I thought it would be helpful to include answers to some of the frequently asked questions I get asked regularly on marketing and social media.
Don’t panic if you think you’re the one who asked me a particular question as you won’t be alone!
Do I really need a marketing plan?
Yes, you do!
I use the analogy of a car journey to describe why having a marketing plan is important. Gone are the days when you just used to wander off for a drive with the family on Sunday. Now you need to know that destination – your destination is your business goal.
You start with the right tools – make sure your car has fuel, the tyres don’t need air, your Sat Nav is up to date. You set the SatNav or if you’re like my husband, look up and get directions from Google Maps. You want to make sure you know how to reach your destination. You follow the SatNav’s directions. There may be roadblocks, diversions or accidents en route but you navigate your way round them until you reach where you want to go – your goal!
So, think of your Marketing Plan as the SatNav for your business that will help you keep on track and focussed on your goal, despite whatever diversion you take on the way.
What is the difference between a marketing strategy and a marketing plan?
A marketing strategy is your overall game plan for reaching prospective consumers and turning them into customers of your products or services. Your strategy contains the company’s value proposition, key brand messaging, data on target customer demographics, and other high-level elements.
Your marketing plan explains in detail how your strategy will be executed. It dives into the specifics—what channels and tactics you’re using, which segment of the audience you’re targeting, when initiatives are happening and how you’ll measure success.
Marketing plans can range from three months to a year, and should remain semi-flexible in case marketing needs to shift priorities.
Think of your marketing strategy as the Why, and your marketing plan as the How, What, Where and When!
Why should I bother with social media?
While I’m a great believer in meeting people in person, you really should also be harnessing the power of the internet to network online, which is where social media comes into its own. Social media is all around us and has become a daily part of people’s lives.
Your customers ARE on social media!
Here are a few of reasons why:
Improve search engine rankings
To make sales
Create loyal customers
Reconnect with business associates
Create positive word of mouth
Know what people are saying about you!
Does my business need a website?
The simple answer is- websites can help you generate business, sales, leads and also increase your brand value. It helps in terms of increasing credibility in front of customers and helps businesses showcase their services to the targeted audience.
Your website will be live 24/7 365 days a year promoting your business and introducing your services to your potential clients.
Having a website is also one of the vital sources of social credibility.
I’m not going to say ‘build it and they will come’ as you still need to drive traffic to your website which is why combining this with social media is important.
Why is my website speed important?
Visitors now expect, and demand, fast loading times.
A slow website speed means your visitors will get confused or frustrated. Fast load speed is a priority when it comes to user experience.
40% of people will abandon your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
Google is making it more important for your website to load faster if you want to be found online, particularly on mobile devices.
What Google cares about is real-world performance and this is what your website visitors want as well. Your visitor’s perception of speed is by far-and-away the most important performance characteristic. This is why Google highly favours websites that have been optimised for speed.
Read more on my blog: Is your website up to speed? You need to know now!
Which is the best Social Media channel for my business?
The key to getting this right is working out who your target audience is – in detail!
Knowing who you want to reach will help you work out where you are likely to find them….where they hang out on social media.
For example, if you are working in a B2B environment a combination of LinkedIn and Twitter can be very effective but a Facebook business page could also be important too. It’s also important to check which channels your competitors are using.
Other things to consider are the type of content you want to produce. If you want to produce video then YouTube and Facebook will be important for you. You also need to decide how many different channels you can manage. 91% of retail brands use 2 or more social media channels.
While it’s highly unlikely that just using one channel to showcase your brand will be enough, striking the perfect balance can be tricky. Too many, and you’ll spread yourself too thinly and dilute the impact of your efforts as a result. Too few, and your visibility and reach might suffer.
Do your research and start posting consistently on the channels where your customers are and you are sure to achieve results.
Does it cost me anything to join Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube (delete as appropriate!)?
All these social media channels are free to join, however, there is a cost and that is the time you spend creating, responding and engaging on any social channel…and time is money!
If you really want to achieve reach you may need to advertise as well.
What is a # hashtag?
A hashtag is a word or an unspaced phrase prefixed with the hash character,
# to form a label. It is a type of metadata tag. Words or phrases in messages on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Twitter can be tagged by entering # before them, either as they appear in a sentence, e.g.,
“Learn more about social media at #SMMW2017“
or added to it at the end, e.g.,
“Check your retweet stats to find out when your followers are most active. Then plan to post during those times peak times #TwitterTips”.
Basically, a hashtag allows grouping of similarly tagged messages and so that a search will return all messages that contain it.
Because of its widespread use hashtag was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in June 2014.
What’s the best time of day to post on Social Media?
You can find lots of statistics on the best times of day to post, tweet, share and blog, however, these are generalisations and you should look at the Analytics on your accounts to really see when your audience is looking at your content.
Over the past few years, the Analytics embedded in each platform have improved enormously and so are a good source of data.
You should also think about your specific customer target – what are their social media habits likely to be? For example, you might find it difficult to reach a Mumpreneur at school run time.
Do my Social Media accounts need to be consistent?
Yes! Not only will it be easier for you to promote your social media accounts if they’re consistent, but it will also be easier for fans to find and tag you. When usernames (aka ‘handles’) are different across every network, it can get confusing.
This can be difficult to achieve with the username limitation on some social media platforms but get as close as you can and you’ll be much easier to recognise.
Do I need an advertising budget?
Though an advertising budget isn’t essential, I highly recommend you do have one. An advertising budget allows us to quickly leverage the data on your target audience and reach more people quicker than just relying on organic reach.
Advertising on Facebook is very cost-effective. Depending on your goals, your budget can start at £50, £100, or £200 a month.
How will I know if social media is working for my business?
Your social media profiles will be managed and monitored on an ongoing basis so we can quickly see what’s working and what isn’t.
There are immediate benefits you can expect when you start using social media but you still have to earn customer engagement which can take time. The key is to consistently post great content that drives a conversation between you and your audience.