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Social media have proven to be a great marketing asset for online and offline businesses.  Here are 6 simple strategies to profit from developing a social media marketing plan.

Increase engagement on your social profiles

One easy strategy is to watch and follow the big brands. Watch the ones who have carried successful social media campaigns that reported great marketing benefits.

Starbucks knew social media was important to engage customers, so what they did was directly address them to ask for their opinion. This has resulted in a very high customer engagement through polls,

IBM’s innovative strategy consisted in leting employees set up their own blog and Twitter accounts to service customers, instead of creating a corporate blog or Twitter account. The result was 17,000 internal blogs and 500,000 participants in what was called “crowd-sourcing jams”, that gave rise to 10 best incubator businesses, which IBM funded for $100 million and generated $100 billion in total revenue, this is a 44.1% gross profit margin in 2008.

Ikea took advantage of one of Facebook’s most popular and basic functions, tagging pictures, in order to start a viral campaign to promote their showroom products. The cost was nearly nothing, and it generated a 15% increase in sales worldwide.

Burberry launched in 2009 The Art of the Trench, a photo-sharing website dedicated to images, past and present, of people wearing the Burberry trench coat. It secured 7.5 million page views, 1,000,000 Facebook fans and a 10% increase in same-store sales.

Harvard University consistently posts and engages with its 1.8 million fans. A unique aspect of its social media campaign is that the university is also on iTunes taking engagement to another level, letting students know they can download and subscribe to one of its classes for free.

Use your social media platforms to inform

Once you’ve got a solid social media profile foundation laid down, it’s time to move on to the meat and potatoes of your promotional campaigning. There are a million and one approaches you could take. Post a few unique videos about your business on YouTube and link it back to your Google+ Page. With any luck, one or more of your clips will go viral. Invest some time in creating a compelling narrative that draws viewers in. 

 

Develop strong relationships

Granted, President Barack Obama had the advantage of incumbency going into the 2012 U.S. Presidential Elections. Regardless, he made skillful use of social media to lock down an election that may have otherwise been a close race. Considering his popularity with young people and the use of social media by his main demographic, it was the wisest choice.  The point is that social media success revolves around knowing your target audience and catering to them for the highest returns.

 

Keep customers coming back

Social media breaks down that barrier with a less intimidating, almost inviting means to express viewpoints about your company.  This provides a wealth of information as well as the ability to respond directly to individual customers who may otherwise have gone unheard or worse, communicated to others without your knowledge.

 

Reach out to new customers

Listen to your surroundings then join groups. This is a great way to find people outside your immediate network for new opportunities.  Once you feel comfortable with your surroundings, feel free to join in. Just don’t make it a sales pitch.  Next, find a group that aligns with your products or service. If you sell dog products, find and join dog lovers’ groups.

 

Rinse & Repeat

There’s no secret marketing plan on how to succeed in social media because everyone has their own individual advantages and disadvantages. The best thing you can do is try your plan, learn from it, then do better.