By now, most businesses have started to incorporate social media into their marketing plans. However, many of those businesses are also moving forward without a clear strategy, something that will more than likely come back to haunt them.
Whether you’re preparing to dip your toes into the social media pool for the first time or you’re already there but aimlessly swimming in circles, here are some quick tips to help you build an effective social strategy:
Fish Where the Fish Are
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+… new social networks have been popping up like mushrooms after a rain (though many of them disappear just as quickly). Most businesses simply do not have the time or the resources to be fully engaged on every possible social site.
If you spread yourself too thin, you’ll just end up with a lot of social profiles with little to no engagement. Since social media marketing is about building relationships, that’s pointless. Instead, focus on the networks where your existing customers are most active.
To find out where your customers are, make use of surveys and take a look at your web analytics. Jay Baer has some recommendations for more involved detective work here, or you could use Dukky to create a promotion that utilizes social sharing, and then track the networks your customers are most active on.
Stop, Collaborate and Listen
It’s tempting to jump in, guns blazing…but stop. Listen. Monitor mentions of your company, industry and products to get a sense of what the conversation is like and what type of content appeals to your target audience. This information will prove invaluable as you formulate a strategy.
Like any other type of marketing, social media marketing needs to be accountable. Set goals and objectives — determine what you intend to accomplish with your social campaign. Then, decide what metrics will be used to measure the success of your actions.
Not sure what to track? Here are some helpful posts from around the web:
- 5 Simple Metrics to Track Your Social Media Efforts- Social Media Examiner
- 5 Easy and Essential Social Media Metrics You Should Be Tracking Right Now- KISSMetrics
- 14 Social Media ROI Metrics You Can Use Right Now! – ClickZ
Create a Content Strategy
Decide what type of content you’ll post to each network, and how often. Remember that the type of content that’s appropriate will vary by network. It may help to create a calendar that shows product launches, sales, and other marketing events along with major holidays to help you optimize your posts.
Finally, it’s time to put your plan into action. Establish a profile on the sites you’ve chosen to focus on, and (this is crucial) start interacting. Mind your manners, don’t be spammy, measure the results and adjust your strategy as needed.
We’d love to hear about your experiences building a social media strategy. Share them in the comments!