15 November 2009
Nov 18, 2009
Social Media - Strategy - Part 1
Strategy First, Tools Second
So we have all heard of social media and maybe you have actually started using it. But the big question is always - so how does a business use it effectively? One of the biggest benefits of social media sites is how easy it is to get started. Anyone can sign up and start using them right away. But it is important to remember that the ease of use does not directly correlate to how effective they will be for your business objectives. Stated another way, you need to think social media strategy first and the tools you will use second.
Very often, people get overloaded with social media because they don't have a strategy. Someone says they should be on Facebook, so they join. Someone says to get on Twitter, so they do. Someone else says to stay connected via LinkedIn and they do. The number of sites you "should" be on will never stop increasing - as hundreds of social media sites come online each day. If you constantly jump from site to site, you risk wasting time and losing money.
Instead, start by considering your social media strategy:
- Understand what business objectives you want to reach by engaging in social media. Business objectives might include outcomes such as growing your network, becoming more visible, increasing blog visitors or positioning yourself as the top expert in your field. While several of these can be accomplished simultaneously, for the most part, stick with one objective at a time. What is the one outcome right now that would move your business forward in the most significant way?
- Acknowledge the time frame to reach your business objective. Social media is not a quick hit strategy and it can take a certain amount of focused effort to start seeing returns. If your time line for results is too short, you will feel like you are wasting time. If your time line is too long, you will feel frustrated, when it seems like results are not happening fast enough. For example, if you want to add 100 names to your database, you can probably accomplish this in 4-6 weeks. If you want to position yourself as the top authority in your niche, it will probably take a bit longer, especially if there is a reasonable amount of competition. Adjust your time line to the size of your business objective.
- Focus on depth of involvement rather than breadth. While it can be tempting to be join 100 social media sites, you risk spreading yourself too thin and being lost in the crowd. Better to select 2, 3 or 4 sites which you can commit to participating in regularly, than joining 100 sites you never have time to access. Repetition is a very important element of building recognition and reputation. Focus deeply on a select group of sites and participate in discussions as fully as possible. Your consistent involvement will be noticed by others.
- Test your level of participation to define how much is enough. There will be a sweet spot in terms of time put in and results obtained. Try participating very fully for two weeks and see what your results are. Participate less in week three, and see if your results change. By measuring one specific business objective, you willl have a good sense of how much effort you need to make on the social sites in order to reach your desired results.
- Adopt new technology thoughtfully. There are many tools you can use to implement your social media strategy. Typically, you want to use the tools which are easiest, most cost-effective and provide the best results. Don't adopt every new technology blindly. Take the time to understand the technology and "kick the tires" so to speak. Keeping current is important, as it will help you recognize when a new technology can accomplish your business goals faster or easier.
Remember, craft your strategy first and then use tools to execute it. That is the right order for social business success.
We will take a break for the holidays - Happy Thanksgiving! We will be back in December.
Source: Rachna Jain via ResourceNation.com
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