As a small business leader, I’ve struggled developing a great social media strategy. It’s not that I don’t get social media, or that I don’t think social media works, but instead, it’s how do I focus on the right things with the limited resources I have to ensure my investment in social media is the right one? This is fundamentally a social media strategy question: what should my strategy be so my tactics and execution both make sense and work in the world of social media.
I struggled with this until I spoke with Brian Boyd of Media Connect Partners. MCP works with a variety of publishing, non-profit, entertainment, medical, and university clients to deliver results for their social media efforts. This is where many social media strategies fail – what is the return on investment (ROI) for social media, and strategically, how does it fit into your business? Brian provided some great insights into social media strategy and how I could strategically take advantage of social media in the many different aspects of my business. I’ve crafted these three tips about forming a good social media strategy. These tips will help you think about a social media strategy and how to best form a social media strategy for your business.
1. Plan Your Social Media Efforts
Like any other business planning exercise, you don’t want to jump into social media without a well thought out plan. I’ve seen contrary advice on this point – that any effort in social media is worth just diving into, but without a plan, you are likely to make a social media mistake that could cost you. Before diving into executing my social media plan, I’m going to make sure it is well thought out and that I have the time and resources to invest in social media.
2. No Matter How Well Thought Out Your Social Media Plan Is, Customers Will Change Your Plan
You can plan and plan and plan, but in the end, your customers and interactions will drive your social media presence. Be prepared to handle criticism and a possible overload of incoming communication via social media channels. You will find that the actual execution of your social media strategy will not match your plan – but that’s ok! The social media strategy planning will prepare you for the likely challenges ahead.
3. Be Willing to Adapt to Changing Social Media Conditions
Companies that prepared a great social media plan and presence, say, on MySpace.com, discovered soon that they need to change their social media strategy to account for the sudden emergence of Facebook and Twitter. Location check in services such as FourSquare jumped on the scene and many local businesses struggled to adapt. You need to be nimble with your social media strategy and understand that the strategy will change to reflect the marketplace – sometimes very rapidly.
Having a Facebook page for your business or a Twitter account is not enough to really engage social media and discover the ROI that select firms have found. Instead, build a solid social media strategy and discover that this marketing channel can provide a large return for your efforts.