by guest John Brennan (Internet Marketing Consultant, WSI)
For any online venture to succeed and indeed thrive it is really important to have a Social Media Strategy. Engaging with your customers online is not simply something that you may consider. Instead it really is a must.
However in order to do this you need to have a plan in place, a tried and tested, well-proven strategy that works.
Here’s how to go about it.
Whilst it’s true that most of us use social media in one form or another, many businesses fail to see the true potential and how it can be optimised for business use. All too often businesses simply dive in without much of a clue and end up damaging their reputations. This is often irreversible. Instead educate yourself and your team to the possibilities of social media as it’s critical to understand the concepts before you take the plunge with a clear Social Media Strategy. The nice thing about Social Media is that it is all publicly visible. There is lots of information available online and you may want to check out your competition or other similar industries and see how they are going about it.
Ask yourself what you’re trying to accomplish with your efforts and build your Social Media Strategy around this. For example, is it just to gain a following that you can then market to, or is it to generate sales? Are you looking to establish your brand, or are you looking to reinforce values and build trust? It may be a mix of several, or simply to concentrate on one main topic, either way your intentions need to be defined before your Social Media Strategy can be formulated.
You need to consider how you track your success. Is it measured in time, or is it measured against a certain number of followers or Facebook likes per month? Alternatively, is it cold hard sales that define success? Either way, this needs some serious thought. Your Social Media Strategy needs to clearly articulate
Okay, so you’ve educated yourself to the world of social media, you’ve defined your business goals and you’ve implemented ways to measure that success. Now you need to look at how you’re going to achieve it. Social Media is a very broad area and for an effective Social Media Strategy, you need to decide where you are going to focus most of your marketing efforts. You need to decide what specific Social Media Channels you are going to pursue and to what degree. You also need to be clear about what resources will be applied to this (internal and external) with a clear statement on how you’re going to implement it. Expecting that this will happen after all the other work is done will not work.
This is the final part of the 5 step social media strategy. As with any strategy it needs continued effort and commitment as well as resources and talent. As with other activities in the organisation – it must be part of someone’s job. There has to be review and accountability. For successful execution it is critical to measure activity as well as results. Measurable results using social media do take time, and this won’t happen unless you start the ball rolling and put things into practice, so why not take the plunge today.
For more on Social Media for Business contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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