A Strategic Approach to Social Media

So everyone is talking about how you need to be on social media. You may even have one or two accounts set up. But, you have no idea what to do.  Here’s a basic game plan.

Define your Goals

Why do you want to accomplish? New business? Repeat business from existing customers? Establish your reputation in the marketplace? Know what your goal is before you proceed.

Look at your competitors

For each of your competitors, assess what is being done on social media. Look for sites on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest plus any others you think are important to the people you want to reach. Note:

  • Number of followers
  • Frequency of posting
  • Content posted – source and type (text, image, video, etc)
  • How often are followers commenting and what type of content gets the most reaction

Create Good Content

Social media sites are hungry beasts. Your assessment of your competitor’s efforts gives you an idea of how often you need to post content at the various sites. Generally, you need a lot.

Here are some ways to get great content:

  • From your website. Extract or write a fresh teaser and link to a page at your website.
  • From offline materials. Look at any marketing you have done. Bring that content online.
  • From emails. Share emails you get from happy customers, anecdotes from staff, etc.
  • From others. Find people talking about your company, your industry and related topics. Post your take on the content with a link
  • Create new material: answer a question you are asked commonly, interview a team member or customer, create a poll, ask a question.

As you create content, keep in mind that visual content gets more attention. Always include an image (your own is best, but free images sites work too). Great images can be photos, charts, graphs, cartoons, or infographics. Videos are also very compelling online.

What to Post Where

Here’s a primer on the type of content that works best at the major social media sites.

Twitter: Short text with a link. Use hashtags to relate your posts to particular events or topics. Think “shout outs.”

Pinterest: Images! Think “online scrapbook.”

LinkedIn: Text, longer and a more promotional tone are expected here. Think “Network with fellow professionals.”

Facebook: Visual content with text with a personal tone. Think “chat with friends.”

Have a Plan

Don’t start posting without a plan for how you will maintain the effort. I recommend:

  • Use Google calendar or a similar tool to note specific things you want to post about over time
  • Set aside time one day a week to create all your posts for a week
  • Use a scheduling tool like Hootsuite to schedule your posts
  • Set each site up to email you when someone comments or engages with your posts. React to these promptly with a thanks, “like” or some other way for the person to know you noticed.