How to develop a social media strategy – part two

If you’re going to get the most out of social media then you need a clear strategy.

This strategy needs to be sensible, sustainable and effective.

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

Last month we looked at points 1) and 2) so this month let’s 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?

If you want to attract the right sort of connections, connections that could benefit your business then its important to think about what they want, not what you want.

What might be useful to them?

For example would advice or top tips related to your area of expertise be useful? How about industry news? Or details of new legislation or regulations within the industry? Perhaps discounts or free offers? Maybe case studies or examples of best practice? Or would they respond well to inspiring quotes or jokes? Could you answer some common questions or even solicit for new questions to answer?

There are lots of possibilities. What you need to do is determine what will attract the right kind of person and what you can deliver. What you deliver needs to be relevant, useful in showcasing your business in the right way, and sustainable for you (i.e. you can keep it up and not fizzle out after a few days or find you are creating additional stress for yourself).

If you are unsure about where to focus your efforts do some mini market research. Ask some trusted clients what they would find useful. It’s likely that asking just three or four people will give you a good indication. This doesn’t need to be a professional MORI poll – just a few friendly conversations to get your creative juices flowing and ensure you are heading in the right direction.

Also, it doesn’t have to be fixed in stone – if, after a short while, it’s not working for you, or them, then re-think. Always test what you are doing, and be prepared to tweak it if necessary.

Another clue as to what people might find useful is to think about the questions you frequently get asked. There are probably two or three questions that come up again and again. These can give you an indication of what people want.

On the other hand if your brand is based around your personality then you may want to capitalise on that, or perhaps your company has a reputation for its sense of humour, in which case jokes or links to funny stories online might work well.

The content you generate on Social Media needs to be engaging, consistent with your brand and attractive to your target audience.

Have a look at the tweets and blog posts that you tend to read or enjoy and then think about why that is. You’ll probably read different postings for different reasons – that’s to be expected, and is what most people do. So decide where you want to “sit” with your postings and then stick to that. Don’t try to appeal to everyone – because in the end you’ll end up appealing to no one!

Of course you want your social media to promote your business, so avoiding all talk of your business makes little sense. But there is a balance to be had. Mix it up a little! Offer advice, direct people to other useful articles or sites, give a special offer, re-tweet interesting postings, tell a joke, add a personal insight, promote your product.

By creating the right balance you’ll attract new “followers” to your circle and by maintaining your presence and continuing to offer interesting posts you’ll gradually convert some of those “followers” into customers.

Finally, your social media activity must also be sustainable for you. Don’t commit to writing a 600 word blog every day, or tweeting every hour, if you really don’t have time to generate the content. Before you get started think about how much time you can commit to social media and plan accordingly.

Next month we’ll look at how to pro-actively build your followers, and the importance of mixing business with pleasure!

In the meantime if you‘d like to know more about developing a social media strategy have a look at: http://www.somerdesign.co.uk/courses_social_media.php

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