Fast Track your Social Media Strategy

December 16, 2010

Get in the water, splash about, and course correct as necessary!

It may seem that ‘fast track’ and “strategy” are oxymoron’s because a strategy should be well thought out.  I have witnessed companies both large and small get so bogged down with strategy building that they are stalled in implementing anything.  The social media landscape is a forgiving place to make minor mistakes.

I am not suggesting that a business jump into that boat without a life preserver, but it isn’t as complex as you might think.  A local small business could be ready to begin their social media plunge in less than 4 – 6 hours.  Get in the water, get wet, and course correct as necessary.

Before taking the plunge, spend that time doing these 3 steps…

  1. Determine a few Goals
  2. Listen and Learn basic Social Media Etiquette
  3. Create a Straightforward Action Plan (one that can be adjusted as you learn to swim)

Goals

I know strategists are going to slay me for this comment, but don’t spend too much time on this exercise.  You own your own business, you know what you want to achieve.  Below is a list of common social media goals.  Select a few and move on or customize your own succinct goals.  You can always add to your goals once you’ve achieved your initial ones.

  • Find your target audience online
  • Request ideas from your target audience
  • Improve customer service
  • Build awareness of your business
  • Increase traffic to your website or Blog
  • Generate referrals / Leads
  • Receive additional inbound links to your content (Blog, Website)

Listen and Learn basic Social Media Etiquette

This step is learning where your target audience hangs out online.  You can do this by listening to what is being said about your business, your competitors, and the industry your business is a part of.  To do this click here.  Once you have identified a few sites where your customers congregate you’re ready for the next step.

But not so quick:  It is extremely important to learn basic social media etiquette prior to implementing your action plan.  Here are two sites to help you (spend no more than 30 – 90 minutes on them):

Straightforward Action Plan

You’ve identified the places where you want to have a presence.  If you haven’t already created your accounts and customized your businesses profile for each this is the time to do so.  Then follow this easy plan and you now have a social media strategy.

  • Schedule time for social media:  If you schedule time for social media interaction you’ll be certain to limit wasting time on your social media plan.  Like anything else in your business, you need to schedule time each day for putting your social media campaign to work.  You should use social media daily even if it is reading Blogs and adding comments.  Put time on your calendar daily to interacting on the social media sites you’ve chosen.  If you have a Blog, post at least once a week – more often if you have the time. Tips on how to find new Blog topics can be found here!
  • Build Relationships: It is called “social media” because it is meant to be social.  An engaged audience is crucial to achieving social media success.  People need to know who you are so build relationships – then obtaining feedback and insights from them will become easy.
  • Be Patient:  This is important.  Social media success will not happen overnight – may not even happen in a month.  Social media success is a long term commitment – stay consistent, honest, and sincere. It takes time.
  • Monitor Progress:  If you don’t track the progress of your efforts, you will never know what worked and what didn’t.  For each of the goals you set in step one, create a way to track how you’re doing.  If one of your goals was to build online relationships monitor the growth and quality of them over time.  If you begin to notice that you’re not achieving success toward one of your goals this is the time you must course correct.

You’ve done it!  You now have an easy to follow social media plan however if you’re not seeing the results you were planning on it is crucial to course correct.  Do not give up on your social media plan instead adjust your plan as necessary where you came up short.  Also, look over your successes and learn from them.  Good luck – let me know how I can help.

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