From business plan through marketing to social media from Webster City Iowa social media workshop by Tourism Currents

From business plan through marketing to social media from our Webster City & Hamilton County, Iowa social media workshop

When you publish a post on Facebook, update your LinkedIn Page, send out a tweet, upload a photo to Instagram, embed a video in a blog post….can you explain each time WHY you are doing it?

Can you connect your social media to your marketing strategy?

Can you show how each piece of your social media content supports one or more of your marketing goals, which should in turn support the overall business plan for your organization?

If not, take heart – you are most definitely not alone, and we’re going to help you with that, right this minute.

Social media —-> supports marketing communications —-> supports overall business plan and goals.

(Note: quite often, social media will also help you with customer service and market research, but for now we’ll focus on its role in marketing communications.)

First, Get A Plan

You can’t track your social media through your marketing plan unless you have a marketing plan. You can’t track it through your marketing to your overall business plan if you don’t have a business plan.

Don’t worry if you don’t have either one – let’s point you to some resources. Take the time to do at least a one-pager for each, if that’s all the time you have right now. “Well begun is half done.”

Need a basic template for a business plan that doesn’t result in an overwhelming 48-page monster document? Try Small Biz Survival’s simple business plan.

Need a basic template for a marketing plan that doesn’t take a week to build (and so it never gets done?) Small Biz Survival has you covered there, too, with her simple marketing plan. It’s made for a small business but the template works fine for just about any organization. Here is another one-page marketing plan template that we like.

Pull The Thread From Strategy To Tactics

After watching TwoSixDigital‘s Dave Serino step through a strategy-to-tactics process at TTIA Travel & Tourism College, our co-founder Sheila Scarborough ran through our own version recently with the Webster City, Iowa Area Chamber of Commerce, plus their members and Hamilton County tourism partners.

She used a flip-pad of paper to sketch this out; nothing fancy. You could do it on any blank piece of paper.

Using a fictional small town antiques shop as an example, Sheila drilled down from the shop’s overall business/organizational plan to ideas for individual updates on the shop’s Facebook Page.

Starting with basic business goals for such a shop, she talked about some possible marketing goals for it for the next few years, specifically that to make the business stand out from every other small town antiques shop, it would focus on drawing in customers looking for two niche dishware items: Blue Willow and Fiestaware.

Why so specific?

Well, of course you could say that your overall marketing goal is simply to “sell more stuff,” but it’s a lot easier to set achievable, measurable goals when you focus on a particular market niche where you know you have special offerings or expertise.

To bring social media into your marketing plan, start by asking a variation of the same 3 questions you should ask for every marketing effort:

1)  Who is your market? Who is your “perfect customer, visitor, or guest?”

2)  Where are they on social media?

3)  With the time, resources, and money available to you, what is the best way to reach them where they are on social?

After some discussion, the audience in Webster City felt that a Facebook Page made the most sense for the antiques shop, and they came up with ideas for what sort of Page content would be attractive to customers seeking Blue Willow (we set aside the Fiestaware market for another time, but a variation of the Blue Willow-related posts could work for helping to reach Fiestaware enthusiasts.)

Ideas for Facebook Page updates to attract Blue Willow customers Webster City Iowa social media workshop by Tourism Currents

Ideas for Facebook Page updates to attract Blue Willow customers to a fictional Webster City, Iowa antiques shop

As you can see from the notes in the photo above, ideas included a lot of visuals like seasonal table settings with Blue Willow dishes, different camera angles (dishware shot from above, close-up shots, etc.,) and people using the dishware.

The workshop audience talked about asking the shop’s most active customers to participate in the photos, and then tag themselves so that their networks would see them in the photos with the Blue Willow, thereby spreading the word about what the antiques shop offers.

Great ideas, and that was only for one social media channel, to support only one of the shop’s marketing goals.

Now It’s Your Turn

Go ahead, grab a big pad of paper or even a single sheet.

1) Draw up a sort of chart/wire diagram that starts with your organization’s overall mission/business goals  in a sentence or two at the top, taken straight from your business plan.

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2) Under that, a couple of sentences about your basic marketing plan that will support your overall mission. Even better is if there are some broad-brush marketing goals you have set for the next year or so, like attracting a particular niche or increasing visitation during a particular time frame. That makes the “why are we doing this on social?” flow even clearer.

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3) Now, what are some social media channels that can support your marketing objectives (in addition to any traditional means that still work, of course. Integrate the two!) Maybe a certain demographic or niche visitor you want to reach spends time on a certain social platform; you need to be where they are.

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4) Let’s say that one of the channels that makes sense for you is Facebook. Show how you would use a Facebook Page to connect with the audience(s) that track back to your marketing goals. Give a description of a few of the photos you might use, videos you might shoot, links you might share, ads/sponsored posts you might run.

This way, with a one-page flow chart you can show how a photo of “X” shared on a certain social channel threads all the way back to the organization’s own stated mission, business plan and overall goals.

Would you like us to get together with you or your partners on a workshop like the one we did with the Webster City Chamber? Contact us and let’s exchange ideas!

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