Social Media Marketing is now an essential component of any business’s marketing plan. Anyone with a product or service that needs promoting can turn to Social Media Marketing to introduce, share, gain feedback, engage with consumers and ultimately Sell.Ask any business owner, what or who are your best quality leads and they’ll likely say ‘referrals’. Referrals are generated from one person sharing their experience with another person within their SOCIAL circle.And this is the power of Social Media Marketing. By placing yourself or your business in a social space you increase your chance of receiving more business due to someone finding, searching for, reading about or directly being referred to you.But like any marketing platform there are always certain principles to adhere to and pitfalls to avoid. In this article we’re focusing on the 4 steps to success in Social Media Marketing…Step 1: WHO?Any well planned marketing campaign must begin with the question, who are we targeting? If you are an accountant and you market yourself to teenagers how successful will your campaign be? You have to know who is likely to want or even better; NEED your product or service.Once you work out who you’re targeting, EVERYTHING in your marketing material, whether online or offline must be in total alignment with this target market. This includes the fonts used, images, language style, colours, offers and overall psychology behind your campaign.If it doesn’t, you will likely have little success with your Social Marketing campaign.Step 2: HOW?The next essential step to a successful Social Marketing campaign is to determine how you will reach your target market.Each of the four main Social Media websites lend themselves to different marketing opportunities. Depending on the type of campaign you plan to initiate will determine which Social website will be most suitable.The four most popular Social websites are Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter. If you plan to use all four sites to market your product or service, it’s essential to have a thorough understanding of each to ensure your campaign will be successful.Step 3: OFFERWithout an offer or incentive a Social marketing campaign falls under the category of ‘branding’. And how can you measure branding? You can’t.A successful marketing campaign either online or offline should be measurable. If you put ‘x’ amount of time or money into a campaign it should return a measurable results in dollar terms or leads created.Your offer must include these elements if it’s to result in a sale or lead…Unique – why would someone take up your offer if they can get the same or similar offer elsewhere?Scarce – we value things that are scarce. Why is gold so valuable? Because there’s not much of it.Expiry Date – having an offer available all year round won’t create motivation in your prospect to ‘get it now before it’s too late’.Relevant – your fonts, colours, images, layout etc of your online marketing must be in alignment with your target market.Qualify – not everyone that comes across your offer will be qualified. In addition to needing the money to pay for your product or service, they must also be motivated to take action today (or whichever timeframe suits your business model).Step 4: STRATEGYA successful Social Marketing campaign must have one or more strategies in place to ensure the target market follows your sales process.What does your marketing funnel look like for each strategy for each Social Media website? Will you have one strategy that simply triggers interest in the prospect by having them visit your website? Will you have another strategy that goes right for the sale? What about an email marketing strategy that allows the client time to build up trust and motivation to purchase your product or service? Will you have a follow up telemarketing service to increase the conversion rates of leads that come through?These are all important questions to answer and implement solutions for if you’re to maximise the results of your Social Marketing campaign.Many business owners believe that they simply need to ‘be’ in Social Media for it to magically happen for them. They believe that prospects will somehow flood through their virtual doors to get hold of their product or service. This simply isn’t realistic.A Social Marketing campaign needs to be integrated with one or more traditional sales and marketing techniques if you’re to maximise your results.Now that you know the four steps to a successful Social Marketing campaign, use this article as a checklist before, during and after you implement your campaign to determine what went right and what could be improved on with your next campaign.