Laura Hampton on How to Build a Social Media Marketing Strategy

Laura Hampton on How to Build a Social Media Marketing StrategyThe discussion about social media marketing doesn’t depend on whether you’re a B2B or B2C company anymore — all businesses should be on social media. But doing so without a strategy is as bad as not being out there at all, says Laura Hampton. She’s marketing manager at the digital marketing agency Impression.

“I had a client who said to me ‘I’ve got to be on Facebook, everyone’s on Facebook,’ and I said that was cool, we could definitely look at it as an option,” she says. “But doing it can’t come from ‘everyone’s on Facebook.’ You have to know where your audience is most active. Is it across every single social media channel or just some?” We talked with her recently about her thoughts on social media marketing and what companies need to know about it. If these challenges sound familiar, read on for solutions.

People Will Talk, So Join Them

Hampton says one of the biggest mistakes marketers make is avoiding social media entirely because they feel it makes them vulnerable to negative feedback or conversations. It’s true; customers and clients may take to social media to call you out or let the world know about something you’ve done. But, she says, companies need to keep in mind that those conversations and feedback are going to happen regardless.

“Whether or not you’re on there, people are talking about your brand,” Hampton says. “If you’re not on there, you’re missing the opportunity to respond to those people.” If you have a strong social media presence and strategy, you’ll be able to respond to and engage those customers and get your message out.

Brand managers may also feel they have to be active on every single channel all the time, Hampton says. “They try to get on board with whatever the latest platform is, or think they have to be on Twitter all day, and then they find out they don’t have the time or resources to put in to do it effectively.” If you don’t have a full-time dedicated social media marketer, there’s no reason to try to do it yourself, she says.

Listen and Learn

The beauty of social media is a conversation, Hampton says. And like a conversation, you need to follow the rules and not be a jerk. “You know how you go to a networking event and that one guy is pushing his card in your face without even wanting to introduce himself — that’s what you sound like when you just start broadcasting,” she says. Keep it strategic with these tips.

  • Listen to find out where people are talking and what they’re talking about. Being able to chime in on a topic with an expert perspective can help add to the conversation without dominating it.
  • Educate yourself on the lingo before you get in too deep. Understand how to use hashtags effectively and the protocols of retweeting or tagging other brands.
  • Use tools to streamline your information. Hampton has some great tips for using Hootsuite effectively to monitor conversations filtered by custom searches by brand, hashtag, term or other variables.

“Social media is the medium where we’re able to show the brand’s personality and engage with the customer,” Hampton says. Don’t hesitate to jump in — it’s worth it.