Six Steps for Setting Up Social Media Strategy

I went through a “101” call a couple weeks back and it brought back the reminder of that, while some of us do this social media stuff 24/7, most marketers and small businesses are still just getting started figuring out what to do with their Facebook profile/group/page,  YouTube channel/video, Twitter thingy. A lot of people I talk to are hesitant to even set up social media profiles because they’re sure there won’t be much time to learn about how to use them effectively — much less actually see a return on their invested time.

I made a few notes while listening to these concerns and questions and afterwards followed up with the group with six steps to getting started with social media. I wanted to share it here too, to help you start building your toolbox.

Six-Step Process for Organizing Social Media Goals & Strategies

  1. Set your objectives for using social media. There are no “wrong” goals, as long as they tie into your other business objectives. Some objectives may include driving sales, raising awareness, creating online buzz, connecting with your friends/fans/customers or using the channels as additional outlets for marketing.
  2. Determine the resources you can dedicate to social media. If you have a team, great. One person, great. One half of one-half of a person’s time, sure. Just make sure that you’re allocating the appropriate amount of resources that are in-line with your overall business objectives.
  3. Decide what social channels help you achieve the objectives you’ve set and align with the resources you have available. You don’t have to have a presence on every social media website to be successful. PGA TOUR player Stewart Cink only uses Twitter, but he does so really well and is the most popular golfer on Twitter. Each channel (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) is unique in how the users engage, who uses it and even where its more popular. Pick the channel or channels that will reach the people you want to reach, fit with the resources and content you can produce and the outcomes you want to achieve.  [Hint: the Groundswell Social Technographics Profile Tool is a great resource to help you identify who & what your audience is doing online.]
  4. Don’t reinvent the wheel just for your social media profiles. Use the content you’re already producing for your website & newsletters (can go into Facebook notes, videos, photo galleries, etc). Make your social channels another extension of your plans for marketing, communications & digital efforts.
  5. Use insights from Facebook (Page Insights) and YouTube (Insights), as well as third-party sites like www.tweetcounter.com and TwitAlyzer.com to track your growth and successes. Hootsuite.com and Bit.ly let you track clicks on links posted on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere. Measure everything and use the data to back up your gut instincts about what goes well or not as good as expected.
  6. Try new things! and share your successes or hardships so we can create a better community to help each other.

What do you think? I welcome any comments, challenges or additional tips that will help others get more comfortable with starting out, or resetting their goals for using social media to connect.

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3 thoughts on “Six Steps for Setting Up Social Media Strategy

  1. Good advice. In most cases it is also good to join associations like Social Media Clubs and other such gatherings of others who are out starting in social media. Also, it helps to bring awareness to what you are doing online so the clubs and associations become a support group of viewers to your posting. The community also helps you deal with the frustrations you WILL experience. I would suggest that newbies to La-La-Land reach out and find others who are doing the same thing to share experiences. Good luck.

    1. Scot –
      Thanks for mentioning Social Media Club and other similar organizations. As a founding member of SMC Jacksonville, I’ve experienced first hand the power of connecting and discussing ideas, questions and the landscape with several others. We’ve done some really great programs here in helping non profits with a two-hour group consulting that always sparks some new & different idea for me. Learning from a community, whether off- or online, is a great way to get started and continue learning as you go.

      Social Media Club website: http://socialmediaclub.org

  2. Lauren, timely and helpful. Thanks for keeping the advice to a short list (it’s not so overwhelming that way) and doable. This world called Social Media is vast and can be a little overwhelming.

    From my vantage point–which is only tippy-toeing into the *very* shallow end of the kiddie pool is that it boils down to relationship management. Identifying the audience segment (knowing who uses what channel) and tailoring content and tone to that group–there’s no one-size-fits-all answer–is key.

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