Social Media in Your Strategic Marketing Plan

When was the last time you thought about the role social media played as a part of your strategic marketing plan process?

Do you see it as the first thing you jump in and do?  Or do you see it as a supportive tactic that will help you reach your strategic marketing goal? 

The answer to these questions is more important than you might think.

Social media can work — but it needs to be used as a tactic on top of your foundational marketing plan rather than as a standalone strategy. In other words, social media isn’t foundational to building a successful marketing strategy.

If you are a small to midsize business (SMB), you’ll need to carefully consider whether social is a beneficial marketing tactic to your bottomline or not. And before you can even begin to consider which tactics you will use as part of your marketing roadmap, you’ll need to establish a solid foundation for your marketing efforts.

Once you have your solid marketing foundation, you can begin to look at the ways in which you will execute your plan. This is where social media can fit in nicely and be a very useful tool in your toolbox.

Social Media + Brand / Identity

A key pillar in your marketing foundation is having a well-thought-out brand/identity. And leveraging social media to promote your products and services is a great way to establish and solidify your brand. 

But, you must assess your  brand first (understand your strengths and identify your weaknesses) and fill in the gaps before you can  begin using social media. Once you are there, things like ensuring your color palette is carried out throughout your social media posts and having a consistent tone of voice is important. Even using hashtags that are consistent with your brand will be key.

Social Media + CRM

A customer relationship management (CRM) system is another pillar in your marketing foundation. Salesforce calls it Social CRMthe integration of social media channels into CRM platforms.

When CRM platforms support social media strategy (among other more traditional communication methods), you can provide better customer service based on the customer’s social media engagement data. Many customers simply prefer to use social media as a means of communicating feedback to businesses these days. 

In fact, according to Oberlo’s 2020 Social Media Statistics report, 71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend the brand to their friends and family.

So what’s the take away? Knowing what your customers say and how they engage with you on social media will add to your understanding of their needs and wants. This gives you a whole new channel for capturing leads and converting to loyal customers.

Notice that the CRM platform supports social media, not the other way around.

Check out the 7 Best Social CRM platforms according to CRM.org.

Social Media + Online Presence/Website

An online presence (a website) is vital to the success of your marketing foundation. But there’s more to it than just launching your site and waiting for visitors to come. 

As an inbound marketing tool, social media can be a big help to bringing people to your website.

A survey conducted by Clutch and Smart Insights a few years back found that about 80 percent of companies share mostly original content on social media. And why wouldn’t they? Creating great content on your website and promoting it through your social media channels is a terrific way to get customers onto your site and looking around.

Social Media + Email Marketing

In marketing your SMB, there is no either/or when it comes to social media and email. Social media is the inbound Yin to your outbound email campaign Yang. They work together very, very well and both email and social media can be great ways to send people to your website. Consider this: email generates $38 for every $1 spent. The result is an astounding 3,800% ROI and there are roughly 3.5 billion social media users worldwide That’s a huge pot to pick from!

According to Neil Patel, email converts better than social media. But what about the customers who aren’t on email? Social media might be the answer for them, he says.

Social Media Drawbacks

Social media is more successful when you’ve established a plan for your marketing. It’s meant to be a value-add not the foundation of your marketing plan. 

For many SMBs, the process of evaluating, engaging and executing a marketing roadmap may be more than they can handle at any one time. When done right, developing a strategic marketing plan and executing on it can seem daunting and time consuming. 

Second, social media is not free. The time it takes to manage and leverage your social media accounts alone is huge. And as business owners you know that “time = money”.

The 2017 Clutch survey highlights the major challenges companies face with social media are not having enough human and financial resources (26%), lacking a formal strategy (24%), and building a community of followers and influencers (24%). 

In the end, social media is a big commitment and it’s not for everybody.

If you are wondering how strong your own marketing foundation is, Tomato Fish has a tool that can help. Discover a bit more about our tool, redMAP and even take a free quiz to assess where you stand. And of course, if you want to talk over the results, we’d be glad to schedule a consultation (free, of course) to get you moving in the right direction.

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Who we are: Tomato Fish Marketing is an Indianapolis marketing company focused on helping small and midsize businesses make good strategic planning decisions.