7 action steps to creating your Social Media Strategy
2012 is the year that you need to create a social media strategy for your business if you don’t have one yet. Just make this your goal and I promise you it will pay off.
Radian6 report recently released states: “Strategic users are almost three times more likely to execute activities for engaging prospects than informal users (53% vs. 19%)” — and they were likely to see increased revenues.”
A few critical items to include in your social media strategy are:
- Company Goals and Objectives – Why are you on social media and how does it align with your business goals. You can’t look at social media alone. You need to consider how it complements your existing marketing efforts and how it contributes to your overall business objectives. Starting off with your goals is the best way to make sure you are actually getting involved on social media in the right places and for the right reasons. Measuring your success down the road will also depend on the type of goals you are setting up for your company.
- Listening – what are people saying about you, your brand, your competitors and your industry. Is it positive or negative. What can you learn from this information and how can you use it to improve your business, your marketing and your social media efforts. An absolutely critical part to every social media effort, listening is what will make you successful on social media. I see way too many companies skipping over this part and not spending enough time and resources to actively listen. Yes, it takes time but thankfully there are plenty of free and paid software options to streamline this process for you.
- Content Strategy – a very important part to your overall social strategy is the content that you are going to send out to your community. Identify who is it that you are speaking to, what interest them, what makes them share your content, how often they would like to receive it and in what form – video, podcast, text, photos. Create an editorial calendar with your topics and leave some space for breaking news and stories that will come up. Think of the Call to Action you want to include with each piece of content and identify how your content relates to your business objectives.
- Engagement Strategy – now that you have a clear picture of the type of content you are going to create, think of how you are going to distribute it on the social web. What are your internal or external resources for engagement? How much time can you dedicate daily/weekly to engage and be present? If you don’t have sufficient internal resources what can you outsource to a qualified person or an agency. I don’t recommend outsourcing everything you do as you lose your voice and your authenticity but done properly you can outsource certain tasks.
- Tactical Strategy – only after you have considered all of these steps, you can dig deeper into the tactical area of your social media. What platforms are best to use to reach your customers. Obviously, we have the BIG FOUR: Facebook, YouTube, LInkedIn and blogging but there are niche social networks that may be more applicable to your business. For example, Pinterest is driving more traffic than Facebook to retailers. So even if Facebook has a huge population base, a social network like Pinterest may be your winner for increasing sales. Having a centralized social media hub from where you can distribute your content will help tremendously with saving time. A good social media platform will also help with your engagement and measurements. We work with a few and can make a specific recommendation for your business if you need assistance in this area.
- Measurements and Benchmarks – a big conversation topic these days is the return on investment from your social media marketing. Although, there are no industry established measurements yet, there are so many ways to measure your efforts that unless you link them to your objectives (see 1) you will get flooded with data. Starting with your reach (fans and followers), engagement rate, leads, sales, share of voice and customer service just to mention a few, there are indeed ways to measure your efforts. If you are not sure where to start, give us a call and don’t be too alarmed. Only 13% of marketers today are saying that they are very effective at measuring their social media marketing.
7. Review and Adjustments – a very important part of every social media strategy is the periodic review and adjustment. Once a month, take a look at what’s really going on, compare it to your plan and make the necessary adjustments to improve your social media effort. Drop the things that are not working and do more of the stuff that’s working. Only after applying your strategy in real life you will know what’s really sticking with your audience and what makes them engage with your brand.
If you need help with your social media strategy, give us a call. We’ll be glad to help out. And if you need more ideas for your social media plan, take a look at Radian6 30 ideas for your 2012 social media plan. I’m sure you’ll find some interesting nuggets of information that you can apply to your business today. Your turn – do you currently have a social media strategy and if not are you planning on creating one soon? Let us know in the comments below.