Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How to Build Your Social Media Strategy

What is your social media strategy? If the answer is, "I don't have a social media strategy" then you better get on board. Even casual users of sites like Facebook or Twitter can see how successful companies are utilizing these platforms to expand their customer base. Are you ready to get in on all that action? Building a PR outreach program is important in getting media attention for your company. Here is how to do it:

Set goals.

Before you can launch your social media strategy you need to be clear about your goals. Yes, increasing sales should be at the top of the list but get specific. What type of return are you looking for? Do you need to increase sales by 10%? 20%? You can also put social media to work to support brand identity and build a customer base. Nothing wrong with an "All of the above" approach but get some target numbers together.

Keep the conversation going.

As you enter the wide world of social media networking, you need to embrace the concept that this is an ongoing marketing plan. This doesn't mean you have to monitor your company's Facebook page 24/7. However you do need to keep your followers engaged. You don't always have to hit them with the hard sale but ask questions to get a conversation going. Asking to share holiday memories is always a good conversation starter. You can relate your queries to your product without it coming across like a pressure to buy.

Build a content schedule.

Now that you know your goals (see above) you should begin to plot out your content schedule. How many messages will you send out in a day or week? What time will these messages go out? Keep in mind that if you post something on Facebook at 9 a.m. your west coast followers won't be up looking at their Facebook. By the time they do check in, your post could get lost in their newsfeed. Additionally, you'll want to put serious thought into your posts. Don't scramble and post something random just for the sake of meeting your schedule. Work it out in advance.

Give away stuff.

We all like free stuff. Whether it's an informative eBook, a coupon or 2-for-1 sale, offering your followers the occasional freebie will keep them checking in for more. This is a terrific way to build up your "likes."

Follow the numbers.

Once you put all your social media plans to work, you'll want to find out if they are being effective. Every social media platform has some type of analytics program to help you gauge your traffic. You'll be able to see where spikes in visitors occur and adjust your content schedule. Stay on top of these numbers and build from there.