01 May 2012

Crafting a Social Media Strategy



This post is written by contributing author Genevieve Brazelton. 
 
I’m a planner and truly believe that to get to an end goal you need to have a plan. That saying about not being able to get anywhere if you don’t know where you’re going resides deep within me. Social media is no different. Today I want to show you how to craft your own social media strategy that works to attain your goals and fits into your available time.

Goals

It all starts with goals. Before you do anything you need to define what you hope to get out of your efforts. Are looking to build your network, reach influencers in your industry, or increase sales? Not to say you can’t have multiple outcomes from your efforts, but to focus on one goal maximizes those efforts and allows you to track results easier.

If you want to gain followers you need to tell everyone that you’re on Facebook, Twitter or whatever social network you’re focusing on. If you want to reach influencers and gain publicity you need to interact with these people, comment on their posts, and share relevant information. However if your goal is sales you need to share what you do and drive people to your storefront.

chess
Photo by raybanbro66


Mix Up Your Posts

Even though you’re focusing on one goal you need to mix up your posts so that your followers don’t get bored. Look at posts as falling into three categories, broadcast, sharing, and engaging. You should try to hit all three each day if possible or at least have an even balance amongst them throughout the week.

Broadcast – These consist of you hawking your wares or services, offering discounts, or sharing your latest blog post.

Sharing – You can share links to other blog posts that you found interesting or inspiring, pictures of your life outside your business or of others’ work that you admire, or just cool stuff you found around the web. Retweeting or sharing on Facebook also counts.

Engaging – Here’s where you ask questions, make comments, and engage with your audience as well as your influencers and peers. Think conversation, it’s a two way street.

Schedule It Out

It might seem daunting to be on social media networks everyday and we all know they have a tendency to be a total time suck. So I highly recommend using a tool to help you schedule your posts ahead of time allowing you to have a presence when you’re actually doing other things. Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are my top recommendations for prescheduling general posts. Buffer is also a great tool for spreading out the sharing of stuff you find while browsing the internet.

Try setting aside a half hour a week to schedule the broadcast posts and some of the sharing posts. Then you can log in a few times a week and just focus on engaging with followers and peers.

Photo by_syd_

Setting Aside Time

Like most tasks, if it’s not actually scheduled on the calendar it usually doesn’t get done. You can honestly spend as little as 15-20 minutes a day and still have decent presence on social media. Personally I like to spend about an hour 3 days a week. Yes, that means there’s 4 days where I don’t log in at all. However, I generally have a few scheduled posts that go out those days. I also know that most of my followers are active in the mornings and early afternoon so I schedule my hour sometime before lunch, depending on when I have meetings.

Track Results

The most important part of having a strategy is defining metrics to track results. If you want to expand your network you need to keep track of how your numbers are growing and what types of posts get shared the most. If you’re looking to gain influencers than you need set to goals for how many people you’re going to contact or interact with each week and track whether or not you’re reaching those goals. And if your goal is sales you need to know where your sales are coming from to know if your social media efforts are helping to drive them.

What are some ways you’ve used social media to reach your business goals?


Genevieve Brazelton endlessly researches the newest ideas in creative and social media marketing so you don’t have to. Genevieve’s strength is her keen outside perspective and sometimes infuriating logic that puts structure to dreams and lays out paths to goals. She is also the business side of Lightbox SF. Read more about her here.
Connect to Genevieve via twitter or facebook.