One of the most common statements I hear from businesses is “I know we need to use social media in our marketing, but we don’t know where to start.” One of the tools I use in my Social Media Strategy Workshop is a worksheet that helps businesses use a strategic approach to implementing and integrating social media into their marketing mix.
7 Steps to Create Your Social Media Strategy
1. List the social media platforms you will use.
Many businesses start with a Facebook page because someone told them they need to do so, or create profiles on all the platforms but do not engage in any of them. First, find out where your ideal market “hangs out” in social media. If you are a B2C business, Facebook “might” be the right fit for you. If you’re a B2B business, LinkedIn “might” be the place to start. The important thing is to spend time where you’ll be connecting with your customers, clients and prospects. Second, because there are only so many hours in a day, it makes sense to start with one or two platforms and master using them before expanding to other social networks.
2. What are your business goals for using social media?
And if you say “increase sales” as your first goal, you are missing the “social” aspect in social media. In addition, the first rule of thumb when using social media for your business is “Don’t Sell!” In fact, only 10% of your information should be related to selling your product or service. The rest of the time should be in engaging, sharing and conversing. Some goals to consider would be to increase awareness, increase customer service, increase leads.
3. What will get in your way to achieving these goals?
All businesses have competing priorities for their time, and I find that most don’t take into account that they need to consider the obstacles that can get in the way. Do you have the mindset to make this a priority? Do you (or your staff) need to get more training in how to use social media successfully?
4. What are the solutions to overcome these obstacles?
By identifying the obstacles up front, businesses can anticipate where they may need help. You will increase your success rate if you plan ahead.
5. List the action items you need to get started in implementing your plan.
Write down where you need to start! You may need to get training to understand how to use the platforms effectively. You may need to delegate responsibility to staff members.
6. What resources will you need?
Will you need to purchase software? Hire someone internally or externally? Make time available in your day to manage this?
7. How will you measure success?
Your success measurements must be related to your goals! If your goal is to increase awareness, then monitoring the number of fans and followers may be a success metric. If you are using social media for customer service, the number of testimonials or reviews may be a success metric. Most importantly, determine in the beginning how you will determine if your efforts were successful.
Above everything else, set realistic expectations for your social media initiatives. While many of the tools are free, it can take a substantial investment in time and consistent effort to build up a loyal following on the main social media sites.
There may also be a substantial learning curve of the technology, language, and culture of the various social media sites, ws plan accordingly. Last, social media is always evolving, so change is inevitable.
Click here for a copy of the social media strategy worksheet.
About the author Lisa Kanda, owner of Elkay Corporate Advisors, has over twenty years experience with marketing, social media and branding. Lisa is a Social Media Consultant for the Small Business Development Center at Brookdale Community College (SBDC), assisting clients with different platforms of social media while guiding them on how to boost their brand. Lisa also teaches social media workshops for the SBDC.
Contact the ASBDC office to schedule an appointment with an expert to help you take your business to the next level.