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7 Steps to develop and Define Your Social Media Strategy by Xan Pearson @XanPearson

7 Steps to develop and Define Your Social Media Strategy by Xan Pearson @XanPearson


7 steps to develop and define your social media strategy

7 Steps to develop and Define Your Social Media Strategy

You’ve heard it before, “Conversations about your brand are happening…with or without you.”  Whether or not you have integrated social media into your company’s marketing platform, your organization is already “in” social media.  So what is holding you back from actively participating in this medium?

I was recently approached by a company discouraged with its lack of success in social media.  I asked the marketing staff to describe their strategy.  Their response was, “We set up a Facebook page, Twitter account, and blog.  We post daily and have 1,200 fans on Facebook, but discovered many are hiding our posts.”  Unfortunately, this is a common mistake made by businesses exploring social media.  While those are some of the tools needed to implement a strategy, it’s not a strategy.  Jumping into social media without having a clearly defined plan is an exercise in frustration.  Developing a comprehensive strategy is the first key to success and is composed of defining several elements:

1 Define your goals
Your strategy is the path to achieve your goals; so set your objectives first.  Do you want to expand your customer base, drive sales, build brand awareness, educate consumers, increase brand loyalty, gain insight into your customer, gather product development input or feedback, etc.?  Don’t try to do all of these things at once.  Choose a few viable and sustainable goals for your first year.

2 Define your brand
The social platform offers you an in-depth opportunity to tell your story.  Who are you?  What is your mission?  What do you care about?  Most importantly, what do you want to resonate with your audience?

3 Define your audience
Before you can engage your audience, you need to understand who it is.  Gather the demographics: age, gender, ethnicity, and income.  Where are your current and potential customers geographically?  How are they using social media?  What are they currently talking about and to whom are they listening?

4 Define your community
Your audience is part of a larger community.  This is not just which social networks they are using, but with whom they are interacting within those networks.  Who are the influential players within the community?  Who are the authorities relevant to your industry and which blogs are the most read?   How are your competitors involved in the community?  What is important to the community?  How will you reach out to other experts within the community?

5 Define your commitment
Interactive marketing is a long-term commitment which involves virtually every department within an organization.  From marketing, public relations, and corporate social responsibility to IT, product development and customer service, internal collaboration will be essential to a successful social media campaign.  Do you have the full support of upper management?  Have you discussed the initiative internally with all departments?  What is your time and financial allocation to this platform?

6 Define your voice
If you were selling children’s products, you wouldn’t hire the Marlboro Man to be the face of your company in a television commercial.  The same consideration needs to be given to who will be executing your social media strategy.  Your “voice” will be representing your brand, amplified across the web, in a medium which requires both professionalism and personal engagement.  Will you outsource or execute internally?  What qualifications will you require?  There are a lot of self-proclaimed social media gurus out there and having a Facebook page with thousands of “friends” doesn’t make someone an expert.

7 Define your success
Establishing business performance metrics is essential.  What metrics and benchmarks will you use to qualify and quantify success?  There are many ways to evaluate social media performance:  customer impressions, ROI, increased sales, influence, and engagement.

In future posts I will delve into each of these fundamentals, as well as how to implement a social media strategy.  I welcome your feedback.  Have I missed anything?  What are some of the elements you include in your social media strategy?

Take Away: Whether you are new to social media or have ventured in with little success, proper planning is as critical as execution.  Employing social media marketing is a long-term commitment.  Developing a strategy by defining these elements prior to participation will save you a lot of time, frustration and financial resources.

  • Profile:  A sports sponsorship marketing and community relations executive for the youth programs of two professional sports teams, Xan has over twenty years of experience in business development, marketing, and sales. Through an impressive and diverse career in business development and marketing within a variety of industries including corporate finance, retail, non-profit, publishing, and sports, Xan has learned that regardless of the industry, there are inherent principles for successful marketing and business development strategies. As a sports sponsorship director, she creates sponsorship brand marketing and experiential promotions for her corporate clients.
  • Website:  http://www.xanpearson.com
  • Twitter:   http://www.twitter.com/XanPearson
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Your thoughts here
  1. Excellent article! I think you had great information discussed here. I like your explanation. Yes social media is great way to promote your website and blog posting

  2. I think it is better to prefer to do more collaboration with fans and follower. Also Sharing almost great post would help you to get more people to your business easily.

