Developing the Strategy
The reason to do any of it lies in what you want to accomplish. If you want to reach out to customers and your customers are on Facebook, then developing a Facebook Page makes a lot of sense. If your research shows that your target market is not using Twitter, then don't start tweeting. Simple, right?
Once you think you know which tools to use (which may require some trial and error), you should identify what you wish to accomplish through each one. Are you using the tools to teach people about what you do? To provide insider information on discounts/sales? To provide useful information (such as recipes)? Deciding at this stage what you hope to accomplish, along with how you plan to measure progress, makes tracking your progress much easier.
|Like a great QB (yeah, I'm a Colts fan), you must implement |
the play. (Source: wegotthiscovered.com)
Implementing a social media strategy requires that the right people have the right tools to present the right message. The right person (or people) is the one who knows the business and can "speak" for it. The right tools may include computer hardware, tablets (such as an iPad), a mobile phone (an absolute must, in my opinion!), or training on how to use the tools. Good social media users know how to craft an engaging tweet, cut a Facebook post down to the most critical information, and when to include content such as video or photos. They also know how to generate connections and possibly leads through relationship development. (Note to self: Blog about that...)
Those representing the business should have a good understanding of the business and should know exactly what the business's owners are hoping to achieve through social media. With that, these people can manage the messages on a day-to-day basis.
Monitoring the Strategy
|The coach (yeah, I'm also a Braves fan) |
watches to see if the results meet expectations.
Armed with data and the goals you set for your social media activity, you can now compare the two and see how you are doing. Are you reaching the people you hoped to reach? Are you communicating effectively? Is it leading to growth in fans, followers, friends, etc.? If you are achieving your social media goals, which should have been set to move you toward your business goals, then this success should lead to increased customers, sales, and profits.
If you're new to social media, don't expect your profits to double within days of launching a Facebook page (for example). Your social media plan should integrate into your broader marketing plan, leading people consistently to like you, follow you, friend you, etc. In most cases, it takes some time for a business to build a community on social media, but it does happen with a well-considered plan and persistent implementation. Even though you may hear that social media are "free," you absolutely must understand that it takes time (and time = money) to create and post engaging content and to respond to other's content. However, your strategy will help you use your time wisely!