Social Media Tip #1: Establish a Social Media Marketing Strategy

small business social media questionsThere are many aspects to consider before launching your business into the social media world of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. If you take the time to establish to really understand your social media goals and develop a strategic plan to achieve these goals, your plunge into the waters of social media will be much more successful.  Marketing strategist Lee Odden first addressed this in a great post on TopRankBlog, and it’s a post worth reading.

Here are the highlights:

Common questions asked by small businesses considering a Social Media Strategy:

“Should we develop a strategy first before engaging?”

“Should we experiment or develop a strategy as we go?”

“Is it okay to ask customers if they’d like to buy directly on social networks?”

To set up the framework for a successful social media marketing program, consider these suggestions prior to jumping in:

• Identify your business goals and how these are to be measured.

• Develop an approach and methodology to use in your Social Media program. This is essential for planning, implementation, accountability and measurement of success.

Setting Social Media Goals, Then Listening in on Conversations

The goals set for your specific business will lead you to the appropriate social media venue for success. For example, if you want to create conversations with your customers, this would require a different network than developing sales leads. Having a clear understanding of your customer needs and business goals will lead to the perfect social media platform (ie: Facebook, LinkedIn, You Tube, or Twitter), or perhaps a combination of these social media tactics.

Listen before leaping.

Once you develop social media goals, research each network and listen to the conversations happening there. You will quickly find out where your business belongs, and where you don’t. This small amount of research will provide valuable insights each social media platform, and where your customers are most engaged.

While I strongly recommend formulating a specific, permanent strategy, doing so shouldn’t deter you from diving into social media, especially if you are employed at a large corporation or organization. Trying to get an overarching social media strategy through layers of bureaucracy, can delay and even kill its implementation.

Social Media by its very nature is a fluid, ephemeral media in which you can experiment with different tactics to see which resonates with your audience. Once colleagues begin to see the fruits of your labor, you’re more apt to gain consensus and supporting data to support your strategy, creating momentum within your organization and getting the naysayers to quickly jump on board.

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