The buyer path is much more complex than it used to be. This is due to the sheer volume of information on the Internet and social networks that connect people all over the world that build their circles of influence. Thus, people now travel a much less linear path when making decisions as they engage on social platforms and gather insights from a variety of sources.
The mortgage and real estate industries have embraced key social networks, using them successfully to create awareness and engage with home buyers, home sellers, and B2B companies that provide industry-related services and technology. Yet, there are still many companies in these industries that are having trouble keeping up with this trend. And they are missing out on a significant opportunity to connect with their audiences. They either lack the strategy or the bandwidth – or both – to leverage these networks in a meaningful way that drives audience engagement and ultimately conversions.
On the other hand, companies that are doing it well have a distinct competitive advantage. After all, if the ROI wasn’t there, they would not waste their time with social media.
Therefore, it’s important to understand how to develop a solid social strategy that creates a foundation for audience engagement, and what activities are best leveraged to drive that engagement.
Here’s what your social media engagement strategy needs to include…
1. Your business goals. Do you want to increase your brand awareness, reduce marketing costs, get more leads, or all the above? Clearly identifying your goals will help you focus your posts so that you get your audience engaged in a way that is productive.
2. Achievable marketing objectives. Examples include identifying how many leads you wish to generate, percentage increase in engagement, percentage increase in awareness, website traffic, etc. Setting your objectives will help drive strategic follow-through.
3. Analytics and tracking tools. You must ensure you can measure how you are performing against your objectives and determine what adjustments in strategy need to be made.
4. Who your target audiences are and what makes them tick. Target audiences can be identified by age range, occupation, income, credit score, debt, interests, challenges, likes, dislikes, objectives, and motivations. Note that credit-related criteria needs to be purchased and has special usage requirements but can be used for ad-targeting purposes on paid platforms. The better you identify your target, the more productive your engagement will be.
5. Competitive research. Identify what networks key competitors use and what their content strategy is in terms of topics covered, post frequency and anything else you can discern. The competitors you should focus on – those you can learn the most from – will be the top players in your category that you know are profitable. Make sure you include a review of their paid strategy.
6. Which and how many social media platforms are you going to use? This should be based on audience demographics, your bandwidth and budget for paid promotions. Prioritizing your platforms and not over-extending yourself will be key to driving engagement successfully.
7. A content strategy. It’s very important to identify the type of content you will post (videos, infographics, industry updates, educational articles, etc.), the time of day you’ll post it, and frequency.
8. A budget. Developing a budget ensures that you can leverage the paid advertising platforms. The paid platforms allow you to upload target lists so that you get in front of the people that you are most interested in for any campaign you’re running. A purely organic strategy that relies on the free tools provided by social networks only reaches a very small portion of your audience and does not by itself constitute a real strategy.
9. Assignment of internal roles and responsibilities. This is where you identify who will create content, curate content, post content, manage your social media activities, and measure them.
10. Adaptability. Your social media marketing strategy should not be written in stone. As you move forward, adapt quickly to new conditions that could alter your focus and content, and introduce the necessary changes to your overall strategy so you stay relevant. Relevancy is key for engagement.
By incorporating these 10 elements into your social media strategy, you will automatically maximize the return on the time and money you spend on actively engaging with your key target audiences. Contact us if you would like some help or a free consultation.