Social Media Strategies

Social media is the fastest growing platform for finding new clients, but doing it right requires a lot of thinking and planning.
An effective social media strategy is not one that stands alone. It also doesn't have to be too overly flashy, but it shouldn't be too simple either.
But Social Media Marketing strategies are difficult to draw up.
Getting the balance right is never easy and we know that. How do you know which Social media site to choose?
What do you do once you have?
That is why we have provided this handy step by step guide to Social Media Marketing Strategies.

Sit down with your team (yes, team. No marketer is an island) and begin to plan out your strategy and your goals.
What do you want to do with your Social Media Marketing?
What do you want it to achieve and how?
When do you want this goal to be realised (please be realistic, SMM is long term)?

Share ideas with your team, and encourage them to share with you. In this situation there is no such thing as a bad idea, only ones that will work less well...

Find out what your competitors are doing. This will help you get an idea of what to do and how to do it.
Don't steal! Just look and use as a basis for your own ideas. Even Shakespeare had to get inspiration from somewhere.
It will also give you an idea of what social media will work best for your company.

Just because your competitors don't have a Twitter account, doesn't mean you should jump on that and create one.
Chances are that they had one and found it didn't work. Or, jump on that and be the first. It's all part of the research journey. Just remember, not all social media sites will work for your company. But you can always try and find out.

Research your target market.
What are they looking for?
What interests them?
Figure out what their needs are and how to meet those.

Read as much information as you can. There is no point in going about Social Media Marketing in a lackadaisical way. As soon as you've settled on a (or more) Social Media site, get to working out how you will make you Social Media strategy works.

There are many social media management tools out there that will allow you to manage all of your social media sites from one place.
For example, TweetDeck allows you to access your Twitter, Google + and Facebook accounts from one place, with one login. Other tools are Hootsuite and Seesmic that do pretty much the same thing. Do your research here as well. TweetDeck, for example works really well on browsers, but Seesmic is better for managing your social media from your Smartphone (it's available as an easy to download app in most Smartphone app stores). Find something that will make managing your social media easier. The easier it is to manage, the more likely you are to continue managing it.

Step 4: ASK
Don't be afraid to ask the experts. Comment on blog posts, email the author or tweet at them. You never know, they could be very helpful. Most of the time, people will reply. They're happy that you're reading their articles, or listening to what they have to say. Or ask your friends, people in your social networks, family or the very nice lady who works in the canteen.
You'd be surprised at what advice or information you can get.

Even if you think it might be a bad idea, implement suggestions. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't, but either way, you won't know until you try.

Never let your updates slip.
If you find yourself spending less time on updating your social media, make some time.
Make a note in your diary, schedule some time or hire a company that specialises in maintaining Social Media Marketing campaigns.

Whatever you do, make sure that you don't let your content become stale or irrelevant. People want fresh, relevant and exciting content. You don't have to update every day, but you do have to update your content regularly. If you don't have time to write a whole new post, link to some news about innovations in your field. Or add a few new pictures to that Facebook album dedicated to your current project.

Step 6: REVIEW
After a few months (4-5 is best for the best set of results) analyse your performance. There are many brilliant examples of social media results trackers available on the web. Use them to correlate your data. Sit down and have a brainstorming session with your team where you can analyse your results.

Ask yourself:
Did you achieve your goals?
Did you see results?
What is your social media campaign doing for your company?

Tracking your data lets you focus on what you should do next. It will help you narrow down:
What worked and what didn't.
Where you should put more effort in.
Make a plan to make it all work.

Whatever you do, don't give up.
Sometimes an idea fails; sometimes it's the next great thing.
There is no way to know unless you stick with it.