Creating a Social Media Strategy


Many growing businesses launch into social media believing that it will be a sales panacea.  They have heard the hype and they want a piece of the pie.  Proponents talk about how easy it is to reach thousands, perhaps millions, of customers for free.  Yet, time and time again, we hear from businesses that have spent countless hours on social media and have had a negligible return.

So what is really going on here? Is social media over hyped or are companies merely failing to capture its potential?

As is often the case, the answer is a bit of both.  Social media is over hyped in the sense that you can’t just get a facebook account and start posting with the expectation of making a big splash.  It takes dedication, patience, and above all a well developed strategy.  The easiest way to squander the potential of social media is to approach it without a detailed plan of attack.

This brings us to the most basic question in social media: what is a social media strategy and how do you make one?

Making sure each piece of your social media campaign fits into a broad strategy is important.  Yet, rather than focusing on creating one overarching strategy try breaking your approach down by goals.  For most companies there is really three distinct social media goals and each one needs its own strategy:

1. Publishing Content:
This is how you generate and post content on social media.  This might include a schedule for creating blog posts or broadcasting relevant news articles.

2. Driving Sales:
This is how you are getting people from social media to your website in order to purchase your goods or services.  Consider posting special deals or advertising new products.

3. Social Advertising:
This is how you get others to retweet or share the content you publish.  Focus on creating catchy headlines or being humorous.

Of course there can be significant overlap between these goals, but having individual strategies for each is important.  For example, the content that drives people to your website may be very different than the content that your followers will want to share with their friends.  Having good analytics is the key to polishing these strategies and honing your social media skills.