Develop a Social Media Strategy

Social media, for many, is like a misunderstood giant. Marketers know social media is important, but many don?t understand how to use social media effectively and are unable to provide measurable results. If this sounds like you, you may want to consider reevaluating (or creating) your social media strategy.

Defining Your Social Media Strategy

The first step in crafting your social media strategy is to clearly define the goals and objectives you hope to achieve. Having concrete goals will help you define your messages, and will provide you with a way to measure the effectiveness of your social media campaigns.

Let?s face it?the overarching goal of any business is to increase sales and to turn a profit. Under this umbrella are all your other goals. These goals may include growing your customer base, improving brand identity and awareness, reducing costs or improving customer service. All these things lead back to the almighty goal?increasing revenue.

Whatever your goals may be, they can be applied easily to social media. There are a few things to consider when setting your goals. Clearly define your goal and set a measurable benchmark?say you want to increase the number of leads from your Facebook page by 10 percent each quarter. Be sure to set realistic goals that are achievable within the timeframe that you set.

Setting Measurable Goals for Social Media

Before you move any further ahead in your strategic social media planning, take time to ensure that the success of your goals can be accurately measured. Define the goal with hard numbers and make sure you are able and know how to measure the result.

If your boss is hesitant to embrace social media, you will need to demonstrate that it does or could generate new business, and defining measurable goals will be the first step toward convincing them that it is a good idea. Make sure you can provide measureable results to demonstrate how social mediacan contributeto reaching overall business and sales goals.

Identify your Audience and Choose Social Media Platforms

After you have set your goals, identify which social media platforms will have the greatest reach for your audience. Which social media platforms you use may vary based on your particular goals and what your competitors are using. Take the time to learn about your customers and what platforms they are using most and what they and their customers prefer. There are pros and cons to each platform, so it is important to consider each one and identify the ones that will help you reach your goals.

Develop a Social Media Content Schedule

While the above steps are important, ensuring you are sharing relevant content on a regular basis is often where many social media campaigns fall short. The most important step is to develop a social media content strategy and schedule, and stick to it. Depending on the size of your team, this would involve assigning content, scheduling posts or updates, and ensuring you have someone who is engaging with current and potential customers on a regular basis.

Identify your content and develop a posting schedule that matches your goals. If you are developing content, make sure you allow enough time for it to be created. Don?t be afraid to outsource some of the work to other employees who may specialize in a particular area or can offer a unique point of view. You can also share relevant content created by someone else with permission or attribution.

What Content Should I Promote as Part of my Social Media Strategy?

When determining the meat of your content, take a moment to put yourself in your customers? shoes. Think about the type of content they would be interested in receiving from you?what can you offer to them that would enrich their experience with your company? Consider videos, blogs, photos and graphics.

Include informational or educational content, but try to steer clear of content that is clearly sales-driven. Create content that is useful or entertaining and your customers will become more engaged. Your customers will appreciate your posts, and over time you will be able to work on converting your social media leads to new customers with more sales-driven content.

Continuing Your Social Media Strategy

An effective social media strategy continues to evolve as you learn what works and what doesn?t for your customers. Continually evaluate your content and make necessary adjustments to your individual campaigns and overall strategy. Social media can be a powerful tool when used effectively. Follow the guidelines outlined above and you too will be on your way to having an effective social media marketing strategy.