Studies have shown that 4 out of 5 marketers say that social media is important for their business. Most if not all plan on increasing their use of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and LinkedIn. How does a social media strategy fit into your marketing plans? Without a sound strategy, chances are you will lose sight of your goals and your end result will be much less than you were hoping for.
As you begin to develop your social media strategy here are a few key things to keep in mind.
- Your primary reason to be engaged in social media is to build and strengthen relationships with your customers and stakeholders.
- Don't get involved with social media just because everyone else is doing it, social media must be the right fit for your communication strategy.
- Social media is a long-term commitment that you must stay dedicated to.
According to Chris Snider ( www.chrissniderdesign.com)- Instructor of Multimedia Journalism at Drake University, "Companies should focus on being helpful and good members of the social media community. Helpful in that what you are posting actually adds something to the conversation. There is no shortage of content on social networks these days, so make sure you are advancing the conversation and not just adding to the noise. By being a good member of the community, interact with people. If you're just broadcating, you're doing it wrong."
7 Steps to Develop Your Social Media Strategy
1. Set your goals and objectives- understand your social media goals and how they fit into your overall company goals.
2. Build a list of contacts- Find blogs that are relevant to your industry and subscribe to them. Do the same with key people in your industry. Follow them on Twitter, connect with them on LinkedIn.
3. Do your research- Research social media sites that are a fit for your organization. Don't just stop there, search the sites for your company name, your competitors and keywords. Listen to what is being said, and get to know your target audience.
4. Engage in the conversation- As I quoted Chris Snider earlier, "add something to the conversation and interact with people." Post comments on blogs and forums, join LinkedIn groups and participate in chats on Twitter.
5. Don't neglect the face-to-face- Make sure you attend networking events in person. This gives you a great opportunity to strengthen those relationships you have built via social media, but never met face-to-face.
6. Measure your results- Remember step #1 where you set your goals and objectives? Now you need to measure your successes and see where there is room for improvement. What is the ROI for your efforts?
7. Analyze for continuous improvement- Once you jump into social media you will understand what works, and what doesn't. You will find out there are certain days/times that are better than others to be active in social media. And most importantly, social media is a continuous learning process.
There is no 'one size fits all' social media strategy for businesses. To give your business the best chance for success, you need commitment, patience and the knowledge of why social media is important to your company's communication efforts.
Social media can be a powerful marketing tool when used as part of an overall inbound marketing strategy. For questions about how social media can positively impact your business or to find out more about the inbound marketing philosophy, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blue Frog is a Des Moines based marketing firm specializing in Inbound Marketing, Commercial Printing, Graphic Design, Social Media Management, Website Design and SEO.