The Definitive Guide to Developing Your Social Media Strategy – Part 1: The Importance of a Social Media Strategy
If you’ve heard one social media guru say it, you’ve heard them all say it – you need a social media strategy. If you intend to leverage social media as a tool to grow your business or increase traffic to your blog or website, social media is a great way to do it… if you implement the right strategy.
I have a notebook with a list of blog topics in the back. When I’m scheduled to blog, I go to my handy dandy notebook and pull out some ideas then I conduct my research. I was playing around with an angle for social media marketing (SMM) and thought I’d just look up a few things. I Googled my topic and began reading various articles on developing a solid SMM strategy. Time and again, I found that one of the key steps for developing a social media strategy was to develop a plan. I pondered. Was I missing something or is the word strategy still synonymous with the word plan? I found myself getting a little irritated. I felt like someone had pulled the wool over my eyes.
I have two trains of thought on this. The first is that sometimes you understand how to do something but can’t really explain it. My other theory is that people like using buzzwords and know the general topic to which they refer, but they really don’t know what the words mean.
There are 7 key things to know about using social media to grow a business, brand or blog.
- You need to understand why you should use social media marketing.
- You need to know what an SMM strategy looks like.
- You need to figure out your social media needs and define your goals.
- You need to be able to identify your target audience.
- You need to decide which social networks and tools to use.
- You need to be able to monitor your performance for effectiveness.
- You need to learn how to up the ante.
As such, I am going to provide you with a definitive 7-Part Guide to Developing Your Social Media Strategy. I won’t play with jargon and make it seem like you’re behind or talk really fast and write really small. Just clear, executable tools so that you can craft something doable and do it. Now, let’s get to it.
Part 1: What and Why?
First, let’s attack a bit of jargon. Two words are used very often with regard to social media marketing – strategy and tactics. For the sake of simplicity, think of social media marketing as a house you’re building. In order to build this house, you’ll need to find a neighborhood, survey your land, figure out what type of house you want, draw up the blueprints, get the right resources (tools, people and equipment), build the house and inspect it to make sure it’s habitable. Well, your SMM strategy is basically the blueprint of your house. The tactics are the resources you’ll use to build the house.
What is a social media marketing strategy?
A social media marketing strategy is a plan to best connect you with users and customers who are looking for or are interested in what you have to offer. Ideally, they would help spread the word and grow your business. That’s it.
Why do you need a social media marketing strategy?
Social media marketing helps you find the people who are talking about what you are talking about. They are interested in what interests you. Your mission is to build relationships through interactions with your audience. If you are a well-known personality or represent an established brand, your audience is probably already talking about you. Your reputation is best served when you join the conversations that are already in progress. Fact is, if you plan on keeping your brand or blog around for any amount of time, you really can’t afford not to participate in the conversation. At this point in history, companies are no longer the sole crafters of their corporate image. Consumers effectively shape the perceptions we have of companies and those perceptions greatly affect if we ultimately decide to make a purchase. Human nature dictates that we patronize and support those whom we like.
If we are not skilled in the craft of SMM, we will pass up tons of opportunities to engage people every single day. But if we’re willing to engage, we can meet them right where they are and talk to them about the things they care about. That’s the why behind social media marketing. Developing a social media strategy will help you to figure out how to reach those people and which people you need to reach.
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