Social media is around much more today than it was in the past. Social media includes web-based and mobile-based technologies as a form of communication for organizations, communities, businesses, and individuals. It is almost ironic how getting someone’s attention on the phone, computer through text message, emails, blogs or social networks has become easier than when they are sitting right in front of you. In a society filled with smart phones and advanced technology, some times people even need to be reminded when to set it aside. This however benefits social media networks, because by using social media correctly you are able to engage your audiences in new ways, be more personable, and develop new connections while maintaining the ones you already have.

Lets consider the development of social media within 6 steps:

1. Listen: Put The Customer First

Ever have that friend who never seems to listen to what you say, or avoid any insight you have given them. Lets say your friend is trying out a new style where she doesn’t realize is not flattering on her body. Say it is a dress that is exposing her rear end, which lets face it shouldn’t be in public. She rants and raves about her new dresses, how amazing they are and how good they look. You make suggestions to maybe get the next size, try out something else, or change her new style. She ignores what everyone is suggesting and keeps ranting and raving about how amazing it is. If only she would listen to people, she would know how to better her new style, and avoid further embarrassment for you and her. The same concept goes for a business or product. If it is your idea, you are most likely to think everything is perfect, or the best, and that everyone loves it. In no way am I trying to say that you are self-centered, it is just how the human species work.  In order to avoid this, get online and listen to what is being said. Listen to what people think about your business, brand or product, and take their point of view in consideration. In order to do this determines where your target market is online, and start listening. Blogs are a great way to start looking. The Twitter network is another great place to gain insight in to conversation. By understanding the information it will help you how to best contribute to the conversation and make a contribution to better your own business.  Next, find out who’s driving the conversation or those who have a strong influence.

2. Identify Goals and Objectives

Now that you are more in tune with your audience, you are now in a better position to establish your goals. A goal you might have is to drive a certain amount of traffic to your website. Make sure you consider goals not just for your company, but your audience’s goals. This is a good time to consider their needs and wants. You will get much further with social media marketing if you offer something of value.

3. Develop Your Plan and Time Your Content

It is now a good time to consider different methods and how you want to approach or deliver the content to your audience. The key thing to remember is to be innovative. Next, develop a time line to identify events, promotions, or product launches that you know in advance. Also, identify the content idea you want to deliver for those events. You will find this a good way to manage content creation efforts and allow you to plan ahead.  Last, you need to figure out if Facebook, Twitter, or a combination of different social networks is the right fit for your business. To start off, make sure you don’t over involve yourself in too many sites.

4. Develop Your Content

Now that you have a timeline, it is easier to develop content to go with it. This is where it is very important to understand your audience and your brand, and is a time to be creative to promote your business or brand. It is helpful in optimizing your content with targeted keywords and relative categories. This can occur in many different ways. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

–       Promotions with deals

–       Tips

–       Facts

–       Top 10 lists

–       Case studies

–       News

–       Live events

–       Interviews

–       Gift ideas

–       Photos

–       Invite quest authors

–       Statistics

5. Engage

Filled with smart objectives, a solid timelines, great content, and the right social media sites you are now to post your content. Engage in the conversation and express your point of view.

6. Measure Success

The ability to measure the effectiveness of marketing activities is imperative to any company’s marketing strategy. Here are some variables to include in your measuring process:

–       Popularity

–       Influence

–       Engagement

–       Awareness

Now it is your turn

Does your business have a social media strategy in place? What tips do you have for putting it all together? Remember by having a solid social media strategy, it can make a difference in the success of your business. In the end everyone’s social media strategy will look different and get different results.  Be effective, familiar with your business and audience, and know the metrics that matter to you and your business.


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