Social media is offering businesses a great new way to advertise. As social media grows it is important for your business to develop a social media strategy that will work for your company, otherwise your business will just be wasting time and money.
If you work for a large company you need to first make sure that your upper management team is on board with social media. If your company is only jumping into using social media because they see other companies doing it or if you are just trying to sell products and are not looking to build relationships, social media is not for your company. Social media is not a gimmick, it is a long term marketing strategy designed to help build consumer and business relationships.
Why develop a social media marketing strategy?
The main reason that every business should have a social media marketing strategy is that it helps prevent miscommunication and helps to emphasize why social media is important for the overall goals of your company. Not developing an appropriate strategy as to how your company will use social media can lead to many different issues arising as no one is sure what or how to use social media effectively. There are several points that you should consider when developing your company’s social media plan.
Set objectives and goals
The first step that needs to be taken when developing your social media marketing plan is deciding which department is going to be responsible for social media. This could be the communications department, PR department, or marketing department.
The most important thing is to fully understand what you want out of social media. Develop a specific set of goals and objectives and make sure that the goals and objectives are attainable, relevant, measurable and timely.
Instead of just diving into using social media, do a bit of research first so you know exactly what you are getting into. Make a list of the different social media websites that allow you to engage with people. The most popular sites to start with include LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Check out each of the sites to determine how they are relevant to your company. Search for target keywords, competitors, and your brand name. Make sure that you research your target audience in order to develop a plan that can be used to best reach them.
Develop online relationships
The next step is to use the research you have done in order to develop relationships online. Join in on conversations that are relevant to your company. Post comments on blogs and forums that are relevant to your business. You will want to seek out groups that are related to your business and join in on Twitter chats. Start to further develop relationships by friending and following influencers from your industry.
It is easy to simply hide behind your profile picture on your pages and hide from the masses. However, face to face time is still extremely important for your business. You want to continue to participate in offline events in order to strengthen your knowledge about your industry and to network your business. This will also help strengthen your online relationships with people that you may have talked to through social media, but have never met in person.
You have already set up your objectives and goals for your social media marketing plan. Now it is time to measure your success at meeting these goals. For example, if one of your goals was to improve your brand presence across different social media channels, you can measure your success by an increase in followers or the number of fans that you have. You can also see how often your brand is now mentioned in forums and blogs.
There are several different strategies that can be employed by different companies in order to increase their presence online. The best way to be successful in social media is to make sure to set up a well thought out plan in order to make sure everyone working is on the same page. Remember, your strategies can change as you learn more about what works and what does not.
About the Author: This is a blog post by Fred Schebesta; one of the directors of Finder.com.au and operating MobilePhoneFinder.com.au. He writes passionately about small business, hiring and strategy.