clients are posting positive and negative feedback on both sites. Sometimes these comments receive responses; sometimes they don't. (And that's not even taking into account LinkedIn, Pinterest, the company's blog, and more!)

   "In using such a scattershot approach to social media, these organizations are missing out on major opportunities to engage with potential and current customers, manage their reputations, and more-and they may be alienating social media users in the process," says Schaffer, "Without a social media strategy, how do you know what you're trying to achieve, what you should be doing, how well you're doing, what you should be measuring, and what the ROI of your social media program is?" 

 Here, Schaffer shares eleven essential components of a comprehensive social media strategy:

Branding: Be consistent across all channels. Most businesses already have brand guidelines (including naming, color scheme, and imagery), and these should be applied to your social media properties as well.  

Schaffer points out. "In most instances it's okay to be less formal on social media channels-just make sure that your updates, statuses, comments, etc. 'speak' with a unified voice. In the planning process, be sure to ask who

Content: Engage in conversation. Although cynics might dub it a mindless vacuum, social media is really about the convergence of communication and information. That being the case, what you share and talk about with social media users is important. Content provides the medium to help you engage in conversation-and creating content that is truly resourceful and shareable can have many long-term benefits to your company's social media presence. 

"Keep in mind that content isn't just about blog posts, photos, and videos," reminds Schaffer. "Think outside of the box! Presentations, infographics, memes, and even discussions (such as in a LinkedIn Group) are all types of content that should be considered for your social media strategy!"

Channels: Join the right networks for your company. There are currently more than 50 social networks with more than 10 million members. You can't-and shouldn't-have a presence on every single one of them. Deciding which social networks to engage in, and creating internal best practices and tactical plans for each of these networks, will form a sizable part of your social media strategy.

"While most companies concentrate on the more established social networks, depending on your industry, the new emerging social networks of Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram might be equally important," points out Schaffer.

Frequency: Post strategically, not constantly. No two social networks are alike, and with limited resources, you'll need to decide how much time you are going to spend on each platform, as well as what you'll be doing there. (This will help you to maximize your ROI for time and resources spent.) It's also important to tweak your frequency strategy for each social network from time to time so as to maximize the effectiveness of your posting.
"Believe it or not, frequent posting doesn't necessarily make your social media more effective," shares Schaffer. "For instance, research shows that when a brand posts on Facebook twice a day, those posts receive only 57 percent of the likes and 78 percent of the comments per post that a single post receives." 

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