Social media is still trending and there are so many women owned businesses who have not jumped on the bandwagon. Why? It seems as though they might not be seeing the value of it in their own business. Then when they do use social media they have a hard time keeping up. Most businesses tend to just jump on a social network and proceed by trial and error. What is the missing step here? The planning phase of course!

This is the big enchilada for any business, but how do they go about planning? The long-term planning process for most business owners is something they do not think is necessary. Most of our case studies have shown that clear, in-depth marketing and planning has led to a decrease in customer acquisition cost by nearly 50 percent. Then there are those who strongly believe there is no such thing as a social media ROI. Well, here is news for you — a social media ROI is possible with a plan in place.

Clear objectives include both short- and long-term ones. The short-term objectives include immediate traffic to the site, list-building activities, sales, and acquiring new visitors to the website. The long-term goals should center around brand awareness and reach, impact on customer sentiment, consumer insights, and reduction in marketing costs.
Here is a typical list of objectives:

• Filled out contact form
• Online purchase
• Used the online “Get A Quote” feature
• Downloaded a report
• Signed-up to a newsletter
• Time spent on the webpage
• Clicked an affiliate link
• Viewed a video
• Social Sharing (like, follow, etc.)

Best Practice: Start by acquiring a list of the top industry leaders and strategically reach out to them. When I wanted to reach out to a national makeup chain, I creatively crafted a letter, which sparked their interest, and then sent their whole staff pizza during lunch. The key influencer I wanted to reach out to gave me a call to thank me. Once you get the key influencer in the door, offer them value right away or you may just miss out on the opportunity.

Target Audience
Do you think you have clearly defined your target audience? When the target audience is clearly defined, a business should have no problem making sales. You will know exactly what the emotional and social triggers are around your products and services so you can deliver them accordingly. The business owner should be thinking about the audience’s buying behavior and how to possibly re-market if a purchase isn’t made the first time.
Typical target audience data includes:
• Age, sex, location
• Gender
• Status
• Interests/hobbies
• Goals
• Impulsive or analytical
• Personality traits
• Career/vocation
• Income

Best Practice: Create a persona around your product or service. Remember, marketing is not about you, it is about your target audience and how they want to be approached. Sometimes we have to accept the fact we are just not a good fit for our target audience and another representative needs to take our place. We can create a “cartoon” like character that represents the brand and the product and promotes it to the target audience.

The strategy should revolve around the objectives and how the goals will be carried out. Think about what needs to be done online to make the buying process simple for the customers. How will you convince people to vouch for your product or service to create momentum? How will you follow-up? (Most people buy stuff just because you follow-up with them). The core offer must be simple enough to use to attract the customer. The packaging must align with the brand and it must be catchy. Last, the strategy should revolve around the adoption of the changing mentality or it must change the mentality.

Best Practice: Start with a blogger outreach program to attract different types of influencers to give you feedback and help you distribute your product or service to their audience.

The tactics are always changing and they may differ depending on what works and what doesn’t through the testing methods. The strategy for your business will also determine the tactics the business will use to get from Point A to Point B.
Some of the most popular tactics for 2014 include video creation, video marketing, and storytelling. However, there are so many businesses in the marketplace creating videos, so what do you do? Make your videos interactive and the engagement will follow. This is a great list building tactic as well. Here is a fun example of how interaction meets engagement: VOGA Interactive Catalog andHoliday Open Day. This is all done through storytelling.

We use resources such as:
• Add interaction to your videos: Vidzor
• Tune-up your video marketing with: BrainBoxVideo
• Create a video ad in seconds with: ViddyAd
• Use StoryTelling Creator as our main storytelling platform

Other popular tactics include contests on Facebook. This is another great list building tactic. Although it is not as targeted as hosting a webinar would be. In order to create Facebook contests and collect data from your consumers use: WishPond.

Best Practice: Host a live event and build a list. Then use the Facebook contest app for a giveaway and build your list even more. Then have a webinar to promote an offer to the list and up sell the list with your core offer.

ROI Measurement And Metrics
The most important step of marketing is tracking all your metrics. Here is what you should be tracking with the popular Google Analytics application:

• Organic Google traffic within the search results
• Paid Adwords traffic within Google Adwords
• Direct Visitors Traffic (People who type in the URL or use a bookmark)
• referrals
• referrals
• referrals
• referrals
• referrals
• referrals
• Newsletter referrals
• E-mail signature referrals
• Referrals from other websites
• Referrals from ad banners

When it comes to ROI, set values for your conversions. For example, if 20 people fill out a form on the website, what would you pay per filled form? Set these values, track them using the Google Analytics, then review your strategy.

Did we forget anything? Please join the discussion by commenting below.

About Your Columnist

Sweta Patel is a featured columnist for Women Taking Charge, the official blog of Connected Women of Influence, where she covers everything about social media and lead generation online. Sweta is a San Diego-based marketing entrepreneur whose company is Global Marketing Tactics.

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