Small Business and Social Media – Are you ready?

How do you know when to include Social Media into your Marketing Strategy?

The best time to include Social Media, at least on one channel that best suits your buyer personas, is Now. The network does matter so put thought into which network will garner the most bang for your Ad Buck or Organic effort. However, before you post even one update, you’ll want to embark on some planning.

Planning the Strategy Team

Planning carries with it a few phases or milestones to define:

  • What is the goal the team expects to accomplish?
    • SMART – Simple, Measurable, Achievable, Repeatable, Time based.
  • When does the campaign begin?
  • When will the campaign end?
  • What tools is the team going to use?
    • Scheduler
    • Channel
    • Content Curation Tool
    • Keyword tool
  • What skill sets are needed from resource members?
    • Copy writing
    • Proof Reading
    • Website Development
    • Content Management
    • Calendar Management
    • Social Media Management
  • What are the milestones and how is success measured?
    • Milestone completion can be measured by activities completed.
  • Where will activities take place and where?
    • Will the activities take place in the office, off site, as a team, via e-mail, via phone and conference software, a collaboration tool like Google Docs?


Post Strategy Planning

After planning is for your strategy session is completed, it’s time to decide who you want to reach, these are your buyers, where will you find them, and how will you reach them? This portion of content planning is directed to those who want to market Organically. I’ll address Ads in a later post.

Buyer Persona

The HubSpot Inbound Certification curriculum offers in-depth instructions aboutbuyer personas and how to develop them. Here, I’ll give you just a little explanation:

Buyer Personas are a semi-fictional representation of the people your products and services are meant to attract. Buyers are the people looking for products and services to that enhance their lives, make their businesses more efficient, or offer a benefit in some other way. The team is responsible for defining the best models to use when deciding who the buyer actually represents. The team will build Buyer Personas to define, in real-time, what buyers best fit products and services offered by your organization. 

The buyer persona can be 1 or 20 different profiles, the number of personas is up to the
team and goal. Each persona is built from interview with current and former customers, through surveys, and market research. Personas include subjects like line of work, years of experience, family, hobbies, education, income status, vacation, and future goals.

After developing the Buyer Persona you develop content to meet their needs during the Buyer’s Journey. What’s the Buyer’s Journey you ask?

The Buyer’s Journey defines where in the buying process the seeker is at that very moment. Your Seeker, as I call them, may be at the Awareness stage where they’ve discovered they have symptoms. They move into the Consideration stage where they do the research to figure out what the symptoms mean, Finally they enter the Decision Stage.

The marketing strategy developed by the team above needs to meet this person at every stage in the buyer’s journey in order to convert them into a delighted customer and loyal followers.

I’ll be back within the week to guide you through the next steps in helping your business enter the ranks of those using Social Media to improve sales, invest in their community of supporters, and delight their customers from the moment they laid eyes on your company.

For more information on HubSpot Inbound Certifications and more on delighting customers through every step of the buyers journey, stop in at HubSpot.com and click on Certifications.

Photo by –

Dwayne Blee – http://www.freeimages.com/photo/diary-page-1240501

Steven Goodwin – http://www.freeimages.com/photo/maze-1236395

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SMART GOALS – The Road-map to Successful Online Marketing Campaigns.

The planning process starts with an assessment of a need.  Then the determination of time the need must be fulfilled. A road-map helps organizations develop the planning process.

As we look to the year ahead, many small business owners have developed and defined their strategies for campaigns and agendas they want to achieve in 2016. How will they achieve these goals and under what circumstances is achievement defined?

The savvy small business owner starts out with a set of goals. In the goal setting process, many use what are termed SMART Goals. These are goals directed toward helping the organization meet their desired outcome throughout the year. However, each organization, person, or entrepreneur might use different words for the acronym that “SMART”.

For instance, some may use the following:

Simple, Measurable, Achievable, Repeatable, and Trackable

Or

Specific, Meaningful, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Based

Different organizations speak different languages, and different campaigns may measure different outcomes, but it all comes down to the same defining statement, we need a map to achieve our desired outcome. The following is just one way to go about Defining and Developing Smart Goals for your team.

Specific – Detailed enough for your organization to track. Simply Building Awareness is difficult to track because the concept has no end. The business owner wants to set a goal more defined, look to goals like percentage of increased revenue in a specific amount of time.

Measurable – Measurable means you can measure the success of your campaign. This can be achieved through analytics, increases in sales, and developing a formula for establishing an illustration of increased ROI.

Achievable – Make sure your benchmarks are achievable based on past experience. (If you’ve never used online resources, measure against something like word of mouth or mass mailing)

Relevant–The campaign must also be relevant to your mission, audience, your community’s vision, and where your posts are found.

Time-Base – Define a time frame in which you wish to achieve your stated goals. The first campaign may be a 1 week special or 6 month trial. The small business owner can assess the time in which achievement or failure is determined.

Every project has a beginning and an end. Campaigns should be measurable based on the time they’ve run, the network, and engagement with their audience. There are instances where Time Based can be substituted with Trackable because the organization may want to know where their campaign was received positively on a continual bases.

No matter how the small business owner defines SMART goals, they give direction, inspiration, motivation, and are simply a great first step in developing a plan (road-map) that works.