How to develop a social media strategy – part one


If you’re using social media to promote your business but you don’t have a clear strategy – then you could be wasting your time.

Social media is simple to use; it’s easy to post a quick update, link to your site or newsletter and think you’ve done the job!

And although it’s good start – it won’t actually get you very far.

So how do you develop a sensible, sustainable, and effective strategy for using social media within your business?

There are eight steps:

1) Decide what you want to achieve
2) Determine where your target audience will be. Which social networks are they using?
3) Think about what will attract your target audience. What might be useful for them?
4) What can you talk about? What resources do you have and how much time can you spend?
5) Pro-actively build your followers
6) Mix business and pleasure!
7) Automate as much as possible
8) Measure the results and adjust accordingly

Let’s start with “decide what you want to achieve”. In many ways this is the most important step and it’s also the one that most people ignore.

Think about WHY you are doing social media.

For example; are you doing it to improve your Search Engine Optimisation?
Or are you looking for friends and followers?
Do you simply want to drive traffic to your site?
Are you collecting email addresses for your database?
Do you want people to subscribe?
Are you looking for new client enquiries?
Are you hoping to sell copies of your book?
Or, something else?

It’s worth taking some time to think carefully about this. Tick all that apply, and then prioritise them.

This gives you a great place to start. From here you can prioritise the activities you need to take, and drop the ones that aren’t moving you closer to your goals.

Now take some time to think about where your target audience is likely to hang out. If you offer a B2B service then LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/ or Ecademy http://www.ecademy.com/ are good places. If you are more consumer-focused then Facebook www.facebook.com is worth considering. If you are showcasing art or music then look at MySpace www.myspace.com and for images (e.g. art and photography) try Flickr www.flickr.com And don’t forget YouTube www.youtube.com Viewing video is now the second most popular activity online (after search). And of course Twitter is great for almost everyone! www.twitter.com

If you are unsure which networks to use then ask some of your customers where they hang out and which networks they like best.

There are so many social networks to choose from so it’s worth spending a little time pinpointing the ones that will work best for you. This will ensure you aren’t wasting your time being active in areas that will bring little or no return.

Next month we will look at:
3) Think about what will attract your target audience. What might be useful for them?
4) What can you talk about? What resources do you have and how much time can you spend?

2 Comments on How to develop a social media strategy – part one

  1. Sound advice, but I’m a bit curious about point 7 – I really do hate automation where that means “thanks for following!” auto-replies on twitter or FB/Twitter crossposting, it’s lazy and impersonal. Will be interested to see what it is you mean!

    • I agree pointless messages (whether automated or not) are annyoying, but thats not the automation thats at fault – its the contents of the message thats the problem!

      One of the challenges with SM is that it can take up all your time if you’re not careful! So,automating some of the tasks (e.g. scheduling etc) is a way to work smarter – something I am 100% in favour of!

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