Plans define how close or far you can come to success. It is pretty safe to say that 8 times out of 10 if there is no plan there is little success. Now if you don’t want to be successful in your social media read no further. With the time, effort and money it takes to execute a social media strategy for your tourism business, one would think that success is at the front of the line.
How to prepare for a successful social media marketing program
Great, you are looking for success and you do want to have return on your investment, whether it be time, staff resources, effort or money. Success is planning and planning will bring you to success. Marketing is organic and in 2012 things are moving quickly so be prepared to keep up to date on changes. Bottom line is, strategy is strategy and even though there are new social media networks popping up all the time, yoru strategy needs to remain about the same. Oh, and you need to a have a strategy….really you do.
Be knowledgable, know the basics and understand the purpose of social media
Before you even put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, read. Read as much as you can about these three things:
1. What is social media – Understand what social media is, what defines a social media platform and what is a social media network.
2. What is the purpose of social media, what it is supposed to do? If you don’t know the role of social media in marketing, then how will you know what to do, what to expect and how to measure results. Social media has a define place in marketing like public relations does, advertising and media relations. Know the purpose and know what social media is supposed to deliver.
3. What results have people been having with social media and what results would you like to have with social media. Immediate viral communications is a hit or miss. Ongoing relationships, lead generation, exposure, brand awareness, now we are talking.
Understand Social Media strategies and tactics
If you want to be a doctor you need to understand the basics of the human body, the basic strategies to save a patient, the basics on how to take blood, read reports and treat your patients. Without this information, the steps that need to be taken to save a heart attack patient or diagnosis a cold or pneumonia, your patient success will be few and far between.
There are some basic social media marketing strategies that will lead to your success. Know them, understand them, work with them, test them.Learn how people are using social media strategies and how you can use them for your business. The stratgies are general and you will need to define for your tourism business the best way to adapt the strategies for you audience. But know them so you can work within the parameters of social media not on the sidelines.Share this information with your staff so they too can work with the strategies on and off line.
Review how you and your competitors are currently engaging in cyberspace
This does not have to be solely on social media. Remember you are about to start your plan, so you may not have your own social media networks yet. Are people writing reviews on third party sights about your tourism business? If so which ones. Are people talking about you on Twitter even though you are not on Twitter. If so what are they saying. Are guests posting videos of their vacation, your destination and your business. What are people saying about your competitors. What are you competitors doing on social media? Do some looking around and find out what people are saying about you, the social media they are using and what is happening with your competitors.
Move slow and steady when you build your plan
Your are 30% there! The three items that you have just researched are part of your plan! Now put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard and start building your plan. take slow and steady and remember the devil is in the details. Fill out your basic strategies first, add your tactics and then fine tune the plan so anyone and everyone can understand it.
Remember to evaluate your great plan
A plan is only as good at the results. If you review your plan and did not meet your goals, it is not a bust it just means you need to go back to the drawing board. Were your expectations unrealistic, did you not have enough defined strategies to get you where you needed to go, did you define your market well enough or is your market different than what you thought it to be. Your goals need to be clear, evaluation tools put in place when you set up your plan and track your success!
Ron Mattodes used a great example of people trying to execute a military action without a plan. No one on this team knew how to hold a gun, no one knew what they were trying to accomplish, no one knew what their role was in this sting. The result was, a real live 3 stooges movie where there was just chaos but nothing was accomplished. No plan = no success. Plan = success
Pull out yoru plan and see if you have included all of these steps in your social media planning process. If you have not, do you feel you are getting the engagement that you deserve? Pick up the few pieces that you forgot to do in the beginning and plan again, but this time plan for success, not just a plan for plan sake.
Photo credit – sheknowstravel