What is social media strategy? Social media strategy is any method designed to gain influence on social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and others. The object is not to just amass as many followers as you can, but to create an engaged audience. You want fans not followers. The more fans and brand advocates you find through social media, the more likely you will succeed in your business goals.
Getting real fans that care about what you do and say in the social sphere–isn’t easy. It takes some time and strategy. But if you do it thoughtfully and persistently you will succeed.
Many brands get quickly frustrated with social media because they don’t have a road-map or the patience to grow a successful online presence. Often times brands use social media sites like a bullhorn to broadcast advertising messages. That’s not what social media sites are about. You need to listen and communicate with your audience and offer them something of value. In turn your followers will reward you by becoming advocates and sharing your messages with their friends. It just takes time to learn the landscape, test what works and what doesn’t, and really connect with your followers.
Why develop a social media strategy?
If you want to be known, to be noticed, to be successful with your business, social media is one of the best ways to build your brand. And you’re brand could just be YOU. Often building your personal brand on social media sites will make it easier for you to make more connections in your field, get known in your industry, and secure a better, higher paying job. The internet has an audience of billions and social media is the easiest way to let the world know who you are and what you’re doing. Once you’ve gained an engaged following, a single tweet or Facebook post could translate into thousands of dollars in revenue.
Where to begin?
Facebook and Twitter have the largest audiences, so choosing one or both of these platforms is a good start. Keep in mind, there’s no magic bullet and it can take time. The most important thing you can do on social media websites is create value for other people. You’ve got to stop thinking about growing your audience or succeeding at your business, and start thinking of how you can help other people. This is how you win fans. You remember that book, How To Win Friends and Influence People” (If you haven’t read it, you should). The central idea is that making people feel good about themselves is how to win them over. It works the same way in social media.
What should I share?
Share yourself. Be yourself and share what you are interested in. Don’t be afraid to be personal and engage with your audience.
Geroge Takei (Sulu from the original Star Trek) is a social media master on Facebook. He has almost 4 million fans. He’s done an amazing job of consistently creating funny and sharable content that his fans love. George’s fans follow and interact with him on Facebook because they’re grateful for what he provides them. They like his personality and his take on the world. A good many of his followers aren’t even Star Trek fans. They’re George fans. Follow George and learn by example.
Share the things that you love. Share things that you think will help your followers or fans. Share advise with people who ask questions on Facebook and Twitter, as well as question and answer sites like Quora. Share what you know and people will look to you as an authority.
How to develop your social media strategy
In no particular order here is a list of jumping off points. But in no way is this a comprehensive list.
Have clear goals
Before you put in the effort, make sure your goals are clear. Your goals for social media should align with the goals you have for your brand. Getting X amount of followers or X amount of likes is usually not the most effective kind of goals. Think larger. Set goals like: Build trust in our brand. Expand our reach in California. Connect more with our customers. etc.
Set a schedule
Consistency is important. How many times do you plan to post a day, week, or month? Don’t overwhelm yourself. Start small and stick to it.
Don’t spread yourself too thin
Create a concentrated presence on just a few social networks. Don’t bother signing up for every social network out there, you wont create any value for your followers–because you wont have time to add content and interact regularly enough.
Start a blog
-In order to really build your social media presence, you’ll need to create your home on the web. A blog is ideal because you can post tons of content (videos, eBooks, articles, pictures, etc) to share with your social media friends. Your Blog should be at the center of your social media strategy because your blog will be the one place where you have the undivided and attention of your fans.
Follow and friend people in your industry
Who are the movers and shakers in your industry? Are they on social networks? Follow them. Use Facebook and Twitter’s search features to discover people to follow in your field. Make sure you find at least a few people who have large followings and post everyday. These are the best to learn from.
Add Social Media Follow Buttons on Your Website or Blog
You can use the Nifty Buttons Social Media Tool to create buttons and icons for your website. Also remember to include a call to action like “Follow me to get great music recommendations” or “Follow me to get daily tips on shopping” etc.
Here are a few of my favorite books on social media and online marketing
Share your tips, questions, and experiences with social media strategy in the comments below.