With so much hype around social media, many business and marketing executives are rushing to use social media platforms for their organizations. They are putting up Facebook pages, getting Twitter handles and brushing up their LinkedIn company profiles. Unfortunately, many of these executives are going straight to executing tactics without putting sufficient effort into creating the right strategy for their businesses. While these initiatives may succeed, often they miss the mark. Before engaging in social media marketing, it is a good idea to first address the following questions:
- What are your objectives? Why does your business need to invest in social media? Do you want to improve your brand, find new customers, gain market insights or simply improve relationships with existing customers? The choice of platform and tactics wll differs depending on the answers.
- Who are your target audiences and how will you attract them? Even if you build something great, you will need a way to get the right kinds of people to engage.
- How do social media initiatives tie in with your other marketing programs? Social media needs to part of an integrated strategy. It should complement and reinforce your other communications and branding messages. It might have a slightly different tone and target audience, but should not fight against other communications.
- Do you have the resources or a plan in place to not only create social media vehicles, but to care and feed them and keep them current? You may need to hire a community manager or assign someone to focus on this.
- What metrics are you going to use? You need to measure whether you are achieving what you are trying to achieve. You may want to adjust your actions based on what the metrics are showing. The sooner you can figure out what is working and what is not, the faster you can achieve success.
- Have you engaged with your employees and solicited their help? Remember that whatever you put out there your employees, as well as, your clients will have access to. Employees can be powerful brand advocates if properly trained and motivated.
Social media can be a powerful tool for your business, but you need to approach it thoughtfully and thoroughly. Having a social media strategy in place, before you act, is usually a very good idea!