Use This Social Marketing Formula to Gain Business Results

Ask five questions to deliver specific social marketing results.

Opportunities for “doing” social marketing abound: A beauty brand seeking sales might cultivate user-generated video product reviews or usage tips from customers, or a global coffee brand might sponsor in-person events featuring master baristas to increase loyalty and repeat purchases.

However, increased social activity does not automatically lead to positive business results.

Don’t fall into the trap of confusing social marketing opportunity with a well-thought-out social marketing strategy. It’s critical to think beyond just the “how” of creating content and include the who, the where and other key strategic considerations.

Increased social activity does not automatically lead to positive business results.

“To succeed with social marketing, you need to be able to articulate your target audience, social networks of focus, content strategy and measurement plan,” said Jay Wilson, research director, Gartner for Marketers.

Articulate your social marketing strategy with this formula:



Answer five questions to fill in the blanks:

  1. Who do you want to engage?
  2. Where will you find them?
  3. How will you engage them?
  4. What will happen as a result of your engagement?
  5. How will you know you succeeded?

The first two questions establish a solid foundation for your entire approach.

Clarify who you want to engage

Social marketing messages delivered without defining your target audience and accounting for differences within that audience are destined to fail. Clarify which target audience you want to engage, what stage of the buying journey they are in and what they need.

Examine your customer personas to understand who uses social engagement in their customer journey. Connect personas with moments in the buying journey where social interactions can play a meaningful role. Where is your audience most likely to have the desired dialogue with you? Does this mean establishing a new presence on a new social network, or increasing investment in engagement tactics or paid advertising to make a connection with your existing social audience?

Personalized. People-based. Predictive.

The future of marketing is data and analytics. Are you ready?

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Find your audience

Locate the sites and tactics your audience uses most and where it is actively engaged to determine where to focus your efforts. Use social listening and analytics to uncover where the brand and category dialogue happens, where influencers drive the conversation and where engagement is high. Determine where you can cost-effectively and efficiently target your audience with paid social advertising.

“Form your tactics, content, tools, metrics, resource selection and investments by grounding them in the business objectives you seek to support,” said Mr. Wilson.

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