How to develop a social media strategy – part three

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

Don’t start using social media until you have a clear strategy – or you could be wasting your time!

There are eight steps to creating a social media strategy and over the last two months we have looked at:

  1. Decide what you want to achiev
  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?

This month we’ll look at:

  • Pro-actively build your follower
  • Mix business and pleasure!

And then next month we’ll round off with

  • Automate as much as possible
  • Measure the results and adjust accordingly

There are two schools of thought on followers / friends in social media – quality or quantity? There are advantages and disadvantages to both, and the jury is still out.

If you want quality then you need to think carefully about each person you follow and how you can reach out specifically to your target audience. If you want quantity then that’s easier but you may find yourself swamped in ‘noise’.

So how do you build friends, followers and contacts?

  1. Find people you already have a relationship with and follow them
  2. Use the search tools to find people with interests that are relevant to you – and follow them – many will also follow you back, especially if they see a connection
  3. “Like” people. If you genuinely like a Facebook page or want to show your support – make it public
  4. Post helpful information, links to interesting articles or testimonials for people on their Pages and Profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn. Then tell the world via Twitter
  5. Invite people to follow you
  6. Offer useful, relevant and/or interesting content to people. The old adage still stands true – ‘content is King’. People will connect with you, if what you offer them is relevant to them
  7. Its OK to ‘broadcast’ promotional messages too – but there is a balance. Be sure to mix your promotions with other content too. People don’t mind adverts – as long as they are relevant and not overwhelming!
  8. Ask and answer questions. Show your helpful side and showcase your expertise at the same time
  9. Join groups and contribute and, if appropriate, create your own groups – and be active within them

All of these activities will help you build more followers, friends and contacts via social media. Don’t expect it to happen overnight, but be encouraged – once you get started it won’t take long to build up your circle of contacts.

Finally, mix business with pleasure! To really build a connection with you, people want to get to know you, not just your business. So along with your professional chatter include some personal updates too. Perhaps you’ve just watched a great movie, read a moving novel, cried as your team lost a game, laughed at the antics of your two year old. Share your news with your contacts (but be mindful of your privacy and only tell people what you are comfortable letting them know).

By following these easy actions you will soon build up a presence in social media circles.

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Next month we’ll look at automation and measurement.

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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