People are always asking if they should use social media for their business or organizations and how they can use it as effectively as possible. These are people that may have never used or thought about using social media in this way. The other side of the coin are people who have already tried to use social media for their business and it was not doing what they wanted. The question is, how can we make social media a successful marketing tool that increases views to blogs and products as well as improves conversations and relationships with you and the customers?
The first thing that I ask is what your social media strategy looks like. 95% of the people do not have one and most do not know how to make it. Their response usually comes back as “do you have a formula?” or “can you make one for me?”
The problem is that each situation is a unique one that requires a specific strategy that only they can come up with.
Even if we cannot make it for you, we can help you answer the write questions to get the best social media strategy for your company. Below, are ten questions that we will ask, and later, address specific social media networks and how they offer specific features and have unique limitations to take into consideration.
- What is the purpose of your organization, blog, or product?
Social media is a great tool, but you need to know who you are and what you are going to be putting out there before you press forward with social media. Maybe you are investing too much in social media when you do not even know what the mission of your company is. Defining this is simply a good business practic.
- What will be the purpose of using social media?
You need to know why you are using something, otherwise you will not have direction with your tools. Know what the end goal is of using these resources. If it is simply to market, then define that. But realize that social media has the ability to do more than simply getting out the details of your company. You can create a brand, community, and place to get the opinions and other resources from your viewers.
- Who is your audience?
If you are a local company in a small town, Facebook may be the perfect place for you. If you are a large church in a big city, you may need to make sure you are present in several networks. Defining this allows you to not waste too much time in the wrong places. This may also take some researching on your part. Survey your current customers as well as new ones.
- How much resources are you going to put into social networking?
Will you be paying someone to do this or doing it yourself? How much time to do you want to invest in this a day, wee, or month? Will you be advertising these networks at church, in promotional flyers, on your website? Are you up for putting a little money down to promote your company or product? All of these need to be answered to be efficient.
- How will you be measuring your success?
Will you use a web app like Klout or SproutSocial or simply use the built in analytic tools with Google or Facebook’s Insight? If you simply rely on the number of fans or followers, you will miss the mark.
- How are others who have a similar company mission doing social media?
If you know of others doing with social media, you may be able to incorporate better strategies and find new seasonal objectives for your social media accounts. Do the leg work and you will benefit from it.
- How will you know that you have succeeded or failed after a time?
The prep work for our strategy is done, now we need to write down how we can measure this success. Do you want your followers to go somewhere to buy something? Are you intended to have them see your blog? Or maybe you simply want us as followers to see how brilliant you are, great. Come up with at least five goals.
- Are those goals, highlighted above, specific and measurable?
Simply saying that you want to get more viewers is not a good strategy. How many more? Wanting to get retweeted five times a week is okay, but being more specific by stating that you want to be retweeted five times a week to at least 1,000 new people is better.
- Are those goals clear and realistic?
If you are new to social media, do not expect to see your website blow up. At the same time, saying that you want fifty new people to see your website does not define if you want them to see an aspect of the website, your blog, or to interact with your featured products you are selling. Make sure your strategy is clear.
- How are you going to adjust if you do not succeed with these goals?
Are you okay with having lower expectations or putting more resources into it. Failure in the short term does not mean failure in the long term. In fact, that may be what you need to acheive success. But if you create a presence in the social media networks and then abandon them, you have done WAY MORE HARM than good. It is better to not have a social media presence than to have one that shows you do not care.
- BONUS: What challenges do you foresee with social media?
Will there be a learning curve for you or do you need to bring on a consultant to help define things for you? Are you committing too much time to this that it affects the product itself? Are you presenting a good brand?
So how will you proceed from here?