How to Create a small business social media strategy

Social Media Camp 2009 - Using Social Media fo...
Image by deanmeyersnet via FlickrHBreaking down the process of creating your social media strategy will make it more:

Here is how you can create a social media strategy which will be:

  • Accessible
  • Manageable
  • Sustainable

1) Setting Goals for Social Media.

To set goals you first have to decide what you want to accomplish. The reality is unless you decide what your goals and objectives are up front then your not going to have any idea if your are actually moving in the right direction or not. Goal setting is important in the beginning stages of the process.
Ultimately what is it your wanting to achieve?
What measurements will show that you are achieving that goal?
What do you want to accomplish with your social media campaign? Be SMART- Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time based.

2) Research/Education.

I end up doing a lot of education with my clients about the research that others have done. And then sometimes we have to do some research about the specific niche market that their business resides in. I help them understand social media from their perspective and guide them about where they want to focus their attention and why. Most of the work has been done by large corporations with large budgets that can hire someone full time to do their social media for them. This is good and bad.

The good part is they are spending lots of money and making lots of mistakes to help find what works and what is effective so you get some benefits from the process as well.

The bad is that sometimes it’s hard to translate what a large corporation is  doing in terms that are manageable on a small scale.

How can you as a small business owner benefit from all the work that is already happening?
What blogs pertain to your product or service? How can you engage with the conversation that is already happening?
How can you make sure your customers find you when they have the problem you solve?
How do you, or how will you listen to conversations pertinent to your business?
Who is your target audience?

3) Integration.

Create an online list of contacts and content- Having your contact list on line will allow you to utilize various applications and software solutions to integrate your plan once you develop it. So incorporating the process of putting this online has to be thought about from the beginning.
What are you currently using to capture information about people?
How will you remember this person who your talking too in 6 months?
It is my opinion that you should have a foundation which should be your website. From there all your social media should extend out but also anchor back too. Decide what tools you need to utilize to access your various social media sites and help you communicate your message to your followers. There are constant shifts in what is popular and how you use different sites. Find someone who stays on top of what and how you can use each tool or social site.

4)Build and nurture Relationships.

One key factor in business is having a strong relationship with your customers. Join in on the conversation to develop relationship with people who discuss your industry in social media. If you don’t engage then no one knows your even there. Ask a question, share a thought. Try to think in terms of being of service and helping people out. If you know something that someone else doesn’t share it with them. Gives them a reason to believe in you and what your selling.
Strengthen Relationships. If you want customers to like you more then you have to show them some respect. You can do that by participating in conversations in a respectful way. Sharing and helping others which will in turn benefit you because you become someone who isn’t just out for themselves. How many relationships do you value and maintain when the other person or business is only after their own benefit without any thought toward helping you?

5) Collect data for Analysis.

Analyze it and decide how to improve what your doing. Utilize  things that can help you collect data or tools that collect it for you. Set up auto generated reports because most small business owners forget to generate reports for themselves on a regular basis.  Let the tools work for you.

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