Business leaders often expect immediate results from social media however, without an established strategy it is highly unlikely you’ll gain a significant social presence. Poor social media planning can lead to discouragement, a perception that “social media doesn’t work” and an abandonment of future initiatives in this area.
Once you’ve defined your social media objectives, these key steps can help you lay out your social media strategy:
- Assign responsibilities. Decide which team members will work on your social media campaign and their roles (e.g., content development, posting, monitoring for comments, etc.).
- Set metrics for success. How will you evaluate your social media performance? Will you measure engagement, number of followers, sales, leads, or other key performance indicators (KPIs)?
- Define a content plan. Publishing content is essential to a social media strategy. Most of your content should be focused on audience needs, not on your own business. Today’s consumers do not want marketing messages, but rather to be a part of a conversation about their needs.
- Review competitors’ social media presence. Your competition can provide a wealth of information on what social media sites and messages seem to work for your audience.
- Evaluate what’s important to prospects and customers. In defining your content, pay close attention to the topics that resonate with your audience and move them to participate in the conversation.
- Decide on your target audience. Your products and services may appeal to certain demographics and specific geographies. Make sure you know in advance the characteristics of your potential customers so you can select the right social media sites and appropriate messaging.
- Begin reviewing social media options. As you spend some time on the various social media sites, pay close attention to the type of content posted, how others position their posts, and the overall nature of the conversation that’s featured on the site.
- Consider media options. Social media need not be confined to text content alone, but can also include images, infographics, videos, podcasts and other forms of media.
- Stay on message. Ideally, your social media posts should conform to the messaging strategy you’ve already adopted for your overall marketing plan. Learn more about developing a marketing plan here.
As you develop your strategy, note that it will likely evolve over time and your goals may shift. Determine how often you will review your social media progress and make adjustments accordingly.