Being Bruce -: Social Media Strategy

Monday, September 27, 2010

Social Media Strategy

Okay, so you’ve decided it’s finally time to start using social media for your business, or if you’re already doing so, you’ve figured out that having a strategy will give you better control and understanding of what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it as well as the costs and benefits.

While to an extent it’s arguable that many businesses should have a presence on social media just because most businesses are already using social media in various formats, the stronger case can be made that your social media implementation should reflect your unique business, its strengths, its market and clientele, its mission, and certainly its personality.

So how do you determine exactly what your social media strategy should be? Take it back to the basics.

First off, let’s assume you already know:

* What social media is, and is not.
* What social media is best for, and is bad for.
* Which social media you should be using or at least considering (and if Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and maybe LinkedIn aren’t on the list, go back and think again).
* Who your market is and which social media they frequent. (This is a trick question, because the answer is, “It depends.” You have to find out, there’s no one answer for all businesses.)

With those basic but important pieces covered elsewhere, let’s get to strategy.

First, here’s a form you can use, or a format you can recreate with software or on paper:

The purpose of the Social Media Strategy Worksheet isn’t to restrict, but to serve as a simple tool for structuring what can otherwise easily be a very random, unsatisfying experience.

My suggestion is that everything starts with your Big Why, in this case, not “why” to use social media, but what’s the Big Why about your company? Why should people want to hire you or do business with you? What is it that makes you unique among others in your field? What do you do better than anyone else or any other company you know? Only you can answer these questions (and perhaps your advisers or board of directors if you have one).

Rather than using a (typical) shotgun approach to social media and showing up everyone and responding to everything, I strongly suggest you focus your social media contributions and conversation on those topics or activities that support and underscore your Big Why.

It’s imperative with this still relatively new technology with many and a rapidly increasing number of moving parts that you remember who your market it and be sure to direct your social media efforts toward that market. It’s not the case that all “eyes” are the same on the Internet. Techniques that exist just to build traffic and get you “the top of the first page in Google” many not be in your best interest – unless those eyes that find you are absolutely the eyes of your very specific, tightly focused target market and ideal clientele.

Okay, so this gets you started. Once you have a clear sense of your business’ Big Why and the how you will translate that on social media. The next steps are to determine:

* What will be the actual the contet?
* Who in your company is the best person to accomplish and be responsible for creating your company’s social media content?
* Where – meaning on what social media sets will it appear?
* When – how often will you publish information?
* Measurement – how will you determine if you are getting the desired results from your social media strategy?

Note the form above also has three columns:

* Initial.
* Implementation.
* Next step.

It’ s important to realize that your social media strategy will change. It will change for two reasons:

* As you learn what works and what doesn’t work, you’ll want to make changes.
* As new types and methods of social communication with your market emerge you’ll want to evaluate and, when appropriate, work them into your strategy.

Designing your company social media strategy is key, and the the definition is individual to your niche, your clientele, and the personality you convey with it. As a work-in-progress, you’ll want to confer with our business advisors and possibly enlist the aid of coaches or consultants for your strategy. If you would like to discuss it with us, contact either of us for a free 15-minute consultation.

Bruce Brown,
Marge Brown,