Creating an Effective Social Media Strategy – Part 1: The Basics
Everyone who is anyone has a social media presence these days. But not everybody has a social media strategy.
Having a strategy in place can help you to remain one step ahead of those competitors who don’t – there are so many benefits to doing so and ignoring it could be potentially negligent for your business. There are bound to be conversations happening regarding your business in social media with or without your direct participation, however by having a strategy in place to make sure you are engaged with your audience, you can feel like you are more in control of any negative conversations whilst reaping the benefits of the positive ones.
If you are a beginner to social media your strategy need not be complicated – just sticking to a few basics can really help your business. We’ve put together some basic tips to follow which will help you to build a simple, yet effective social media strategy for your business.
Start with measurable goals
Before you plan out all the details of your strategy, the first thing to think about is having a few measurable goals in place. There’s no point putting a plan of action into place if you don’t actually know what you want to achieve from it – it will only result in wasted time and effort on your part. Having some simple goals that you can monitor easily will help you to demonstrate that your social media campaign is on the right track and it’s working for you.
Some goals to consider:
- Number of fans or followers
- Number of Facebook page likes
- Number of Shares or Retweets
- Number of Mentions
- Website Referrals/Conversions
It’s important to choose goals that indicate that your activities are paying off – such as number of likes – but it’s just as beneficial to have goals that demonstrate ROI for your business, such as conversions via social media.
Undertake an audit of your existing social media presence
Once you’ve got more of an idea of where you are going you can start to build out the rest of your strategy. It’s good to begin by taking a look at where your current strengths and weaknesses are, particularly if you already have a presence on social media.
Take a look at the pages you are currently on. How many followers do you have? Are the pages attractive? Are they updated regularly?
Work out how many social media channels you are currently using and which ones you have neglected? Facebook and Twitter may be the most well-known channels but these days social media is so much more. Most people in business will have a LinkedIn profile but have you considered other channels such as YouTube, Pinterest or Instagram?
Don’t be too disheartened if your audit shows that you haven’t invested much resource in your social media channels in the past. All that can change now that you’re putting an effective strategy together.
Understand who your audience is
Before you decide on what content to be posting, take a step back and devote some of your time to get to know the people you and your business are trying to reach.
Most businesses have a target audience – if you know who you’re trying to engage this will help you to determine where to focus your efforts and which social media resources you should be investing in. Young adults for example may be particularly active on YouTube or Instagram so you could be missing out if you are using the wrong channels. It’s important to find out where and when your audience spends time online and how they interact with both their friends and the brands that they follow – knowing your audience well can really give you a head start on your competitors.
Have a contingency plan in place
Social media should generally be viewed as a positive aspect of your business but there can be times when things can become difficult, whether it’s having enough resources to manage your networking activities or handling difficult customers or negative feedback.
As with any aspect of business there will always be negatives along with the positives, but it’s how you handle these which will really help your business to stand out.
There are plenty of case studies to be found – just search in Google – of companies who have handled social media poorly. This will help show you what NOT to do in these situations – don’t become another case study yourself!
Perhaps one of the most important things for your strategy is to outline your commitment to social media. It’s one thing giving your business a presence on social media by creating a profile, but this is never a substitute for someone who spends time on social media each day and effectively engages with their audience. Even if you don’t have time or resources to commit heavily to social media, a ‘grazing’ approach will help, spending a little time on the most popular social media sites on a daily basis.
Social media is all about the conversation between you and your audience – if you aren’t there to participate they will soon lose interest. And you can be sure that your competitors will be waiting in the wings to pick up the audience that you’ve been neglecting.
It only takes a few minutes out of your day to post a status update (you can even schedule these for when you aren’t around) and to answer questions – the more time you are able to spend on these channels will increase your odds of you being in the ‘right place at the right time’ to build lasting relationships with your customers.
One great Idea is to use a social media promotion package and here you can get a Twitter Marketing Package which will market your products and help build your brand.