Jumping on the Social Media Bandwagon

by Megan Manzari, Edge Advertising Group

Social networks have undoubtedly changed the way we communicate in our personal and professional lives. Many businesses are seeing this shift in communication as a way to connect on a new level with customers and clients, and are beginning to add social media to their marketing plans.

As social media continues to carve out a segment in the business communication space, a strong emphasis needs to be placed on development and strategy. This will help you stay on track and effectively manage time spent on social media initiatives. Check out the following tips and suggestions to get started on a social media marketing strategy for your business.

  • GOALS. What is it that you want to get out of social media for your business? Increase brand awareness? Increase customer service? Develop an interactive and unique experience for customers? Make a list to help you stay on track. Whatever your goal(s) may be, focus on how you can make those visions come alive through social media and establish how that will fall into your overall marketing plan.
  • TARGET AUDIENCE. Define and understand your target audience. This is one of the most crucial steps for your strategy. Don’t just join a network because you think it would be good for your business; do it because you know it would be good for your business. Find out what network(s) your audience is using so you know how to make an impact.
  • RESEARCH. Do your homework! There are TONS of social networks out there, but not all are going to be suitable for your business. Find the one(s) that best align with your company’s objectives, goals, and again, target audience. Also, rummage around for your competitors to see how they’re using social media.
  • PLAN GOING FORWARD. How do you plan on maintaining the social networks you’re on? How much time do you want to devote to social media each week? What is your content strategy? Who will be contributing from your business? What is your policy for employee contribution to social media? There’s quite a bit to think about, but doing this from the beginning will save you a lot of time in the future — it’s all about planning! Generate unique, engaging content that will keep your followers coming back for more. Staying organized and up-to-date will gain you the most respect in the social community.
  • ANALYZE. Analyze your results against your goals. This will help you gauge your content strategy and measure if you’re making progress. Track what interests your followers and what generates the most buzz, while also noting what hasn’t hit the mark. For example, how many retweets or mentions did you get on Twitter? How many followers commented on a Facebook post? What types of posts got the most reaction from followers? How many new followers do you have this month? These stats will help you position your content strategy to help maximize engagement on your page.
  • REVIEW YOUR STRATEGY. Finally, briefly revisit your strategy at the end of each month. The world of social networking is changing on a daily basis. There is ALWAYS something new happening, and that new thing may be extremely beneficial to your business. (Mashable.com and socialmediatoday.com are some great resources to stay on top of the latest social media news).

Final thoughts:
Every company’s social media strategy will be different, which is what truly makes this space unique in and of itself. Taking the time to outline a plan at the beginning will undoubtedly make the most productive use of your time and help you stay on track. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite social media quotes by Keith Ferrazzi: “to be meaningful or memorable, these relationships must engage, enable, and empower.”

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