A social media strategy helps you focus your activities online and guides you to a successful campaign. The beginning of the year is a great time to reorganize yourself and your business, and it’s a perfect time to create a social media strategy! I frequently speak with small business owners who tell me they don’t have any idea where to start and that the idea of tweeting and posting is overwhelming. The trick is in the planning. All successful online marketing includes a digital strategy – a successful social media campaign also requires a solid strategy. Here are the 5 major steps to creating a social media strategy:
Listen – What are you customers saying about you, your brand and your products? What are your competitors’ customers saying about them? Google your name, brand and products to see what’s being said. Use http://search.twitter.com to monitor keywords related to your business and your competitors.
Determine type of communication – What functions will you focus on in your networks – Sales, Marketing, Customer Service – all of the above?
Find your customers – Most likely, they’re on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Are there others? FourSquare, Gowalla, Yelp!? Find out and select the appropriate social media sites for your business.
Plan resources – Who in your organization will run your campaign? Regular posts and conversations require a little time each day. Plan resources accordingly. You may choose to outsource the content creation to a third-party. Keep in mind that a third-party requires unique content or at least regular input regarding company activities, news, specials, etc. Select the appropriate social media tools to help make the job easier. For example, a HootSuite dashboard allows you to update several social media sites at once and posts can be scheduled ahead of time.
Plan content – What will you write each week and month. Plan ahead by calendaring upcoming events, pertinent holidays, sales and other business activities. The competitive analysis in Step 1 above may expose your biggest opportunity to attract customers through effective content. By planning ahead, the job of creating content becomes an easier task because you can sit down once or twice a week, write posts and schedule them.
By developing a social media strategy and spending a little time planning, you’ll be on your way to executing a successful social media marketing campaign.