Social media: how to make a social media plan

Social media: how to make a social media plan

Everywhere you look, it looks like everybody has a Facebook and Twitter account, plus Flickr, Tumblr, YouTube, FourSquare, and everything in between.

With new social networking sites popping up throughout the board, you may be thinking, “Where do I begin?” or “How can I keep up?”.

Businesses are proving every day that social media is a powerful means to reach out to clients and customers.  But there’s so much out there, and it’s evolving all of the time.

The advice to you is this: Don’t get overwhelmed.  Social media is an extraordinary platform for businesses big and small.  And with the perfect approach, you can maximise the impact of social networking in a way that’s right for you.

The whole point of Web 2.0 is to join a dialogue. It’s the interaction between customer and business in an informal, engaging, chatty sort of setting. Along with the end goal is to build a loyal community of friends and followers that subsequently become your voice to spread the news about your business to their online communities.

Social networking is here to stay, so it’s essential you get comfortable.

Make a Plan Before You Dive In:

Before you jump aboard the social networking bandwagon (or if you’re already there and haven’t figured out how to make the maximum impact), it’s best you make a program. Grab yourself a notebook, order some online labels to keep yourself organised and away you go.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What are my goals with social media marketing? (How many followers/fans do you wish to attract?  Will you use this to find out if your customers are delighted with your product/service? Will you set up direct product sales through Facebook?
  • Who is my primary audience? (Is this targeted at young moms? Teens? Retired men? Be specific.)
  • Which social networking sites work best for my business and my audience? (Where does your audience hang out online?  Are they mostly using Twitter? Are they occupied with Foursquare?)
  • What is my company brand, and how does that influence how I converse on the internet?  (Are you going to get a classier brand or a youthful and hip brand? How does this impact the way you phrase things?)
  • What should I post? (Think about the articles, videos, photos, and Wall posts you could use to interest your community. The goal is to add content that will attract attention and interaction.)
  • How frequently should I post? (If you’re a small firm that’s already strapped for time on the to-do list, ensure that you assign someone in-house or freelancer who can keep up with the posts.)
  • How do I respond if my business becomes negative feedback?(Have some emergency communication plan.  And remember: Ignoring negative posts won’t help. It’s best to deal with any problems at hand so the issues won’t innovate in the expansive, untamed online universe.)
  • Who will regularly monitor my websites to respond to questions and comments?  (Someone should periodically be checking for questions, comments, and complaints, and reacting and responding to these posts. If you don’t have the time or capacity to keep up with this, ensure that you delegate this task to someone who can.)

With these questions answered, you will be able to approach your internet marketing activity with far more focus.

Christine Buske is a former academic who left science at the bench, and now considers herself a woman in tech. She is a frequently invited speaker, and enjoys talking about career transformation (particularly leaving academia for the business world), tech, issues around women in tech, product management, agile, and outreach. She is a proud Canadian resident, and qualifies as a "serial expat".

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