How do you create a social media strategy? The same way you create any other marketing, PR or business strategy. With an end in mind. Like with any other part of your business you want to start with a goal. Until you know what the purpose of you being involved in social media is or why you are creating content you are wasting your time.
1. Set Goals: You may have several business goals such as increasing brand awareness, increasing website traffic, improving online sentiment, or maybe it’s that you want yourself, or your business to be seen as the industry expert. Whatever the goal/s is, make sure you start there.
Okay so now you know what you want to accomplish by participating in this space, the next step is to see if your audience is even there…
2. Conduct Research: Where is your audience? Is your audience already on social media? If so, what platforms are they using? Where is your brand being talked about? Chances are they probably are already on the big 3 Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but are they also participating in online forums or Pinterest? Are they reading blogs? It’s important to do some research and find out where your customers and target audience likes to get their information and share about their experiences.
3. SWOT/Competitive Analysis: What is your competition doing? Are they doing it well? Where are your opportunities? How can you do it better? It’s good to see what the competition is doing both well and not so well. This allows you to implement some of the strategies that they’ve already done the hard work to find out if it will work and to leave behind the things they are doing that aren’t working so well.
4. Develop a Social Media Content Strategy: The steps above should be considered in your content strategy as well as conducting keyword analysis so that you can create content that is optimized to improve not only your search visibility buy to use the same verbiage that your customers are using. You should also be connecting with industry leaders, following influencers, subscribing to industry related blogs and setting up Google alerts so as to stay abreast of the industry and get ideas for content your audience is interested in. Creating an editorial calendar can help keep you and your company accountable for creating content and also help with delegating tasks. The final step here is to create the actual content.
5. Monitor, Engage & Respond: There are several free and paid tools out there that you can use to monitor what is being said about your brand and company on the Interwebs. You can use Twitter, Facebook, Google Alerts, Social Mention, Tweetdeck, Hootsuite and many others. There are also paid tools like Radian6 and Sysomos. Whichever tool you use, you will want to make sure that you are monitoring specific industry keywords, your brand name and possibly your competition as well. This will give you the ability to respond when necessary and stay in the know.
6. Measurement and Analysis: Again, go back to your goals so you know what to measure. If it’s brand awareness you may want to measure how many Likes, Followers, RT’s, Mentions, Shared Stories etc. that you have on the different networks. IF you are trying to increase web traffic look at your analytics report. How many folks are coming into your site via the various social media platforms that you are participating on? What about blog traffic? And, then look at the overall numbers, has your overall traffic increased? If you are trying to improve online sentiment, take a peek at social mention or another tool and see if the numbers have improved. Or, you can start by tracking comments that are both good and bad… Did you have a baseline for before you started? How does it measure up?
There are ways to measure your Social Media ROI, you just have to know what you are measuring.
How do you create your Social Media Marketing Strategy? Share your tips with us here in the comments section.
Photo Credit: By Waponi