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Nothing much is better than cake. No, we mean it: spongy, sweet, deep gold—warm right out of the oven. It takes some effort to create such perfection, but the taste, lyrical on the tongue, is so worth it. We think your business’s social media strategy is a bit like that: worth the work.
Social media is about connection. With an increasingly tech-savvy, knowledgeable, and instant-gratification-demanding audience, it’s the most effective way to reach your customers across multiple channels - as they are, where they are, and when they are. It’s also the fastest way to allow potential customers to find you, building brand awareness, trust, and loyalty.
Crafting a successful social media strategy in 2014 is like baking a cake. So don your favorite apron, break out the mixing bowls, and learn how to give your customers what they want, when they want it.
Just as you cannot bake a cake without a recipe, you cannot conduct an intentional social media campaign without a plan. The small business mantra for social media this year will move from, “Huh, maybe we should try that” to “We have to do that, too!” As more companies jump on the bandwagon, social media will become a necessity in 2014.
That means you have to get serious about social. Sit down and outline your target audience, goals (in terms of reach, referral traffic, and revenue), and an editorial content calendar. Allocate a budget and resources.
But you don’t have to become overwhelmed. As with any recipe, take it one step at a time.
Flour, sugar, butter, eggs. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest. There are a plethora of ingredients and social media sites, but you should devote your time and resources to the ones that work best for your particular cake and business.
If you’re new to social media or lacking sufficient resources in that area, Google+ is your one-stop-shop for social networking. Although Facebook is still the most popular social media site, Google+ is nipping at its heels. And with Facebook’s latest algorithm that severely restricts organic reach, virtually forcing page owners to pay to be seen, Google+ may very well overtake it.
Google+ has quickly become a powerful marketing tool for businesses, allowing them to create virtual communities, extend their reach, target the right people, and move their content. This is one ingredient you won’t want to leave out.
2014 will also see the rise of visual and video social content with sites like Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, and Vine skyrocketing in popularity. The image will become just as important as the written word. Maybe even more.
Consider the visual aesthetics of your website, the share-ability of your images, and the power of telling your story through pictures. Also, make video a key component of your marketing plan and capitalize on the real-time, micro-video movement.
Without a little thermal conduction, your ingredients are just that: ingredients. The oven is that seemingly-magical incubator that turns the disparate parts into a delectable whole. An inactive Facebook or Twitter page may actually do you more harm than good. So turn up the heat on your social media engagement. You’ll need to post fresh content, comment, like, tweet @, and repin with consistency and vigor.
Be passionate about connecting with your customers and provide them with the timely, provocative, and pertinent information they’re looking for—and looking to share.
We know what you’re thinking. You don’t have the manpower to orchestrate something of that magnitude. We get it. But you can still listen to your customers and respond to their needs. Trust us, they’ll repay you with their gratitude.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Make it a goal to connect with at least 10 people every week, since every small interaction ripples outward and makes an impact. Post and curate high quality content, something people will want to talk about. Then give them time to do just that. Soon enough, your cake will rise.
We’re not quite finished with this cake yet. Join us at the end of the week for more social media strategy tips in 2014! In the meantime, sound off in the comments about your social media networks of choice. Which social media trends do you think are here to stay and which ones do you think might fall by the wayside?