  3. It is really nice post and also informative post for all those who want to building entrepreneurs planning to take pros of social media for business growth.I have read many articles on social media strategy but all website are useless.I will share this article on twitter and other social media website so that users aware.

  4. nice blog with informative news. I am looking for that type of news and got through your blog so thanks for sharing that.

  5. Useful information, many thanks to the author. It is puzzling to me now, but in general, the usefulness and importance is overwhelming. Very much thanks again and good luck!

  6. Excellent article! I think you had great information discussed here. I really like your explanation. According to my knowledge of social media to promote your website and links is a good way.

  7. Nice post!
    Small question concerning step 4 “then focus less time on social networks and more time on a corporate blog and a search engine optimization strategy.”

    Can spending time on social networks just generally increase the traffic on your corporate blog ?

    • Absolutely. In fact, The eMail Guide has been very successful using social to build our brand and drive traffic. You’ve got to be active, accessible and participatory in those social communities to accomplish anything though. Be it Twitter or Facebook or forums. Don’t just tweet links, interact and converse and share and promote other people’s content. Be a part of the thought stream. It’s not a fast growth either, it takes time and sincere dedication.

      However, your blog should be the hub of all those social spokes.

      Jim Ducharme
  8. social media is the est tool for the business development

  9. Social media it the best step for the branding it is best place where you can convenience the people easily

  10. Social media is a free web tool, you can use it to promote and keep a connection with your friends.

  11. Hi Xan,

    Fantastic post! Just one thing to add…we’ve had a lot of success developing listening strategies and tactics around “Defining Your Community (#4).” For Callaway Golf we built a panel of uber-enthusiasts who would provide us with market feedback, product direction and promotional seeding. It’s a simple, elegant and a fun way to get to know your community.

    We go into more detail here: http://bit.ly/99zFJT

    Thanks again for the post – look forward to reading more!

    – Michael Scott

    • Wonderful ideas Michael!! That is the heart of social media…turning your community into brand evangelists! I will share that post with some of the sceptical businesses I work with.

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

      Best, Xan @xanpearson

  12. Hi Xan,

    It is really a very informative post for all those budding entreprenuers planning to take advantage of social media for business expansions. I have recently came across some people who devoid of any plan spent huge money and time and didnot get results. I will suerly share this article on facebook so that people can get acquainted.

    Keep writing

    • Thank you for taking the time to share your thought and sharing the post with others. Social media marketing is a wonderful addition to a company’s overall marketing platform, when done well.

  13. Nice post, Xan! Too many businesses jump into social media without a plan and wonder why they don’t see the success they thought would come. Developing a plan and working that plan are critical to success. You’ve done a great job of laying out the core guideposts. Thanks! Glen ~ @TrendTracker

    • Hi Glen,

      Glad you liked the post! It’s the Goldilocks syndrome – some companies think its too easy and some think its too hard. Hardly any of them actually plan for it. They often get into the web and social just because everyone else is.

      Funny, since almost everyone’s mother teaches them that it’s silly to do something only because everyone else is doing it;).

      You need someone on staff who has the expertise and can commit the time to managing your social marketing strategy. If you don’t have that, plan a way to get it before you make any other plans.

      Regards,
      jim

      Jim Ducharme
    • Thank you Glen! Unfortunately I see too many businesses give up due to the initial frustration. Most would have a completely different experience if they focused on the strategy as much as the execution. Both are critical and take a long-term approach.

      I appreciate the kind comments as you have been a wonderful source of valuable content for me. ~ Xan @xanpearson

      Xan Pearson
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