4 Steps to Creating a Social Media Strategy

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4 Steps to Creating a Social Media StrategyGuest post by Gerald Heneghan

Social media has exploded in recent years, letting people engage in traditional activities in an exciting online arena. So, it’s no surprise that companies of all shapes and sizes are jumping on the bandwagon and attempting to tap into this powerful source of marketing potential.

However, leaping in head-first can often be a disaster for those who are unprepared for the unique challenges of the field.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the most common hurdles of social media strategy, and advise you on the best ways of navigating these.

1) Establish Goals for Your Social Media Activities

Many brands and businesses are keen to jump on the social media train without knowing exactly why. Therefore, an important first step is to identify the objectives you wish to achieve with your social presence.

If you’re a first-timer, it’s best to err on the side of caution and set modest goals where the return on investment can be easily identified. Some good examples include:

  • Listening to chatter about your brand, competitors or sector
  • Using social media as a customer service tool
  • Generate web traffic
  • Enhance interaction
  • Get more customers into the brick-and-mortar store

2) Deploy Resources Based on the Goals

Once you’ve identified what you’re trying to achieve and specifically what you’ll do, you then need to consider what resources you’ll need to deploy.

Many newcomers become frustrated with social media, but fail to allocate adequate support for their activities. Simply sticking an intern on the page(s) for a couple of hours a week won’t cut it – and you’ll often need to involve disparate areas of the business to achieve the best results.

3) Integration With Other Activities

Like Dirk Gently (the holistic detective created by Douglas Adams), you should take a holistic approach to social media marketing.  By tying social media with campaigns conducted via other web properties, email or even physical communications, you can enhance its effectiveness.

However, social channels can’t be treated like a traditional channel and you have to play to the strengths of the format with more of a focus on engagement and platform growth over time than on generating immediate sales.

4) Assess Your Results

After a pre-defined period of time, you should aim to evaluate your progress on social. Compare what you’ve achieved against the goals you set, and see how they stack up. If you’ve achieved or surpassed these – you may want to think about expanding your activities. If you’ve fallen short, try and investigate why and see what you could do differently.

One good step at any stage throughout this process is scoping out your competitors. This can provide valuable intelligence on how they’re using social channels, what they’re doing well, and maybe what they’re not doing so well.

Taming the social beast is a continual struggle that’s likely to be littered with setbacks. However, for those that stick with it and consistently try to improve their performance, ample rewards await.

This article was brought to you by Gerald Heneghan on behalf of Custard, a bespoke online marketing agency offering a vast range of tailored services. Get in touch today to learn more about our social media marketing.