It’s never too late to develop a strategy for your company’s social media presence.
If your business a.) has been noodling around casually with social media, b.) is in the early building stages of business development and haven’t gotten that far yet, or c.) plunged headlong into the social media world without a plan, and you wonder why it’s not working, you need to ask yourself five questions:
- What do you hope to accomplish by using social media for your business?
Spend a good amount of time answering the first question. Companies develop a social presence for a number of reasons. They want to drive traffic to their websites, for example. Or they want to strengthen existing customer relationships and build new ones. They’re looking for another avenue for increasing revenue or improving customer service. Or they simply want to increase their online visibility.
Don’t get tangled up in details yet. You’ll create tasks and schedules down the road. At this point, you simply need to be very clear about why you want a social media presence. The answers to that question will make the rest of the strategizing much easier and obvious.
- Is everyone who needs to be committed to this undertaking committed to it?
If you know the why, the who shouldn’t be difficult to determine. Share your reasons for wanting to launch or expand your social media presence with upper management, if they aren’t already a part of the conversation. You’re going to need budget line items at some point, and some staff time will be re-routed to these new responsibilities. Management may have some ideas of their own. If they don’t buy into your vision, scale it down and try again.
- Have you identified the social media platforms you want to use?
Thus begins the research phase of your new initiative. You’ll probably want some kind of presence on the Big Three: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. How much of your resources you devote to them depends in part on whether you want to hang your shingle out on other platforms.It also depends on the makeup of your customer base. Find out where they tend to hang out. “Listen” to their conversations. Check out your competitors, where they are and what they’re doing. Set up Google Alerts for your own company, and see what kind of buzz you’re generating.
- How much time can be budgeted for these efforts?
The answer to this will grow out of management and departmental discussions. Know how much time can be committed before you start making grand plans.
- How will you evaluate your success (or lack thereof)?
This leads right back to the first question, which is why it needs to be answered so clearly and completely. But even the experts struggle with identifying social media “wins.” Decide what that means for you.
If you can answer these five questions thoroughly and honestly, you’ve got a good start on your way to developing a workable social media strategy.