Social Media Strategy Before Social Media Tools

10-Steps-To-A-Successful-Social-Media-StrategyIt seems easy, right? Just choose which social networks you want to appear on and then post away! Wrong. Unfortunately, many businesses have taken the approach of tools before strategy and the results are, not surprisingly, poor. A posting schedule lacks focus, approach, and direction, which are the crucial first steps in driving your business’ success.

Social media is just another tool in the marketing tool box, much like your website, advertising, special promotions, and campaigns, so you need to look at creating a social media strategy BEFORE you decide on which network to use (Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). Tools need to be considered last, not first. Why? Because tools change. They always do. There was a time when Netscape seemed invincible. Yahoo, too. And how can we forget about MySpace. If you fall in love with tools, you’ll constantly be changing directions, with no real plan to guide your way.

The strategy will further outline how you brand yourself in social media networks. For businesses with an established brand, this may not be a problem, but you will need to investigate how your offline branding strategy translates into social media marketing.

Unless you have the internal skills and expertise, I’d strongly recommend you engage the services of a strategic marketer to help you create your strategy.

In addition to kicking off the strategy with a clear definition of what makes your business unique, you’ll want to make sure your strategy includes consideration of what your relationship is with your audience, how they use social media, how you’ll deal with unfavourable comments, what resources will monitor the conversations and what metrics you are going to use to determine your success.

What do you think? What are your special tips for making social media engagement effective at driving your business’s success?  I look forward to your comments below.

One comment

  1. It is great to have a strategy. But sometimes, the strategic thinking gets in the way of “learning by doing”, which I think is the most effective strategy for social media.

    I don’t think it is “just another tool”, the key difference being that the social media profile is entering on the target group’s terms. Nothing can be force fed to them.

    A simple and at the same time most difficult strategy would be:
    – Know your values and passions
    – Know your target group’s values
    – Share when you have something you really feel like sharing.
    – Stay silent, when you have nothing of value to say.

    The more removed the company is from its values, the more it need an in depth strategy. Much like with regular human interactions. If you can’t speak from the heart, then you need to really consider what you are saying. (so that, perhaps, people won’t notice the lack of values and passion)

    Another point to this is that if you stick to a strategy, it becomes more difficult to stay attuned to what the audience is actually looking for. It’s not really about what time of day, what day or how frequently you post. If it has value, it will be well received. I think.

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