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This article is written by Vince Chiofolo from Boom Digital.

Social media is a nifty marketing tool, and can be a lot of fun too (celebrity Tweets, Candy Crush or cat pictures— pick your own vice, I’ll take cat pics). But be that as it may, a brand’s existence on social media alone will not drive the organic traffic needed to build a strong web presence (and reaching level 600 on Candy Crush is virtually worthless in this pursuit).

Many unattended social presences tend to stagnate over time and offer fruitless results for brands. They kind of just exist. Collect dust. Like that old treadmill you’re presently using as a coat rack, but only until you have time to clean the clutter out of your closet, which you can’t do yet because you’re busy trying to get in shape, which you can’t do yet because your treadmill has clothes on it.

The best way to utilize social channels and drive valuable traffic is to develop a strategic social media marketing plan. While every organization will have different needs—here are five simple tips that will make developing this strategy seamless and stress-free.

Know Where your Audience “Lives”

Would you be more likely to find your ideal customers in a dentist’s office or a pillow fort? If it’s the latter, that’s exactly where you’d want to have a presence (I mean, who wouldn’t?). On the web, it’s not much different. Social media does not simply mean Facebook. Social media does not mean Facebook and Twitter. Social media does not even mean Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and MySpace (lolz, MySpace). There are dozens of social networking sites big and small. Finding the right ones and using them in sync with one another will help you reach your audience on the best level possible. You may receive a vastly different result by posting on Tumblr than you will by posting on LinkedIn – depending on which your audiences tends to use as their pillow fort. If you work in a niche market, you NEED to find the niche sites to connect with the right audience.

Create Buyer Personas

Instead of marketing to the masses, like wildly throwing like spaghetti against the wall hoping some sticks, create buyer or client personas of the type of people that you wish to reach with your social media marketing campaign. Create different buyer personas that include information such as potential demographics, background and identifiers. Then, with every social media action you take, you have a potential reader or follower to target.

Build a Posting Pattern

Posting five times today before waiting another week until you post again may confuse or more likely annoy your followers. Try to develop a pattern of posting that is somewhat predictable and fits in with the audience expects as far as content frequency. This may involve using automation tools (such as Hootsuite or SocialFlow) to schedule posts and avoid any inconsistencies.

Remember, the Keyword is Social

When it comes to social media marketing, many times “marketing” becomes the focus. For the best, most organic results, “social” should be the emphasis. Strategize ways to make every post engaging so that your followers will want to interact with you and provide you with those ever-valuable social shares.

Analyze your Results

Use the tools available to you and find out who you are reaching and what these people are doing once you are reaching them. But don’t let numbers drive you crazy. If your reach seems low, but the people you reach are highly-engaged and interacting, you are succeeding. Quality often outweighs quantity. Be flexible and don’t be afraid to make changes, but constantly watch and see what bares some impact and what doesn’t. Then roll with the impact and streamline the approach.

While developing a social media marketing strategy may involve an investment of time and effort, the rewards can incredible for brands. Social media marketing is important and only becoming more vital to the growth of brands. Retweets and Likes aside, a strategic social platform could influence immense bottom-line growth to sales and retention that may otherwise go unseen. In your quest to build your social media empire, do not try to be all things to all people. Strategize, execute and analyze. You will be amazed by what a vast social reach could do.


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