Anyone Can Build a Social Media Strategy.
If you’re managing a business or a marketing team, then you probably don’t have much spare time. But if your team is small, then complaining about a lack of time just isn’t in the cards if you want to remain competitive. For those looking to achieve results online building a successful social media strategy often times becomes the Gorilla in the room. Something you’ll “get to eventually”, and eventually never comes around. Sure, getting started can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. With these 6 tips we’ll show you how to build a social media strategy that you or your team can manage with ease. With the growing opportunities available to businesses that thoroughly plan out their social media strategy, there really isn’t a better time to get started then now.
1. Define Your Audience
Who are you trying to reach with your social media strategy? “Everyone” is a common response, but probably not the right answer. It’s too broad. Sure you’d like it if everyone desired your offering, who wouldn’t? That’s the dream. Unfortunately it’s a pipe dream. Unless you’re establishing a monopoly and bottling all of the air, the dream will likely never come true. So if your audience isn’t everyone, then who is it? Is your offering mainly intended for men or women? The young or old? People who work, are out of work, or retired? There are many different variables including demographic, geographic, psychographic, and behavioral characteristics that you could consider. Your target market doesn’t have to be complex, it’s just important that you have a good understanding of the types of people that you want to reach with your social media plan before you get started. Focus on your core audience and connect with them; it’ll save you a lot of time and grief.
2. Determine Your Goals
Simply talking to people over the Internet is an insufficient marketing strategy. While building relationships with your audience is vital (see below), it isn’t the same as selling your product, which is the end goal. Decide what you hope to accomplish with your social media strategy and how you’ll measure success. Do you want to incentivize new business with coupons? Or drive new potential customers to your website? Do you want to build brand awareness and interest by sharing pictures of your new products at strategic buying times? Knowing your goals, and how you’ll track them, is essential to any successful social media strategy.
3. Decide on Your Platforms
Do as much as you can do, but don’t take on more than you can handle. Since consistency and responsiveness are vital to building a social media strategy, be sure that you don’t over-commit in your enthusiasm. Start with what you know you can do. If you are managing your own social media strategy in addition to running your business, this is especially important. You may want to consider which platforms are the most vital to your success: Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, or YouTube. Pick one, or a couple, and grow from there. Share the same information over multiple platforms as often as possible for greater efficiency.
4. Deliver Your Content with Consistency
Create a posting schedule and stick to it with relentless determination. If you want to build a social media strategy that sticks you’ve got to hang on like a tick in the heat of summer. Utilize a social media management dashboard like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck so that your content continues to post even when life gets busy. Create content that meets a specific need and puts your best foot forward. And always, ALWAYS be sure to respond to your readers when they communicate with you online. Spending an allotted amount of time at the beginning of each week developing your content will save you time and grief vs. posting on the fly throughout the day. Set it, forget it, and stay consistent.
5. Build Relationships
Look for opportunities to partner with other business owners. Solicit feedback from loyal customers. Interact with experts in your fields. Post positive reviews. Remember when you building your social media strategy that: Honesty and consistency develop trust, and trust results in proven sales. The number one secret to building a powerful (dare we say it: irresistible) social media strategy: Be generous. Share your time, your attention, your expertise, and your heart. Give away whatever you can afford to give away. Don’t become a heartless selling machine whose every post in the social media world sounds like, “Buy my product!” Develop relationships. It takes more time and dedication to do it right, but it’s worth it.
6. Don’t Give Up
When you build your social media strategy you’ll find talent gaps and deficiencies in yourself and your team. You’ll be inefficient. But stick with it. You’ll improve. You’ll become more efficient. You’ll find what works for you. There comes a time when every business decides to stick with their plan or allows it to flounder and die. That’s just the reality for many businesses and marketing teams with limited time and resources. Not every company can build a social media strategy that works and achieves great ROI; but it’s usually just because they don’t stick with it. Success is just around the corner. Then they quit. The real achievers (like you surely are) strive in adversity and can rise to the challenge. And they (you) end up being the ones to reap the rewards.
Just think that 15-20 years ago one of the best options for building customer relationships was hoofing it door-to-door. We now have the luxury of living in an age when social media can help us tremendously with our marketing efforts. As tough as it may seem, it’s a lot easier than it use to be. We can sit in our easy chair at the end of the day and save our knuckles a lot of wear and tear with digital marketing opportunities like social media. Invest the time. It’s worth it.