With more than fifty percent of global consumers utilizing the web as their chief purchase medium,social media ecosystem has posed a major challenge to most of the companies which were primarily dependent upon traditional advertising and marketing tactics to ensure their return on investments. However this phenomenon simply can’t be ignored. Earlier companies use to dictate the various ways of their communication with their prospective clients. In certain cases, customers were required to call customer care or fill out various forms on the web, call a sales representative or visit the dealer to return the specific purchased commodity.

But today the consumer holds firm control and all companies have been literally forced to adapt accordingly since social media has empowered a buyer to connect with the world for free, 24 * 7, all year long. Corporations and smaller companies are now realizing the need for a social media strategy and its usage has been doubled up since last 2 – 3 years. Latest research suggests that almost all companies are now using social media in one form or the other to effectively reach their prospective.

How to Start?

To initiate your efforts for the quickest return on investment, the following list of social media integration plan focusing on executing specific programs, would be the best platform:

  • Micro blogging site such as Twitter.
  • Discussion forums such as LinkedIn and Edmunds.
  • Product specific blogs.
  • Product ratings sites such as Opinions or Trip Advisor.
  • Multimedia sites such as Vimeo or YouTube.
  • Social networking sites such as Pinterest and Face book.

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How to Utilize Social Media Content?

Content holds the pivotal spot and should be efficiently utilized to establish effective thought management and domain proficiency, to communicate hot issues and correlate with influencers. One should use short, catchy and brief text with proper bullets, headers and images to effectively leverage all social mediums. From this point onwards the sole objective of every social media strategist should be to develop a strong strategy which effectively utilizes the following social media outlets:

Blog Post

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  • Requesting other bloggers to blog.
  • Post to a LinkedIn, Google+.
  • Tweet the blog.
  • Guest blog post.
  • Posting on Face book.

Twitter

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  • Include a Twitter handle in your email signature, business card.
  • Tweet to a number of groups interest.
  • Tweet contents to followers.
  • Re-tweet to those with high Twitter grades.
  • Tweet to @ based on other people’s influential linkups.

Website

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  • Add the content on the website.
  • Bundle the content as a digital asset like a PDF or e-book.
  • Offer the content as an entry asset.
  • Create a pay per click offer.

YouTube

  • Upload a voice over of the content along with an image on YouTube.
  • Post a podcast of the content on YouTube.

Facebook

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  • Post a comment.
  • Post an image from the content.
  • Offer incentives to encourage friends to share comments.
  • Offer incentives to encourage friends to share comments.

LinkedIn

  • Launch a pay-per-click campaign.
  • Post to the company product page.
  • Share with connections and groups.

Pinterest

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  • Post images of the content.
  • Generate a board for your content.
  • Join group boards.

Slide Share

  • Post a deck to Slide share with calls to action.
  • Post to LinkedIn and Google+.

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With various new social media platforms and tools constantly emerging, the real serious challenge is not to fall into the trap of considering social media as a tactical concept rather than a strategic one. It’s well believed that the best social media strategies are tools-atheist and sets forth objectives which surpass any particular social platforms. Following are the steps to design effective social media strategy:

Erect an Ark

The stepping stone in this process is to assemble a cross-functional squad to conceive, operate and achieve the planned strategy. Social media strategy should not be centralized and it should be more like fresh air touching all corners of your business.

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Listen and Engage

People wish to interact and form relationships with products online. Serving those fans with better product, services, giveaways, providing social interface and real-time replies separate the companies above the competition. The reality is that your prospective customers and competitors will provide you a better guide on how effectively you should be using social media. User friendly content, videos, blog posts and tweets, spread all over the web should be utilized to harness the power of brand, to address customer concerns and to fix problems.

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Selecting Real-Time Apps

Recent studies reveal that around 80 percent of businesses using Twitter feeds, ratings, comments and reviews on their homepages have literally increased their user engagement. Forty two percent have boosted their average on site traffic and conversion rate. These tools empower customers to effectively interact and share their content and constant updating immensely improves search engine visibility.

Analyze Your Clients

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The analysis process includes verification of the demographic and psychographic distinctiveness of your current prospective clients and its impact on your attempt in social media arena.

Authenticity

Be authentic, otherwise the same brand advocates, campaigning your very product, would be the first to criticize and call out shady behavior which won’t reflect real brand culture. Always consult your community for help when it comes to content, when in doubt, as they always are loaded up with quality queries.

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The One Thing

It really doesn’t matter what you do or what you sell, as your product benefits and features aren’t enough to stir a passion-worth by itself. The key is how you will organize appeal to the heart of your prospective customer, rather than targeting their head. Just as Disney is about magic and Apple is about innovation, your company should be about that one thing which touches their hearts and feelings.

Assessing the Field of Competition

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Asses the brands that is competitive and complementary to your product. Perform some quick research and brainstorming to seek those and follow all of them on your account to keep an eye on them. Also connect to any major news sources of your industry to gather maximum information.

Social media strategy planning and execution is more comprehensive than what we normally believe in. We sincerely hope that this article will immensely assist you in chalking out clever strategies and help you in all your business endeavors.